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.
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.)
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.
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.
by David L. Cooperrrider, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University Article prepared for the Organizational Dynamics 2012 Executive Summary The emergence of strengths-based management may be the management innovation of our time. Nearly…
David Cooperrider, PhD, internationally renowned for his work which helped catalyze today’s strengths revolution in management, has been named the next Peter F. Drucker Distinguished Fellow for his contribution to the field of management.
Why walkable communities, sustainable economics, and multilateral
diplomacy are the future of American power.
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.
Grand strategy, as Patrick Doherty and Marine Col. "Puck" Mykleby describe it, is the plan by which each generation of Americans creates the global conditions necessary to live the Preamble to the Constitution. In practice, it integrates our economic engine, our governing institutions, and our foreign policy to meet the great global challenge of the era. The American way of grand strategy is to let our economy do the heavy lifting, an innovation that led us through in both World War II and the Cold War.
Sadly, the situation facing America is as dire as during those two 20th century strategic challenges:
Rapid, global economic inclusion is driving strategic levels resource competition among major economies;Ecosystem depletion is changing the climate and reducing the carrying capacity of the planet.A contained depression, or debt-cycle deleveraging, has trapped the US in an austerity spiral.A resilience deficit has left our systems, supply chains and infrastructure buffeted by shock and disruption.
Worse, as this article articulates, these four core challenges have fused into a “wicked problem;” to solve for any one of these challenges requires solving for the set. Fail, and as conditions degrade in across the nation, the American experiment in republican self-government will suffer extraordinary damage.
And yet, America’s opportunity for generating prosperity, security and sustainability are astonishing. We have enormous pools of pent up demand waiting to be tapped. We have great and rising levels of capital sitting on the sidelines waiting for reasonable returns over the medium and long term, and as we unwind and reprogram stranded hydrocarbon assets, we will see mainstream global capital and investment align with this global demand—and America’s strategic imperatives. This simple economic formula: “Demand + Capital – Stranded Assets” can transform American markets to become the foundation of a prosperous, secure and sustainable global economy.
But to navigate these treacherous waters requires a grand strategy designed for the 21st Century. It is not optional; grand strategy is our solemn responsibility as citizens committed to self-governance. America has done it before; our generation must once again answer the call.
It can be done. A Theory of Change
Societies undergo large-scale adaptation when leadership recognizes challenges and opportunities and resolves to build a compelling alternative path to a better future. In the 20th Century, hot and cold war provided the impetus for America’s grand strategic adaptation. Today’s strategic challenge, however, is not an evil empire, and is not likely to present itself as an analogous threat. There will not be a single defining shock or war providing the Executive branch the mandate for sweeping national change. Rather, the interconnected, interdependent world in which we live will produce shocks, crises and disruptions with an ever-increasing frequency and severity, further exacerbating anxiety, inequality, and the erosion of our social fabric.
In other words, submits Doherty, America is experiencing a version of the “boiled frog” syndrome; the incremental degradation of our national situation is insufficient to override politics-as-usual and engender a decisive national response. We believe we must find another way to create a political mandate for a new grand strategy that does not rely on the two-party system. In broadest terms, this means the formation of a politically and regionally diverse, outside-the-beltway coalition. That coalition must have the economic, moral, and grassroots power necessary to create the safe space for elected politicians to embrace both the narrative of how we got here and a grand strategy for moving us forward.
Instead of waiting for its Pearl Harbor, this coalition must leverage the perturbations and the opportunities in this era, the sticks and the carrots of our age, to inspire elected leaders to action while demonstrating to citizens and market participants that their prosperity and security is served best by a decisive strategic shift. We know that shocks and crises are already loaded into the system and will create the kinds of plastic moments needed to end our present inertia. We know that global economic inclusion and demographic change at home is the kind of wealth-creating opportunity not seen since the end of WWII. We must take advantage of these conditions. They will not last long.
A concerted effort to build top-down consensus and bottom-up support is therefore essential. What follows is the overview of how we can take the discrete steps today to launch that effort.
