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.

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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.

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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.

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Featured Blog Articles
Recent Blog Entries
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

Sep 15

A New U.S. Grand Strategy

Why walkable communities, sustainable economics, and multilateral
diplomacy are the future of American power.

Source: www.foreignpolicy.com

Why Grand Strategy? Why Now?

This Foreign Policy article is the most important essay I’ve read in a very long time. How many of us believe that our country can align around a nationally unifying purpose that will reignite our economy, create long term security, and help lead the global transition to a sustainable global system?

This article is unequivocal: America can do it–once again. We’ve done it before. Yet it requires a new understanding of the discipline of grand strategy, not just as a concept but as a non-partisan way to think clearly and collectively about the future.

Drawing on the article, here is a summary of key points. Read more

Sep 15

Sustainability Offers Leading Manufacturers Path to ‘Flourish’ | Growth Strategies content from IndustryWeek

North America’s future in manufacturing will be fueled by innovation. Companies that can engage their workforce in sustainable, entrepreneurial endeavors can not only survive but flourish.

Source: www.industryweek.com

I was recently interviewed by Industry Week and they will be covering our Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Here is an excerpt from the interview…it picks up with the Fairmount Santrol story of how sustainability and the high engagement AI Design Summit–where you bring 600 or more stakeholders in the room to design sustainable value opportunities–is igniting Fairmount’s industry leading success….Here is where the article picks up:

At Fairmount Santrol (formerly Fairmount Minerals), which produces sand and sand products for oil and gas exploration and other markets, Cooperrider in 2005 conducted an Appreciative Inquiry exercise with more than 300 employees as well as external stakeholders such as customers and community leaders. Appreciative inquiry is an approach to organizational change that is based on discovering the strengths and aspirations of the organization through collaborative exercises involving large groups of stakeholders. That led to the development of Fairmount’s sustainable development ideals and guiding principles. Read more

Sep 13

Just in Time for LeBron: Cleveland Stages a Comeback Via Going Green

Long maligned for crime, corruption and pollution, the area is now home to luxury apartments, warehouse lofts and a new burst of optimism

Source: online.wsj.com

Cleveland is in the national news–from the Wall Street Journal to New York Times–as a “comeback city.” Its a city on the move but the real revolution is about Cleveland’s grit (“decade of determination”) and Cleveland’s green (“building a green city on a blue lake”.)  While this Wall Street Journal headline misses the empowerment and innovation catalyzed by Mayor Jackson’s Sustainable Cleveland 2019 (a ten year series of Appreciative Inquiry Design Summits  focusing on turning social and ecological challenges into business opportunities and opportunities to empower community)–other reporters, such as Lee Chilicote, have captured much of the essence.  Lee writes:

“In recent years, Cleveland has gone from gritty to green in major ways. This is evident in the newgreen roof on the convention center, the now-annual Potluck in the Park that brings together hundreds of Clevelanders for a locally grown smorgasbord offering everything from fried greens to bok choy, and trail and green space projects.

But how green are we? Thanks to a community report and set of dashboard indicators released by Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a five-year-old initiative that aims to transform Cleveland into “a green city on a blue lake,” we now have a better idea. Some of the statistics are impressive, showing how far we’ve come in half a decade. Read more

Jun 21

The 2014 “Research of Enduring Impact Award”

Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management Honors David Cooperrider with the 2014 “Research of Enduring Impact Award”. Read more…

Apr 10

Wal-Mart partners with Wild Oats to roll back prices on organic food for everyone

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc wants Americans, even those on a budget, to buy more organic food.The retailer that leads U.S. stores in grocery sales said on Thursday it struck a deal to

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Wal Mart is advancing the sustainability revolution in the best way it knows how: by lowering prices, so organics are available to everyone. ”If we can make that price premium disappear, we think it (the organics movement) will grow much, much faster,” Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery at Walmart U.S., said of the retailer’s small but faster-growing organic sales. How does Wal Mart build a better future for more people? By cutting out redundant steps in the process, finding new effieciencies, and lowering prices. Save money, live well is not an empty slogan and its a lesson in effective management: lead with your distinctive strengths, as you search for ways to do good and do well.

See on www.reuters.com

Mar 21

Dynamism and Discontinuity: Eight Trends in the Business Environment that will Shape Strategy

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

It is not an exaggeration to say that a sea change has occurred with respect to sustainable value creation across a wider stakeholder domain; what used to be a peripheral set of activities has now become integral to firm strategy, supply chain operations, talent management, and more.

