Positive Improvement through Appreciative Inquiry

Note: This online event (in 2005) was the 1st AI online event initiated from Australia. We are very grateful to all the AI pioneers that took part in this (for us, here in Australia) historic Appreciative Inquiry


“We have reached the end of problem solving as a mode of inquiry capable of inspiring, mobilising, and sustaining human system change.” So says, the founder of ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ (AI), Professor David Cooperrider, Case Western Reserve University.


Comment by JL – Curiously my experience of the AI process is that it is a better form of problems solving BECAUSE it does not focus on the problem…rather the process generates not only possibilities but  a shared willingness to “have a go”.

The new ‘positive psychology’ approach to improvement (AI) that has been widely and successfully used overseas in business, hospitals, schools and communities is being introduced to Australia in an on line conference being held over 3 days April 19 to 21.

This superbly simple approach, called Appreciative Inquiry (AI), has a focus on strengths (rather than problems) and involves people, within organisations, asking questions (Inquiry) about things they appreciate such as their successes, values, hopes and dreams. It works because it taps into positive emotions and builds on what is already working.

Making positive improvement a reality in your organisation!

On April 19th – 21st 2005 ISPI Sydney Chapter held an online conference on Positive Improvement through Appreciative Inquiry.

The speakers at this conference included: Bliss Browne, David Cooperrider, Diana Whitney, Elyssebeth Leigh, Grahame Maher, John Loty, John Cooksey, Karynne Courts, Liz Mellish, Marie Jasinski, Marjorie Schiller, Marty Cielens, Mary-Alice Arthur, Paul Chippendale, Peter Wallman, Richard Gerson, Sivasailam Thiagarajan and Sue James.

Feturing David Cooperrider & Grahame Maher.

David Cooperrider, (Professor, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University)

In David’s keynote he will outline how you can use AI to achieve positive change, including stories from corporations and the recent AI Summit (which he designed and facilitated) at the UN with Kofi Annan and 500 of the world’s top CEOs.(See letter from Kofi Annan)

He will be joined by leading International Appreciative Inquiry Practitioners who will share their successful experiences and equip you with an understanding and practical ‘tips’ that will enable you to apply this approach or methodology in your life at work and elsewhere.

Grahame Maher, Managing Director of Vodafone Australia, Grahame will detail how Vodafone has transformed into a Values Based Organisation and what that has meant to the people and the bottom line. He will be joined by other leading Australians who will share their experiences of bringing out the best in people.

The presentations for this conference have been recorded and are available for downloading and viewing by clicking the links below:

19th April 2005 – Day 1: Improving business and organisations.

  • Dr. Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan: “Let the games begin”.
    President of the International Society for Performance Improvement. Opening and introduction to Positive Change. ISPI’s commitment to personal and organisational improvement finds expression in interesting ways.


  • David Cooperrider: Co-originator AI, Case Western University.
    In his keynote will outline how you can use Appreciative Inquiry to achieve positive change, including stories from corporations and the recent AI Summit (which he designed and facilitated) at the UN with Kofi Annan and 500 of the world’s top CEOs.


  • Mary-Alice Arthur: A practical application of AI.
    Facilitating full conference sessions using large group process technology, so that the full conference works as a highly performing team. Using storytelling and facilitation skills as MC keeps meetings interactive, fun and on track and working with or developing themes, often using stories, helps to leverage future action. In this presentation we will hear about: A practical application of AI as it was used in a large NZ company merger.

20th April 2005 – Day 2: Improving individual professional development

  • Karynne Courts & Paul Chippendale: Becoming a Values Based Organisation.
    Paul is co-author of New Wisdom II: Values-Based Development. Karynne is a Values Consultant. Hear about their experience working with companies who have set themselves the challenging goal of becoming a Values Based Organisation.


  • Grahame Maher: Chief Executive, Vodafone Australia.
    Grahame will detail how Vodafone has transformed into a Values Based Organisation and what that has meant to the people and the bottom line.


  • Di Whitney : AI and its impact on individual Professional Development.
    Di Whitney is an internationally recognized consultant, speaker, and thought leader on the subjects of Appreciative Inquiry, positive change, and spirituality at work.


  • Liz Melish : Appreciative Inquiry at Work.
    Liz Melish is an Australian AI practitioner who was awarded her Doctorate of Education (Leadership) based on her thesis, “Appreciative Inquiry at Work”. Her presentation will be based on her Australian experience and perspective on how AI is working in the context of organisational change.


  • Elyssebeth Leigh: Simulations and Games.
    Simulations and games for learning involve fun, exertion and interaction. AI requires a positive frame of mind and commitment to action. Separately and together they focus attention on creating change and enhancing learning through full engagement of all present. Elyssebeth will use a familiar game format to play with some combinations for various contexts to the benefit of both.


  • John Cooksey: Using Positive Psychology in Improving Individual Performance.
    John Cooksey will focus on the sports psychology example of using positive psychology in Improving individual performance. In his presentation, John will also share with us how the use of the ‘positive approach’ has assisted in achieving positive organisational change and improved employee performance.

21st April 2005 – Day 3: Improving business contribution in our shared society

  • Bliss Browne: Imagine Chicago.
    Bliss Browne Visit ImagineChicago.org and be inspired. Bliss will present on her international experience in revitalizing organisations and communities using AI processes. Bliss will also answer questions that will be submitted during this Conference.


  • Richard Gerson: A new Paradigm.
    Richard Gerson (ISPI) Is the author of an article that encouraged members of ISPI to have a fresh look at the way they approached “performance Improvement”. This article entitled, “A new Paradigm” will be the focus of his presentation. He has written on Appreciative Inquiry for the ASTD journal.


  • Marge Schiller , Marcos Mueller Schlemm & Sue James .
    Marge, Marcos and Sue, joining hands around the world from the United States, Brazil and Australia, will share the story of The Positive Change Corps : A collaborative Global Association serving schools and youth (PCC) They will share their experiences with PCC, where Appreciative Inquiry is being used to transform schools and youth communities and assist schools and youth to act as agents of community and world benefit.


  • Marty Cielens: Adding value to Appreciative Inquiry with Open Source Technologies.
    Marty Cielens will inform us how free and Open Source technologies can add value to Appreciative Inquiry processes, exploring the features and applications of Open Source applications for organisational development and business process enhancement.
  • Peter Wallman: Passion Mapping.
    Peter Wallman’s company has developed a process called “Passion Mapping” to bring out the best in people and teams. Hear about his experience and its relevance to our daily organisational and personal lives. Explore how a deeper understanding of passion can benefit Appreciative Inquiry.


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