Grand Strategy Project: Major Phases to 2020
The Grand Strategy Project’s vision is for America to adopt and implement a grand strategy of sustainability by 2020. We cannot waste any more time. The Second World War grand strategy took two years for a super majority to adopt. The Cold War, seven. We’ve done it before and our Constitution has not changed so much that we cannot do it again.
To realize this vision a broad coalition of Americans must create the circumstances in which Congress, the Executive, and a durable super-majority of the American people are united in their desire to pursue a strategy in which our economic engine, governing institutions and foreign policy are delivering prosperity and security while staying within the planet’s material and ecosystem boundaries as well as our own values as a people and a nation.
The scale and ambition of this effort are extraordinary and any effort at planning a strategic transition will require a flexible, adaptive, and well-resourced campaign. A preliminary assessment of the likely phases, objectives, targets and activities follows, but will require significant iteration with a broader set of stakeholders and professional campaign staff.
To succeed, this project has to combine ideas, consensus, and action. Our iterative process involves the following loop: refine the grand strategy, extend the circle of consensus, spend political capital to enact strategic change, refine our implementation plan, and repeat. Our goal will be to establish a governing simple majority aligned with a grand strategy of sustainability; a majority that will then enact and execute the statutory, organizational, and administrative changes necessary for implementation, inspiring the durable super-majority consensus necessary to see the strategy through. This will only be possible if the American people believe the strategy offers a better way into the future, capable of delivering prosperity and security while remaining true to our founding values as a nation and purposes under the Constitution.
Read the entire article
Attend the October 15-17 Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit to meet the authors of this and to actively engage with them and others to design the path forward for this national initiative which will soon be in full motion. I will be joining them and we are exploring how the Case Western Reserve University large group planning methodology (the appreciative inquiry summit approach) might help provide a vehicle for bringing people together around this new national narrative.
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.
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.
"Our strength as a business is inherently linked to our sustainability strategy," said Chuck Fowler, a former Fairmount CEO and now a director. "Fairmount Santrol’s ability to proactively manage social and environmental risks and extract value from sustainability opportunities helped to position our organization as an attractive investment."
In fact, Fairmount on August 20 announced it was considering an IPO, which Reuters reported could value the company at more than $6 billion.
"Every social and global issue of our day is an opportunity to ignite industry-leading innovation, eco-entrepreneurship and new sources of value," says Cooperrider. And he emphasizes that a key element in taking on these challenges of innovation and more profitable production is an engaged workforce. Companies that embrace sustainability will flourish, says Cooperrider, because their business goals and activities produce "a sense of pride and purpose and inspiration in the workforce. They are on fire. They love their company."
Look for IndustryWeek’s reports from “Flourish & Prosper: The Third Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit,” which will be held Oct. 15-17 at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
Long maligned for crime, corruption and pollution, the area is now home to luxury apartments, warehouse lofts and a new burst of optimism
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.
The tally of LEED-certified, green buildings in Cleveland has gone from one to 62 in 10 years. In 2009, there were zero renewable energy installations, yet there are now 104 throughout the city, among them solar farms and an anaerobic digester that turns waste into fuel. The city is now flush with farmers’ markets that have quenched food deserts, and despite frustratingly slow progress, urban streets are now more walkable and bike-friendly.
These all are good signs. Yet there are also many indicators to worry about, signs that we may be winning on some fronts but losing elsewhere. The number of days per year when the region’s air quality is considered unhealthy for sensitive populations has risen, now ranging from 10 to 40 days a year. Cleveland’s obesity rate is about 35 percent; the rate of diabetes is 14 percent. The Cuyahoga River is getting cleaner, yet owing to the rise of phosphorus, the health of Lake Erie may be declining.
What this report shows is that while sustainability leaders envision a city of net zero energy buildings, food businesses revved up into economic engines, and vibrant neighborhoods filled with bike lanes, that future is still some distance away.
We turned to Jenita McGowan, the City of Cleveland’s Chief of Sustainability, to help us understand the progress we’ve made and identify the latest, greenest projects out there.