See on www.europeanbusinessreview.com

Mar 11

About Juan Tricarico – DairyMinded – Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

Today, as director for the Cow of the Future™ project, I collaborate with scientists, nutritionists, veterinarians, producers and many others who ask questions about the production of methane gas by dairy cows.

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

The story of the sustainable dairy industry movement is exciting and one of the pillars of a grand strategy for America–a regenerative agriculture that creates health and flourishing. Here is my interview on the subject and how Appreciative Inquiry catalyzed cooperation across the full value chain for a sustainable dairy.


And here is an example of the kind of curious, appreciative inquiry leadership we see happening: it involves rigorous inquiry; it is possibility focsued; and it shows that when you change the way you see, the things you see also change!

See on www.usdairy.com

Mar 6

The CEO of Kimberly-Clark on Building a Sustainable Company by Speeding the Spread of one Story at a Time

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

“This is part of an ongoing series from Harvard Business Review and the Skoll World Forum on how mega-corporations are integrating innovative ways to solve social and environmental problems into their core operations.”

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

In appreciative inquiry’s 4th “D” we help companies set up an affirmative organization learning culture which spreads “what works” with the click of a button–it’s called the ASN, or accelerating strengths network. In Wal-Mart’s early work we helped Andy Rueben spread over 2000 stories of success–all in low cost storytelling ways–to help inspire other employees, designers, and managers throughout the Wal-mart system and beyond. This story shows the ripple effects too. Here the CEO of Kimberely Clark shares how the spark at Wal-mart became a passion at KC, and how stories have wings and can fly from mountain top to mountaintop. This kind of strengths based, story based, network based change is empowering and fun. Change does not need to be dreaded, or create resistance–people love change, really. When these sparks ( stories) are set free, they grow into bright flames that light the way for others, and together become a corporate torch (legacy). The CEO of Kimberly Clark in this HBR series shows how easily this passion for positive change can spread to employees at every level.

“Some of the best thinking on how to meet our sustainability goals have come from employees in our mills. We first introduced Neve Compacto, a low-energy paper product, in Italy, to help retailers save shelf space and moms save room in their storage closet. Our Brazilian team saw how well it was working there and adapted it for use in their market. It’s been a huge success there. The Compacto rolls reduce the average amount of packaging used by 13%, which is equivalent to just over 1.8 million empty plastic water bottles in one year.”

See on skollworldforum.org

Feb 21

Sustainable Cleveland 2019: The Appreciative Inquiry Design Summit and ‘A Thriving Green City on a Blue Lake’

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

The people of Cleveland are mobilizing around a compelling vision to transform their communities into a flourishing city. They have the courage to dream a magnanimous vision for their city in the face of tremendous challenges….

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Today’s Huntington Post article by Michele Hunt is about putting vision and values to work. Highlighted is the power of wholeness–and a shift from dialogical (gridlocked) democracy to design democracy: where “we the people” do not just provide input, but actually engage in the design of strategic change. This case story involves Cleveland.

The City of Cleveland: Designing a Green City on a Blue Lake: Despite media attention on federal efforts to transition to a green economy, the real change happening is a quiet revolution taking places among US cities. Over 973 mayors have signed on to the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. However, even with the exponential growth of effort by cities, most of the action still remains fragmented. Most initiatives are either within a specific sector or a small area of a city resulting in the absence of systemic approaches to change. Read more

Feb 19

Combining Purpose With Profits: Companies Still Need More Than Good Intentions to Do Good

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

Several organizing principles can help companies sustain both profitability and a sense of purpose.

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Good intention to do good is one thing. But perhaps the most the essential thing “business as an agent of world benefit” does is to combine good intention with brilliant management.  MIT’s research looks at several organizing principles, and why good management cannot be compromised by simply having good intentions. But there is another real lesson here: having a purpose beyond profits is the best way to realize the highest levels in human motivation.  People give their lives to real causes–and our world has plenty of them just waiting for leaders to turn our world’s great challenges into bona fide business opportunities.  Purpose, according to Ratan Tata, the recently retired CEO of the Tata Group, is “a spiritual and moral call to action; it is what a person or company stands for.”

See on sloanreview.mit.edu

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...