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Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a change discipline that sets the stage positively, so that instead of acting out of fear or someone else's agenda, we can remember and build upon what has been most powerful and successful within our individual or collective experience.  AI offers a set of tools and practices that can be used with individuals, groups or entire organizations and communities that desire to make a positive contribution.

At the heart of Appreciative Inquiry is the understanding that positive change is informed by the best of the past, grounded in what is most alive in the present, and inspired by common dreams of the future.  Looking deeply and deliberately into the root causes of success, rigorously searching for factors that bring life to an organization or community, Appreciative Inquiry (AI) generates a powerful collective image of the future built upon our most successful experiences of past and present.  This new image acts as a magnet, collectively pulling us toward a future where our organizations can deliver what the world is calling for.

One of the most appealing aspects of this transformational method is that it can involve large numbers of people.  Rooted in the work of David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva at Case Western University and Diana Whitney at the Corporation for Positive Change, AI has been used around the world to catalyze positive change.  

Appreciative Inquiry is different from "problem solving" techniques that focus energy on what we want to eliminate or fix.  AI uses a different set of assumptions.

  • We create more effective organizations by focusing on what we want more of, not what we want less of.
  • Whatever we want more of already exists, even if only in small quantities.
  • It's easier to create change by amplifying the positive qualities of a group or organization than by trying to fix the negative qualities.
  • Through the act of inquiry we create the very social realities we are trying to understand.
  • Inquiring together into the best examples of what we want more of creates it's own momentum toward creating more positive organizations

Christine Whitney Sanchez often utilizes a combination of Appreciative Inquiry, World Cafe, Open Space Technology, Chaordic Concept, and Polarity Mapping to help clients achieve their goals by facilitating a group of people from an organization through an experiential learning process that poises them to use AI throughout their system. She teaches Appreciative Inquiry by itself or in combination with other Methods for Strategic Collaboration

 Why Cultivate Appreciative Skills?

Learning:  Build internal skills and competencies

  • Learn how to have conversations that appreciate and affirm
  • Practice seeing with an "Appreciative Eye"
  • Become a bicoleur - a "Solution Seer"
  • Discern the difference between a problem-solving & solution focused statement

Support Network:  Build a support network with other positive colleagues

  •  Practice appreciative skills
  • Consult with one another
  • Share success stories
  • Become seeders of a more affirmative culture
  • Champion appreciative projects and practices

Impact Work Environment:  Instigate a "can do" climate of hope and confidence "back home" by looking into...

  • What do we do best and should keep doing?
  • What should we begin or start doing?
  • What should we change or stop doing?

The Generative Power of Appreciation: 

  • Cultivates a different kind of knowing
  • Everything takes on interest and zest
  • Based on authentic positive feeling
  • Generates empathy
  • Dissolves arbitrary barriers
  • Develops egalitarian and inclusive mindset
  • Overcomes self consciousness - enhances self-awareness
  • Fosters real dialogue
  • Sees that which is exceptional
  • Embraces diversity
  • Magnifies possibilities
  • Generates collective hope and will
  • Transcends resistance to change
  • Source of positive guiding images
  • Reminds us that everyone is born with the capacity to appreciate


    Christine Whitney Sanchez - Principal - IPI Southwest

    © 2017 Christine Whitney Sanchez 

    Innovation Partners International of the Southwest LLC (IPI Southwest) is a proud member of Innovation Partners International, a social enterprise network.

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