Proof of concept
SC 2019 hosts an annual summit each September that draws a diverse group of local leaders, and each year is themed with a different “celebration topic.” Thus far, Cleveland has celebrated energy efficiency, local food, advanced and renewable energy and zero waste. In all these areas, McGowan says, Cleveland has made considerable progress.
“We have proof of concept,” she says. “Now the conversation is about scale, making these things more systematic and embedding them into business-as-usual for our community. Not just programs for early adopters or one-off pilot projects, but bigger efforts.”
Huge challenges lie ahead, especially as the effects of climate change become more dramatic. Some problems are regional, making them difficult issues that will take a long time to address. Integrating sustainability into neighborhoods and resident behavior can be a hurdle, as evidenced by our 12.5 percent recycling rate (a number she says will rise as curbside recycling expands and additional education efforts are mounted).
Yet McGowan cites examples of progress the city has made as reasons for optimism.
Energy efficiency. The Cleveland Energy Saver program achieved its pilot goal of retrofitting 100 homes. The Cleveland 2030 District is working towards a goal of making downtown buildings more energy-efficient. The green building tax abatement program helps ensure that new homes built in the City of Cleveland are green and healthy.
Local food. Tunnel Vision Hoops launched out of SC 2019 and has created five new jobs and a sustainable business in Cleveland. Bridgeport Marketplace and Cornucopia Café and Community Kitchen opened in the Central neighborhood, bringing healthy options to a food desert. Double-value produce perks have encouraged thousands of low-income families to shop at farmers’ markets and increased access to healthy foods.
Advanced and renewable energy. Cleveland Public Power now purchases renewable energy from the Collinwood BioEnergy facility, which transforms discarded food waste into energy. CMHA installed a huge, one megawatt solar array at its headquarters. The Medical Center Company recently installed a one megawatt solar farm on Euclid Avenue.
Zero waste. Recycling is being expanded throughout the city. The Upcycle Parts Shop has opened in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood, thanks to a grant to the Upcycle St. Clair Project from ArtPlace America. Rust Belt Riders has brought residential and commercial composting to Cleveland using a private entrepreneurial model.
McGowan says the city also has made progress in future celebration topics – next year the focus shifts to clean water, and subsequent years will celebrate sustainable mobility, vibrant green space, vital neighborhoods and people – with more good news to come.
What’s next for sustainability?
McGowan says this year’s sustainability summit will identify opportunities for “scaling up” the city’s progress. This event takes place September 17 and 18 at Cleveland Public Auditorium. Keynote addresses will be given by John Cleveland of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission and Annie Leonard, who is the creator of “The Story of Stuff.”
Leveraging sustainability assets, progress and strengths to advance business. “How do we leverage the sustainable business opportunities that are happening in the city in a way that helps advance community-wide goals?” McGowan asks. She cites the Green Venues Working Group, which brings together corporations like the Cleveland Browns with nonprofits like the Cleveland Museum of Art, as one positive example.
Advancing people-centered development. “We need to make these ideas accessible to neighborhood residents as part of a community culture change,” she says, citing Potluck in the Park and a block club energy efficiency challenge as successes.
Building renewable energy. McGowan identifies renewable energy projects like solar farms as growth opportunities. The city conducted a renewable energy site screening project that prioritizes sites and reduces the soft costs involved in these projects. McGowan suggests the possibility of a future “Solarize Cleveland” initiative.
Walkable cities/sustainable transportation. While neighborhoods like Ohio City have become more walkable and bikeable, Hough has actually become harder to get around without a car due to lack of density, the flight of local businesses and a dearth of green streets projects. “There are cities known for walkability, bikeability, transit,” says McGowan. “Cleveland has the potential, but what will it take to get us there?”
The economics and ecology of clean water. Look to the newly formedCleveland Water Alliance as a leader that will help move this community conversation forward.
Climate change. The city released its climate action plan last year. The goal is to help the city become more resilient and self-reliant, mitigating the effects of climate change.
Waste to wealth. There’s a huge business opportunity here, says McGowan. She cites the Collinwood Bioenergy facility, composting efforts at First Energy Stadium and Progressive Field, and the emergence of Rust Belt Riders as examples.
