What is it?
Appreciative Inquiry is a psychologically based, revolutionary way of approaching organisational change and development. It is based on an understanding of the organization as a living human system. It calls on all the things that encourage change in people: energy, excitement, imagination, empathy and connection, trust, relationships, understanding, shared goals and concerns, and a strong desire to be connected with good things.
It is good for coaching, team development and organizational development. It is excellent for developing employee engagement and motivation, improving performance and achieving change. It is effective when there is a problem, for example an unmotivated individual, a stuck team, or when the organization is resistant to change but is also highly effective for devising and implementing strategy within organisations.
Highly adaptable, appreciative inquiry can be can be combined with other approaches or used alone. Almost any organizational activity benefits from an appreciative approach.
How do you do it?
It can take place over a 2 or 3-day workshop, or can be incorporated into ongoing organisational life. Either way the key thing is that the whole system is involved. While this can at first appear highly inefficient to an organisation, it later becomes apparent that it is highly effective. The benefits become evident as the costs all to often associated with change: resistance, lack of buy-in, poor traction etc. are largely absent. Frequently instead the challenge for the leadership is to keep pace with the energy and enthusiasm of the workforce for change.
What’s it good for?
Appreciative Inquiry is good for organisational level issues, questions and challenges. For example:
- Strategy development
- Product development
- Improving efficiency or effectiveness
- Improving organizational relationships
- Improving work processes
- Organisational growth
How does it work?
Appreciative Inquiry helps people:
- Get involved
- Feel engaged
- Contribute willingly
- Work together
- Become motivated to change
To see Sarah Lewis explain Appreciative Inquiry in person, please go to the AI section of the Appreciating Change website