About David
About David

About David

Dr. David Cooperrider's founding theoretical work in "Appreciative Inquiry" is creating a positive revolution in the leadership of change. With implications for every aspect of business, AI has experienced exponential growth as a change initiative methodology. This growth is testimony to the profound impact AI is having in business, education, healthcare, communities, non-profit and government institutions.

David speaks at large corporate and association conferences and has served as advisor to a wide variety of organizations including the Boeing Corporation, Fairmount Minerals, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, McKinsey, Parker Hannifin, Sherwin Williams, Wal-Mart, American Red Cross, American Hospital Association, Cleveland Clinic, and World Vision.

Read more
Speaking Engagements
Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagements

David often serves as meeting speaker and leader of large group interactive conference events. Contact us to learn more about David Cooperrider's speaking engagements, with a general overview of his speaking topics and time options (speech, speech with breakout session, speech as part of full day program, 2-3 day training programs, etc.)

Creating Sustainable Value

Creating Sustainable Value

David Cooperrider and Chuck Fowler discuss the opening of the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value.

Together, the concepts of Appreciative Inquiry and Sustainable Value answer the challenge of business today: to generate wealth while strategically addressing the pressures of multiple stakeholders, increasing competition, and ever-greater resource limitations.

Read more
Decade of Determination: Building an Economic Engine Empowering a Green City on a Blue Lake Through “AI”
Decade of Determination: Building an Economic Engine Empowering a Green City on a Blue Lake Through “AI”

Decade of Determination: Building an Economic Engine Empowering a Green City on a Blue Lake Through “AI”

This was one of the most powerful examples of the AI Summit method ever recorded–showing how the AI Summit can blend advanced economic strategy analysis with action oriented multi-stakeholder designing.

Read more
Featured Blog Articles
Recent Blog Entries
May 7

The Tesla Battery Heralds The Beginning Of The End For Fossil Fuels

Now the renewable power billionaire Elon Musk has just blown away that final defence. Last Thursday in California he introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall – a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for US$3,500.

Source: www.iflscience.com

Imagine making 2 billion fossil fuel vehicles irrelevant. Energy storage can make them unnecessary, uneconomical, and  completely unfashionable. Elon Musk is taking breathtaking entrepreneurial leaps that very few can dream about. And he will not be alone because he continues to make Tesla’s intellectual property available to all. He wants the sea change–he’s orchestrating a rising tide.  This article goes into more detail. 

 

The Tesla Energy system launched last week is comprehensive, with global ramifications. Its already oversold for months and months. The Powerwall system offering 10 kWh is targeted at domestic users. It is complemented by a commercial system termed the Powerpack offering 100 kWh storage, and a stack of 100 such units to form a 10 megawatt hour storage unit that can be used at the scale of small electricity grids.

 

Whole communities could build micro-grid power supply systems around such a 10 MWh energy storage system, fed by renewable energy generation (wind power or rooftop solar power), at costs that just became super-competitive.

 

At his launch last week, Musk maintained that the entire electric power grid of the US could be replicated with just 160 million of these utility-scale energy storage units. And two billion of the utility-scale units could provide storage of 20 trillion kWh – electric power for the world.

See on Scoop.itAmazement and Achievement: Leading By Seeing What Works

May 6

Business and society: ceo’s like Doug McMillon fully embrace the multistakeholder view of the firm

In the long term, corporate and societal interests converge. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and SVP of sustainability Kathleen McLaughlin argue companies have an opportunity to use their scale and expertise to reshape global systems and mitigate complex problems.

Source: www.mckinsey.com

When shift happens in the mainstream–companies such as Mckinsey and Walmart–it tells us something: a new normal, especially for a long-term thinking type of capitalism, is in the making. And even though one of the toughest things in a quarterly report world is to seriously think long-term, that’s what the top CEOs of some of the largest corporations in the world are doing. This article, by the CEO of Walmart, Doug McMillon and SVP Kathleen McLaughlin,  is instructive. 

 

As the authors write:  "Between 2010 and the end of 2013, we reduced our energy consumed per square foot by 7 percent, and we now source 24 percent of our global electricity needs from renewable sources—progress toward our long-term goal of 100 percent. By the end of 2014, we were diverting more than 81 percent of our waste in the United States from landfills through recycling and reuse, on our way to our goal of generating zero waste.

 

Go beyond the core to change the system

 

While it is important to operate the core business in a way that delivers value for society and the business, a healthy, high-performing company can and must go further. The world faces social, environmental, and financial challenges of unprecedented magnitude and complexity. No one actor can resolve these issues single-handedly. Governments and civil society are increasingly calling business to the table.