Local foods B2B matchmaking. Local food businesses have a problem: distribution. Restaurants and other venues lack the requisite staff to source local foods. Meanwhile, distributors also don’t have the infrastructure to educate customers about local foods. McGowan envisions a matchmaking program to connect businesses to customers.
CLE’s newest, greenest businesses
If scaling up is the next challenge for Cleveland’s sustainability scene, look no further than the Medical Center Company, a nonprofit energy provider that just built a one megawatt solar farm a stone’s throw from University Circle on Euclid Avenue.
MCCO has nine member institutions, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals among them, and delivers steam heat and chilled water through underground pipes to University Circle facilities. Building a solar farm is part of its commitment to providing sustainable energy and reducing its costs and carbon footprint.
“We were looking at how we could interject greener energy into our energy portfolio for our members,” says Mike Heise, President of MCCO. “The larger solar farm was more cost-effective than doing a smaller one. This was a way to support sustainability goals.”
MCCO has made a commitment to eliminating the use of coal. On peak days, about 2-3 percent of the energy that it supplies could be generated by the solar farm. Additionally, solar displays are being installed on the Seidman Cancer Center and other buildings.
Paying for solar projects is a huge hurdle — most entities use third-party financing, but MCCO was lucky enough to have cash on hand. Nonetheless, the decreasing cost of solar arrays as well as higher electricity costs have made solar increasingly feasible.
Waste to energy is another business area that’s now scaling up. Grind2Energy is a food waste recovery program operating under InSinkErator, a division of Emerson. Recently, Grind2Energy systems have been installed at First Energy Stadium, Progressive Field and Tower City Center. Previously, food waste just ended up in a landfill somewhere. Now, it’s ground into a slurry and turned into energy by the local company Quasar.
Finally, the success of Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen, which has propelled local food businesses like Cleveland Kraut, Chill Pop Shop, Mason’s Creamery and Saucisson, has shown the potential for local foods as an economic driver. Recently, CCLK launched an eight-week food business incubator to help these startups grow.
“Multiple businesses have said, ‘We wouldn’t have been able to start our businesses without this kitchen,” says Carolyn Priemer, who helped found CCLK. “Whatever the product, they couldn’t have made it out of their house without access to this kitchen.”" http://www.freshwatercleveland.com/features/sustainableclevelandupdate091114.aspx?utm_source=VerticalResponse&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=making+sustainability+in+cleveland+the+new+business-as-usual&utm_content=%7BEmail_Address%7D&utm_campaign=Halfway+There%3A+How+Green+is+Cleveland%3F
SHARE GREEN DOWNTOWN
Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management Honors David Cooperrider with the 2014 “Research of Enduring Impact Award”. Read more…
See on Scoop.it – Business 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
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
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.
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.
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
“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.”
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
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….
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
Several organizing principles can help companies sustain both profitability and a sense of purpose.
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
Smart Grid – We have followed National Grid’s smart grid pilot in Worcester, MA throughout its evolution, and it continues to be one to watch. The smart meter installations have been completed…
Utility executives face difficult challenges in leading the industry-level change needed to secure a prosperous future. National Grid employed Strategic Convening using the Appreciative Inquiry Positive Design Summit to overcome such challenges. This article shares the National Grid experience to orchestrate two major Appreciative Inquiry Summits in Massachusetts. It also presents possible implications for the Energy Utility Industry and for the Energy Utilities that choose to lead the way. The article provides the basis for real optimism among utilities. It shows how relationships and understanding among utilities, regulators, customers, public advocates, solution providers and other key players can be strengthened to enable a profitable and sustainable transition toward a clean energy future.
I think National Grid is an extraordinary company in the utilities domain. They connect with communities and customers, better than any other company of its kind. I have seen them in operation–convening 500 people, stakeholders from every part of the system–to not just talk, but to design together. Its Appreciative Inquiry Summits–large group design labs–have taken place in Worcester; in Albany; and in the whole statewide energy planning in Massachussets with Governor Deval Patrick. Read more