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
Sep 28

We The People for The Global Goals: Bill Gates and Stars from Around the World are Turning a Worldwide Urge into a Global Plan

A new plan for people and planet has just launched – the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Tell everyone! add your very own intro to this star-stu…

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.youtube.com

Imagine the world a 30 years from now and consider the following scenario for the economy:


It’s a bright-green restorative economy that purifies the air we breathe; it has eliminated the concept of waste and toxic byproduct; extreme poverty has been eradicated from the planet; the economy is powered by 100% renewable, abundant energy and is saving the decarbonized world trillions in lower costs; it is a world of freer and truer markets with signals that generate positive incentives aligned with the long-term greater good (thus, it has virtually eliminated “perverse incentives”); the economy’s industry-leading stars are celebrated as creators of sustainable value where the word “sustainability-as-less-bad” has been replaced with the “sustainability-as-flourishing” net positive; what we see when we look around are resilient, bright green, and walkable cities, re-generative agricultural practices, and astonishing exponential technologies for advancing health and collaborative connections; and all of this is built on an economy of  institutions that are widely trusted as positive institutions—workplaces that elevate, magnify, and refract our highest human strengths (wisdom, courage, humanity, compassion, inspiration, collaborative creativity, freedom, hope, joy, learning, integrity, love and meaning) into the world. We’ve built the bridge from an unsustainable industrial age to a future that embraces the idea of full-sprectrum flourishing. We have re-designed the entire material basis of our civilization—successfully.  


This, in a nutshell, was the essence of the 2050 and beyond vision of the desired future of an inclusive economy where people thrive, businesses win, and nature flourishes as articulated by executives, researchers, and MBA students coming together at an international meeting we facilitated, at the First Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, in 2006.  Moreover we’ve discovered that this vision is not isolated, as we have repeated the exercise with thousands of executives and communities, from the UN Global Compact to the Business Alliance for the Future.  Nor is it utopian, as it reflects an unprecedented worldwide urge for positive change, an increasingly shared vision, uncoordinated but blooming, with dazzling examples emerging everywhere. Paul Hawken describes it all as a “blessed unrest”—millions of people and organizations spontaneously bringing about what may one day be recognized as the most profound transformation of human society. 


This September 2015 this vision, this urge, has now taken form as a plan for the people and planet. It’s the result of much deliberation, analysis, and dialogue–it’s as universal as it gets, and it speaks to partnership and the collaborative advantage. The speakers here span business (Bill Gates) to stars of all kinds. 

share it with the world:http://wethepeople.globalgoals.org

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

Sep 8

This 16th century French castle is the temporary home to 100 makers trying to save the planet

“We need to move from protest to prototype,” said Daniel Kruse of Open State. “We were looking at all these climate summits, and people just talk and talk. So we thought we would try a different strategy by working with makers, with people who do stuff instead of just talking about stuff.”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: venturebeat.com

This is a community of entrepreneur—out to change world history. The goal of the Proof of Concept 21 innovation camp, or POC21, is to “prototype the fossil free, zero waste society.” The organizers have selected 12 teams who will live at the Château de Millemont and work together to develop their projects, which range from low-cost wind turbines to a shower that recycles its own water.

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

Sep 2

Mirror Flourishing and the Design of Positive Institutions

Mirror Flourishing: Appreciative Inquiry and the Designing of Positive Institutions – David Cooperrider, PhD.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.youtube.com

It was a real honor for me to keynote day-two of the World Conference in Positive Psychology. With lot of stories from the field I shared my big hope for the world, and shared the power of questions in leadership–how we become what we study and how we live in worlds our questions create. Here is the link to the talk:




I especially loved sharing stories–stories of our work and research with companies such as Apple, Keurig Green Mountain Coffee, Google, Tesla, the UN and nonprofits such as the URI. And I shared about the Ai tools for the discovery and design of positive institutions. Building on my next book with great colleague Lindsey Godwin, I explored the idea positive institutions: 


"Positive institutions are organizations and structured patterns in culture or society that serve to elevate and develop our highest human strengths, combine and magnify those strengths, and refract our highest strengths outward in world benefiting ways leading, ultimately, to a world of full-spectrum flourishing." 