 

Meanwhile, globalization and technology have heightened interdependence in our social, environmental, and financial systems. Even seemingly small actions can have serious consequences for others far away in space and time. Globalization and technology have also greatly increased transparency. Actions and their consequences, however far removed, are much more visible to all.

 

These forces have increased the opportunities—and the responsibilities—of business. If in the past 20 years the discussion has been about the need for business to serve stakeholders beyond just the customer and the shareholder, the next 20 years will be about the need for companies to improve the networks and systems they depend on. Leading businesses are actively using their scale and their particular assets to accelerate progress on tough social and environmental issues.

 

So, how can companies define their unique contribution to making society stronger? At Walmart, we use five screens.

 

1. Prioritize issues that are relevant to the company mission

Like most companies, we look for those issues that sit at the convergence of our business interests and the interests of society. For example, as the world’s largest grocer, we believe the sustainability of the world’s food supply is one of the areas in which we can make a significant contribution.

The United Nations projects that food production must increase by roughly 70 percent to feed the estimated nine billion people who will inhabit the planet by 2050. We will need to meet that challenge in a way that is sustainable for the environment and equitable for consumers and farmers (who make up two-thirds of the population in emerging markets). Our goal is to make the food system safer, more transparent, healthier, and more accessible—and to lower the “true cost” of food for the environment as well as customers and farmers.

 

2. Draw on the company’s particular capabilities

Even in purely philanthropic areas, companies can have greater impact by drawing on their unique business capabilities and applying those skills to complex societal problems. In our own efforts, we try to add value in ways that are different from—and ideally additive to—what others can do.

For example, to address hunger in the United States, we make use of our particular assets. Over the past several years, we have donated nearly 1.5 billion pounds of food to food banks across the United States, including an increasing amount of fresh food nearing the end of its shelf life. This improves nutrition among those most in need, while reducing the amount of food we send to landfills as waste. We also donated more than 180 trucks and refrigerated trucks, as well as time and expertise in logistics (since this is an area we understand well), to help strengthen the country’s charitable cold chain.

 

3. Aim for a triple bottom line

In tackling priority issues, we design our initiatives to promote benefits for society as well as business. We set ambitious targets, and we track progress rigorously.

 

In food sourcing, for example, we pursue initiatives that lower the environmental and financial cost of food production. One of these initiatives, agriculture optimization, aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by eight million metric tons across ten million acres of row crops such as oats and rice by 2020. Similar initiatives in the food chain and our own operations have allowed us to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions by approximately 18 million metric tons since 2010. To do so, we are working with the Environmental Defense Fund, as well as other large food companies, including Cargill and General Mills, to adjust the use of fertilizer and other inputs. We measure progress by tracking improvements in greenhouse-gas emissions, water, yields, and other critical factors per ton of food produced, by supplier and by category.

Such initiatives provide classic triple-bottom-line results. Besides the important reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions, they helped us to cut the price of fruits and vegetables in the United States by a total of $3.5 billion through 2012 and 2013, offering important benefits for our customers and improving the world’s food supply.

 

4. Reshape the system for lasting improvement

In the era of long-term capitalism, companies can and must go beyond the kinds of improvements described above. They can do this by harnessing their expertise and scale and by joining with other organizations to reshape global systems for lasting improvement.

The global food system is essential to our business. For it and for us to succeed, the system must evolve in a way that is sustainable for the environment and smallholder farmers around the world; the system also must be high-enough yielding to feed a growing world population. Walmart is working to enable that evolution. For more than a decade, we have been collaborating with the US Agency for International Development to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and women in the agriculture supply chain. Through our direct farm initiative in Central America, USAID and its implementing agencies have provided agricultural expertise, training, and capital for infrastructure to smallholder farmers, preparing them to sell into the organized retail sector. Walmart provides specifications based on consumer preferences, guidance on timing for different crops and varieties, and regular purchase orders for offtake of farm production. Smallholders gain a better price and more stable income, as well as the skills to improve yields and profitability. Local customers gain a wider variety of better-tasting fruits and vegetables at the time of year when they want to buy. The agriculture sector gains productivity and becomes more viable. In Argentina, for example, more than two-thirds of our fruit and vegetable supply now comes from such direct-farm programs. In our U.S. private-label supply chain alone, we depend upon roughly $4 billion per year in agricultural products from small and midsize farmers.

 

Now we are exploring opportunities to collaborate with others to strengthen transportation and processing infrastructure in emerging markets. This will help develop local economies, feed local populations, and support local farming families, all while providing a secure supply of high-quality food products for Walmart customers."

