Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Appreciative Inquiry - Conversations with real purpose

I really like a definition of coaching by Julie Starr, which is that coaching is "a conversation with a purpose" Coaching centres around asking useful questions which cause people to move on.
Appreciative Inquiry (often known as AI) takes the same approach. AI was developed by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva in the 1980s. The approach is based on the premise that
"organisations change in the direction in which they inquire.’
So an organisation which inquires into problems will keep finding problems but an organisation which attempts to appreciate what is best in itself will discover more and more that is good. It can then to use these discoveries to build a new future where the best becomes more common Cooperrider and Srivastva contrast the commonplace notion that, ―organising is a problem to be solved‖ with the appreciative proposition that, ―organising is a miracle to be embraced.
Inquiry into organisational life, they say, should have four characteristics. It should be:
  • Appreciative
  • Applicable
  • Provocative
  • Collaborative
The Four D Cycle
Appreciative Inquiry 4 D Cycle

Appreciative Inquiry is a particular way of asking questions and envisioning the future that
fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, a situation, or an
organization. In so doing, it enhances a system's capacity for collaboration and change.
Appreciative Inquiry uses a cycle of 4 processes focusing on:
1. DISCOVER: The identification of organisational processes that work well.

2. DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.

3. DESIGN: Planning and prioritising processes that would work well.

4. DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.

The basic idea is to build organisations around what works, rather than trying to fix what doesn't. It is the opposite of problem solving. Instead of focusing on gaps and inadequacies
to remediate skills or practices.

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