How to appreciate “Appreciative Inquiry”

At the end of a project, milestone, or quarter many companies incorporate a “post-mortem” into their wrap process. All too often, the post-mortem shifts from a summary of events to a discussion of what went wrong.

An organizational development method called Appreciative Inquiry (AI, for short) – which has similar roots to Positive Psychology and Applied Improvisation,  seeks to turn this notion on its head.

At its core, Appreciative Inquiry focuses on what an organization does well, instead of what it does poorly.  

This process seeks out and inquires the positive (what the Heath Brothers call, bright spots), which in turn helps to engage and rally an organization. What is done well is identified, developed, and built upon for the future.

This model was formed based on the assumption that the types of questions we ask (negative or positive in nature) will focus our attention in that direction.

Examples of AI-type questions would include:

1. What is working well?

2. What should we do more of?

AI brings with it the belief that every organization and every person in the organization has positive aspects and contributions that can be built upon.

Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology and Applied Improvisation are solution-focused and strength-based mindsets and methods that move organizations forward instead of keeping them stuck and frozen in the problems of the past.

What can you do to adopt an Appreciative-Inquiry methodology at your next meeting?


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