 

See on Scoop.itAmazement and Achievement: Leading By Seeing What Works

May 6

Creative Flow: There is Magic in Asking Yourself The Right Questions

The wrong questions will destroy your power to create, but the right questions will fill you with inspiration, encouragement and motivation!

Source: positivewriter.com

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

Think with your senses; feel curious with your mind. Talk less, sense more. Create your Life. Risk being seen in all of your glory.

–Jim Carrey

These two quotes set the stage for this blog post for writers–and the kinds of questions to be asking–questions that inspire, empower,

Successful people ask better questions!

 

See on Scoop.itAmazement and Achievement: Leading By Seeing What Works

May 2

The best tech keynote I’ve ever seen: Elon Musk’s Appreciative Intelligence

I’ve watched a lot of handsomely paid CEOs get on stages for keynote presentations over the past decade, and none were as good as the one I saw Elon Musk give Thursday night in California as he…

Source: www.theverge.com

How do you cultivate appreciative intelligence? You learn from people who see the future in the tiniest successes, progress moments, and strengths of today. For example Xerox could have been Apple. However it could not see what was precious right in front of them. Remember what Steve Jobs said in 1978 when he visited the Xerox research labs to look at what everyone else called a very flawed new computer interface. He looked at it, this ugly and very flawed display, and said something like, "“I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen in my life…it was very flawed…still, the germ of the idea was there and within, you know ten minutes, it was obvious to me that all computers would work like this some day.” 

The other night, in Hawthorne, California, Elon Musk unveiled “the missing piece” in the transition over to clean energy. The Tesla Powerwall, a large household battery (with industrial applications as well), was that piece.

 

"Our goal is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy," Musk told a press conference at the Tesla Design Center on Thursday night.

 

"It sounds crazy, but we want to change the entire energy infrastructure of the world to zero carbon." 

 

In Musk’s mind, we orbit the key to weening the world off of fossil fuels. “We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky called the Sun,” he said to the crowd as his keynote. Solar energy then, relying on commercially available solar panels, is the first step in the weening process.

 

We’ve long heard the promise of solar power, but the public hasn’t viewed it as a real competitor to fossil fuels (at least the American public). However, the math is all there. Musk referred to a striking graph to make his point (shown in the video). The blue square is the total amount of surface area that would need to be covered by solar panels to take the US off the grid—and the area is miniscule—like placing a dot on a basketball—a very small dot, from the tip of a felt pen.

 

Why is it so hard to think like an Elon Musk– someone seeing so much possibility for world transformation in just a tiny battery and the ability to harness the best in business to create value and build a better world? I think, in Tojo Thatchenkery’s words its an ability to "see the mighty oak in the acorn"–an appreciative intelligence that comes from disciplined inquiry (look up Tojo’s book Appreciative Intelligence.)

 

Leadership = affirmation: its the ability to see the future in the tiniest signs of what works, what’s best, and what’s possible– and then to unite all of that with a businessworthy purpose. Appreciative inquiry, together with meaning and purpose, is such a powerful combination.  Changing the entire fossil fuel basis of our economy is bold, for sure, and it’s not often you hear CEO’s give speeches like this. But its certainly a precious glimpse into appreciative intelligence. You deserve to take a look:

 

http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/1/8527543/elon-musk-tesla-battery-feels

 

But beware its not this leader’s flawless oratory skills that make this so powerful: its the authenticity of his vision. Leadership is about seeing; its about the appreciative knowing and the ability to read the world for its intimations of something more.  

 

http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/1/8527543/elon-musk-tesla-battery-feels

 

 

 

 

 

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

Apr 19

Einstein’s “Holy Curiosity” and 3 Ways Amazement Can Change Your Life and Leadership Ability

Warren Berger’s, A More Beautiful Question, draws a direct connection between curious inquiry and many of today’s most innovative entrepreneurs and designers. Design breakthroughs such as the Square credit card reader, Pandora internet radio, the Nest thermostat, and the business model for Airbnb all began with curious people wondering why a particular problem or human need existed—and how it might best be addressed. In today’s Silicon Valley, coming up with the right curious question can ultimately yield a payoff in the billions.

Source: www.fastcodesign.com

Warren Berger’s "A More Beautiful Question" and this summarizing Fast Company article is required reading for leaders in our Deep Dive program–in our senior leadership deep dive into cultivating the capacity for Appreciative Inquiry into things that work, and give life, and inspire the future.

 

Who knew a little curiosity could accomplish so much?

Well, lots of people, actually. Decades ago, Einstein urged us to "never lose a holy curiosity," while Walt Disney proclaimed that curiosity was a key to his company’s success ("We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.")