But be forewarned. My assignment was to talk for an entire hour! So if you want only the conclusions, simply fast-forward to the the last couple of minutes which focuses on our latest work called Business as an Agent of World Benefit. 

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

Jun 29

World Appreciative Inquiry Conference 2015

Building Flourishing Societies Together: Elevating, Aligning and Reflecting our Best to Create a Prosperous World for All
2015 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I am thrilled to announce the 2015 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference, from July 6-10, in the beautiful city of Johannesburg, South Africa. The World AI Conference has been previously convened in the U.S., Nepal, and Belgium. In 2015, I look forward to us gathering together in South Africa – a country of transformation and inspiration – where we can join as a community of practitioners and scholars to learn from each other and advance the field of strength-based work. With this setting serving as our inspiration, we will explore the cutting edge work being done around the world in Appreciative Inquiry and other strength-based methodologies so that we can take the positive revolution for change to the next level together!

I look forward to seeing you there!

I thank you in advance for your help to make sure we share great work with the whole world.


David Cooperrider, Ph.D.
Fairmount | David L. Cooperrider Professor of Appreciative Inquiry

Weatherhead School of Management

Case Western Reserve University

Honorary Chair for the 2015 World AI Conference, South Africa


Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.2015waic.com

Message from Conference Co-Chairs:
Anastasia Bukashe and Freddie CrousDear Colleagues and Friends

“The growth and application of Appreciative Inquiry… has been nothing short of phenomenal. It is arguably the most powerful process of positive organizational change ever devised.” 
~ Ken Gergen

Nearly three decades ago David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva’s  ground-breaking article, “Appreciative Inquiry into Organizational Life” forever changed the way we look at leadership and change.

It shifted our attention from the world of organizational life as “a problem-to-be-solved” to the world as an innovation, spawning a “universe-of-strengths.”

A decade later Gallup unveiled the results of its landmark research study with 1.5 million people worldwide and confirmed the basic principle: that a person, organization or larger system, will excel only by knowing and amplifying strengths, never by fixing weaknesses.

Since then, millions of people in every sector of society around the world have shifted their attention to strengths-based leadership, and many are now asking, “What’s next?” “How, exactly, do we take the strengths mind-set beyond the  important  talent and  performance  management application—focused mainly on the individual or small groups—to embed strength-based methods into everything we do across our enterprise and beyond?” “How do we forge strength-centered organizational cultures and create strength-accelerating networks where collaborative partnerships result in transformative innovations for a better world?”

The answer to these questions is now starting to become clear: we must create strength-based organizations at every level of society…organizations, including groups, families, and communities, explicitly designed and managed for the elevation of strengths, the combination and magnification of strengths, and ultimately, the amplified reflection of our highest human strengths outward into the world.


Every three years the World Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Conference moves members of the AI community from across the globe to come together and share in conversations. So, once again, we invite you to join us at our upcoming conference, set to take place for the first time on African soil. Building on the words of Gillian Tett, social anthropologist and US managing editor of the Financial Times, this event has as its aim to fulfil our desire to belong to the AI ‘tribe’, thus allowing us to affirm our network and identity, forge bonds and express our shared values.

That is what the WAIC 2015: South Africa is all about– exploring the ways that we can build exceptional partnerships across the globe to help create strength-based organizations that build a flourishing and prosperous world for all. We thank you in advance for your interest and effort to help us make this global gathering a unique event in the history of AI.

On behalf of the organizing committee, international advisory board, and all conference partners,   Anastasia Bukashe, 
Conference Co-Chair Freddie Crous
Conference Co-Chair

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

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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? Read more

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. Read more

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...