Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is the name given to a strengths-based methodology or positive approach to change and improvement. David Cooperrider PhD is the co-originator and his website contains many details as well.
The approach is a conscious positive search for what is working well, the successes and high points of experience and service together with an analysis of, or understanding of, the “root causes of success”.
Literally, it is asking questions (inquiring) about what we value or appreciate in order to “improve” and to build on what we have discovered.
Its all about building strategic capacity and performance improvement.
As it is a collaborative process it strengthens and develops teamwork and assists with getting people reconnected to their organisation.
A couple of thousand years ago Confucius concluded, from his observations, that people learning together experience joy…(a positive emotion).
When people experience positive emotions, as they do when inquiring and/or learning together, whilst exploring strengths and the “good stuff” inherent in the appreciative (AI) approach, their “thought/action repertoire” expands. Their choices increase.This is the “broaden and build” hypothesis that Barbara Fredrickson developed in her extensive research into ‘positive emotions’.
That is to say when people, and especially teams, work together in this appreciative positive way, that is the essence of AI, it is likely that they will enjoy the process and this in turn fosters new insights and generative or innovative ideas.
Barbara Fredrickson has written extensively about this and summarised the research in her book “Positivity“ in which she also lists the positive states or emotions of joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, amusement, inspiration, awe and love …and then poses thoughtful questions concerning each emotion or state listed.
Organisations decide to employ the AI approach because of its catalytic-like property in generating change and innovation.
Also see the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Commons.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]