 

More recently, there’s been a fresh wave of champions extolling the virtues of curiosity. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has theorized that innovation is fueled, in part, by the "curiosity quotient" of innovators. The psychologist Todd Kashdan asserts that curiosity has all kinds of life-enhancing benefits, such as improving personal relationships. Author Ian Leslie’s recent book Curious contends that curiosity may be the "most valuable asset" of any society that aspires to progress and creativity.

See on Scoop.itAmazement and Achievement: Leading By Seeing What Works

Nov 8

Champlain College’s David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry (AI): The First Academic Center Exclusively Dedicated to Advancing the Theory and Practice of AI

Center Based at Robert P. Stiller School of Business at Champlain College

Source: www.champlain.edu

This press release was just issued today…it was an amazing day with a college that US News and World report named "the most up and coming college in America."  Big cheers to Lindsey Godwin and Mary Grace Neville, two of our proud graduates from the PhD program in organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University  that are now leading the way, together with their faculty colleagues and Dean Wes Balda, at Champlain College’s new center for Appreciative Inquiry. From President Don Laakman’s  opening to the dedication with the Vermont community, my family, and the faculty and students of Champlain, it was a magical day!   

See on Scoop.itAmazement and Achievement: Leading By Seeing What Works

Nov 8

Appreciative Inquiry pioneer, professor David Cooperrider honored with academic center established in his name

Source: cwru-daily.com

I am so proud of Case Western Reserve University–the birthplace of appreciative inquiry–and I was thrilled and honored today by the Stiller School of Business at Champlain College with the dedication of the first academically based Center for Appreciative Inquiry, totally devoted to the advancement of the theory and practice AI’s life-centric approach to knowledge and collaborative design of the future.  

This all came about because of a transformative gift by CEO Bob Stiller. I started working with Bob some 14 years ago, along with Judy Rodgers, in the days when Bob was leading Green Mountain Coffee Roasters into an era of phenomenal growth and becoming a leader in the sustainability movement with leadership in Fair Trade coffee, greening operations, and community citizenship. It was one of my first well researched examples of the concept of sustainable value. It was the first time the twin combination–the AI Summit and the sustainability agenda–were woven together in a way that created an amazing synergy.

 

Today when the people of Champlain College dedicated the Center in my name I said: “To be sure, this is not about me, but is testimony to the great power of Appreciative Inquiry as a way of leading and living, and Bob Stiller was touched at a deep level, not only by ‘AI’ as a way of creating a successful business, but by the power of the positive, in all walks of life. ” Lindsey Godwin, one of the best doctoral students I’ve ever worked with, will be the academic leader of the center, and I will serve as Honorary Chair and help catalyze collaboration across the worldwide AI field. Today was filled with deep emotion, gratitude, and recognition of my mentor Suresh Srivastva, and the many other colleagues who have helped co-create appreciative inquiry–as "a positive revolution in change–" amazing colleagues such as Ron Fry, Frank Barrett, Lindsey Godwin, James Ludema, John Carter, Gervase Bushe, Mary Grace Neville, Jackie Stavros, and many outside of Case Western such as  Diana Whitney, Kenneth Gergen, Jane Dutton, Bill Pasmore, Peter Sorenson, Diana Bilimoria, Jane Watkins, Michel Avital, Michelle McQuaid, Sue Hammond, Danielle Zandee, Judy Rodgers, Jackie Kelm, Ada Jo Mann, Bernard Mohr, and many others.

This press release issued by Case Western Reserve University shares more!   

 

     

See on Scoop.itAmazement and Achievement: Leading By Seeing What Works

Nov 4

Business as Agent for World Benefit?

With a world providing daily reminders of what is not working, the concept behind “business as an agent of world benefit” is suggesting we should shift our attention to what IS working, what IS good and valuable, and build on those positive elements, behaviors and procedures.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Over 650 people attended our Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit and it was electric, from the talks of people such as Naveen Jain and Nobel Prize Winner Martti Ahtisaari, to CEOs of companies such as Vitamix and top corporate citizen in America Fairmount Santrol. This Huffington Post article show how inspired participants were and how this "unconference" leads not to just good talks but to collective action.  

See on Scoop.itAmazement and Achievement: Leading By Seeing What Works

Oct 28

Amory Lovins’ high-tech home skimps on energy but not on comfort

The house’s electricity is all renewable. Massive solar panels adorn the roof, carport, and grounds alongside the building. The panels produce far more solar power during the day than the Lovinses use, so they sell electricity to the grid during the day and buy wind energy from the grid at night. They also store the solar power in batteries so that they could be fully self-sufficient in a blackout. The batteries would run down at night but be recharged during the day. “In February 2013, there were five power failures [in the area], and we never lost power,” says Lovins.

