What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry is a philosophy and a methodology for positive change. It is founded on the simple assumption that human systems – teams, organizations and people – move in the direction of what they study, what they focus upon and what they talk about with regularity.

The essence of Appreciative Inquiry is then the study of what “gives life,” energy and vitality to organizations, teams and people when they are at their best. Appreciative Inquiry does not assume that any person or organization is always at its best. It does posit, and both research and experience show, that people learn, and organizations change most readily when they focus on, study, and engage in dialogue about strengths, patterns of success and who they are at their best.

For this reason, the Appreciative Inquiry process engages large numbers of people in dialogue and deliberations about their individual and collective strengths, their hopes and dreams for the future, as well as opportunities and plans for collaborative action.

The process generally follows the Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Process: Discovery, Dream, Design and Destiny.

Why AI Works?

Appreciative Inquiry is an invitation to interact with people like people, and not like machines. People are social. We create our identities and our knowledge in relation to one another. We are curious. We like to tell stories and listen to stories. We pass on our values, beliefs and wisdom through the stories we tell and retell. We like to learn and to use what we learn to be our best. And we delight in doing well in the eyes of those we care about and respect. Appreciative Inquiry enables leaders to create natural human organizations – knowledge rich, strength based, adaptable, appreciative, learning organizations.

* Adapted from The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change, 2nd edition, Diana Whitney and Amanda Trosten-Bloom, 2010.

How 4D Process Works

Strategic Focus: Our work begins with a compelling strategic focus or change agenda – something of significance that a client organization or community hopes to realize. For example: transformation of leadership style, the alignment of strategy and culture, or employee satisfaction.

The process we use to achieve the Strategic Focus and generate positive results is the Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Process. It enables us to direct the attention and dialogue of an organization on its most powerful potential – its positive core. The positive core is the essential nature of the organization at its best – people’s collective wisdom about the organization’s tangible and intangible strengths, capabilities, resources, potentials and assets. The Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Process unleashes the energy and ideals of the positive core for transformation and sustainable success.