In my practice I tend to use only the first step and the heart of the Appreciative Inquiry process: looking for the strengths in what is already here, and using interview to understand this.
Appreciative Inquiry is both an approach and a methodology and can be used for designing and guiding everything from single meetings, to summits, to large scale organizational change efforts. It works by discovering the positive core of a community or organization in order to design around what is working.
Appreciative Inquiry helps us discover what we have going for us and figuring out how to use those assets in other places. As one participant put it in The Power of Appreciative Inquiry, “Appreciative interviews are energizing every time you do them. They build relationships and give you a chance to connect. This tells people that they are important and that they belong.”
No matter what the scale, the approach focuses around these key activities:
- Positive topic choice. Choosing a subject for the inquiry that is positive and life giving
- Discovery. Usually through a series of interviews, the discovery phase makes the positive core visible.
- Dream. The dream phase envisions a future of possibility in which the positive core has been grown and developed.
- Design. The design phase brings the future to life through designing plans that work with the positive core.
- Destiny. Action implementation, all hands participate in the work that needs to be done.
- In every community something works.
- What we focus on becomes our reality.
- Reality is created in the moment – there is more than one reality.
- The act of asking questions influences the community in some way.
- People have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future when they carry forward parts of the past.
- If we carry forward parts of the past, they should be what is best.
- It is important to value differences.
- The language we use creates our reality.
Page contents adapted from an Art of Hosting Workbook.