Source: grist.org

Amory Lovin’s walks the talk when he argues that the transition to a renewable energy future is a sheer joy. Its about sustainability as enchanting enrichment.  His house’s electricity is all renewable. Massive solar panels adorn the roof, carport, and grounds alongside the building. The panels produce far more solar power during the day than the Lovinses use, so they sell electricity to the grid during the day and buy wind energy from the grid at night. They also store the solar power in batteries so that they could be fully self-sufficient in a blackout. The batteries would run down at night but be recharged during the day. “In February 2013, there were five power failures [in the area], and we never lost power,” says Lovins.

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

Oct 28

Net Positive Energy and 9 innovations to slash food loss

Using anaerobic digestion to turn food waste into energy

A firm called Feed Resource Recovery has designed and implemented a zero-waste solution for the food industry that leverages customers’ existing transportation and distribution systems to generate clean, sustainable power for onsite operations — reducing emissions and saving millions of dollars on waste-removal costs. In nature, wetlands use anaerobic digestion to purify the earth’s wastewater. Feed uses this natural process, along with technology and optimization advancements, to cleanly and efficiently convert the carbon in organic waste into a renewable natural gas. This results in zero odors, a net surplus of energy and a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Similarly, a company called Waste Management, Inc. collects food scraps from restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and food processing plants, takes them to a company facility in Carson City, Nev., and grinds them into a slurry. That liquid is taken to a Los Angeles County wastewater treatment plant, where it is mixed in with sewage — one part food waste to nine parts human waste — and processed in an anaerobic digester. This results in a biogas that can be burned as fuel.

Source: www.greenbiz.com

This article highlights 9 innovations. One of my favorites creates not only less harm but net surplus of clean energy. It Uses anaerobic digestion to turn food waste into energy…read on:

A firm called Feed Resource Recovery has designed and implemented a zero-waste solution for the food industry that leverages customers’ existing transportation and distribution systems to generate clean, sustainable power for onsite operations — reducing emissions and saving millions of dollars on waste-removal costs. In nature, wetlands use anaerobic digestion to purify the earth’s wastewater. Feed uses this natural process, along with technology and optimization advancements, to cleanly and efficiently convert the carbon in organic waste into a renewable natural gas. This results in zero odors, a net surplus of energy and a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Similarly, a company called Waste Management, Inc. collects food scraps from restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and food processing plants, takes them to a company facility in Carson City, Nev., and grinds them into a slurry. That liquid is taken to a Los Angeles County wastewater treatment plant, where it is mixed in with sewage — one part food waste to nine parts human waste — and processed in an anaerobic digester. This results in a biogas that can be burned as fuel.

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

Oct 23

‘Flourish and Prosper’ Takes Sustainability to the Next Level

This week I had the chance to attend the Third Global Forum for Businesses as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Source: www.triplepundit.com

This article by the Triple Pundit helps us see the next stage in sustainable value creation. Based on the new book by Chris Laszlo and the Fowler Center Distinguished Fellows, the conference set a new north star for the field. Here is what Siegal, the author, had to say about his experience:

“This week I had the opportunity to attend the Third Global Forum for Businesses as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. The theme for this year’s forum is ‘Flourish and Prosper.’ The event, which was pioneered eight years ago by David Cooperrider — best known for his work on appreciative inquiry.

As Barbara Snyder, Case Western president said, “We’ve come a long way from talking about sustainability to talking about flourishing.” That sentiment was repeated several times on this first day — that it is time to reach beyond merely sustaining, and time to stop thinking in terms of trade-offs. We need to be smart enough to include the considerations of people, profit and planet in everything we do, to synthesize these requirements into smart solutions.

There is another dimension to this, as well. The idea of flourishing, says Cooperrider, means that the energy for innovation must come from an intrinsic caring. It must acknowledge the interconnectedness of all things. Citing the Dalai Lama, when asked about corporate social responsibility (CSR), he said that ‘responsibility’ is not the right word. It’s intimacy. It’s time for a transformation that means moving away from a preoccupation with the self and focusing on the interconnectedness.”

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

We are happy to offer you a complimentary download of the Leadership Excellence Magazine.

Leadership Excellence is a leading monthly digest offering the world’s best value-centered, principle-based ideas and strategies for organizational and executive development. Each month, 16 to 20 of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners share their cutting edge management ideas and strategies in digest format. We are delighted to let you know that David Cooperrider, Professor and Author of AI, is featured on this month’s front cover which also includes two articles by David — Three Circles and Innovation’s New Frontier. Learn more...