This blog post is a tiny excerpt from our next book, one that I am currently working on together with colleague and co-author Lindsey Godwin. In recent years, humbling to me, many people such as Parashu Ram Timalisna, Emi Makino, and Philip Merry and others have asked for more detail on the essence of my original PhD thesis on Appreciative Inquiry or “AI”—even asking if they could get their hands on a full copy–and this blog post shares ideas from that generative moment of theory building. It happened at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic. I was invited and placed onto their world-class stage by my dissertation chair and remarkable mentor Suresh Srivastva.
The study was one of those cherished high point moments in a carreer, the kind of thing every young scholar dreams about. The research demonstrated a Heisenberg “observer effect” on steroids– how just the mere act of inquiry can change the world. Radically reversing the deficit-problem analytic methods of the day, and experimenting with an appreciative eye focusing entirely on “what gives life” not only served to catalyze a huge momentum but it sparked an era of advance. The organization—over the next twelve years– entered an unprecedented phase of growth under the leadership of Dr. Bill Kiser. Frank Barrett and Ron Fry, in a book several decades later, reflected back upon that first articulation of the theory of AI and concluded that the contribution of our first article on appreciative inquiry was at “a magnitude perhaps not seen since that of Kurt Lewin’s classic article outlining action research.” In a similar fashion, Jane Watkins and Bernard Mohr in another volume celebrated the birth of “a paradigm shift” at the Cleveland Clinic. They wrote: “The momentum set the stage for David Cooperrider’s seminal dissertation, the first, and as yet, one of the best articulations of the theory and practice of Appreciative Inquiry.”
That dissertation was defended on August 19th, 1985—almost thirty years ago. But curiously, every month for the last several months, students and others have asked me about that early writing. Read more
Recently the convention industry called.
Did you know that the convention industry is a nearly $300 billion dollar industry. Convene Magazine created a headline article on what I shared. In essence I concluded that conventions are tremendously wasteful and largely unproductive for the costs involved. Think about it—you’ve attended large association meetings; global managers’ meetings; and conferences of all kinds. Just adding up the years of wisdom and knowledge of the participants, many of those conventions have thousands of years of experience in them. Yet people come away saying, “yes there were some good speeches and panels and networking; but we didn’t do anything!”
This posting is the start of new article I just drafted with Michelle McQuaid for a volume called “The Positive Psychology of Sustainability”. When companies embark on designing sustainable value initiatives there is often an eruption of good will, energy and motivation, and heightened innovation.
And all of this “good stuff” can be accelerated. How? It’s about leading via strengths.
Imagine a world of nine billion people with clean water, quality food, affordable housing and education, top-tier medical care, ubiquitous clean energy, dignified opportunity, thriving economies, and global peace and security. Now, how might we get there? In this challenge, we’re examining the role that business – one of the most powerful, transformative forces in our world – can play as a driver of innovation and greater prosperity. How can business become an agent of world benefit and shape our society, our environment and our economy in positive, sustainable ways? David Cooperrider invites you to explore one of the most exciting and important projects he has ever worked on. In partnership with IDEO (go to http://www.openideo.com) the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University is sponsoring the challenge. David shares several of the early inspirations behind the project and then invites you to collaborate and actively participate in the prototyping for a Nobel-like Prize for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Read more
Carol White and Marcy Reed, executives from National Grid, in collaboration with all the energy companies in the state of Massachusetts, residents, customers, state policy makers, regulators, universities, vendors, as well as the Governor Deval Patrick, are pioneering in the use of the Appreciative Inquiry Summit for creating the state’s 3-year energy efficiency plan and a statewide energy savings revolution. This short video shows the collaborative power of “the whole system in the room” in a state that is ranked #1 by IEEE as the energy efficiency leader in the nation. We live in a world where the question is not just about change, but the question now is “change at the scale of the whole”–how do we move whole cities, regions, and even states TOGETHER? And how do we connect and magnify strengths across sectors, institutions, professions, and levels? Everyone knows we need new forms of national dialogue but not just for the sake of dialogue but for doing–for shaping our official plans, and doing the work of management and leadership together. Yes this was highly technical. Yes… Read more
Here is an article I recently wrote with Chris Laszlo published in The Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner, May 2012 at www.aipractitioner.com. I also just spoke about this at the Ai World Conference in Belgium. – David Cooperrider
Organizations everywhere are discovering the power and promise of design thinking and increasingly managers and management schools are turning to architects, creative artists, graphic specialists, product designers, open source communities, and performing artists as inspired models for innovation, improvisational leadership and collaborative designing. New volumes such as Managing as Designing (Boland and Collopy, 2004); Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work (Austin and Devin, 2003); Discovering Design (Buchanan and Margolis, 2000) and The Design of Business (Martin, 2009) are portraying the essence of management not so much as a science of rational decisions within a known and stable world but, instead, as the art of generating artifacts and designs of a better future, rapid prototypes, feedback loops, and agile interactive pathways embedded within an increasingly uncertain and dynamic world.
An amazing conference – 650 attenders from over 40 countries! For the latest reports, blogs, videos on the 2012 World AI Conference go to http://www.2012waic.com/posts/
On April 25-28, 2012 the 5th World Conference on Appreciative Inquiry will be held in Ghent, Belgium.
The conference offers lectures, workshops, stories and dialogues where you will learn about, share and experience truly innovative examples of connectedness and innovation. From the micro to the macro level. On the micro-level we see the power of AI in tools for the elevation of strengths. On the enterprise level, methods for the combination and integration of strengths have been applied in talent and performance management systems, and in participative strategic planning processes. AI has definitely changed the way we look at leadership and change.
by David L. Cooperrrider, Weatherhead School of Management,
Case Western Reserve University
Article prepared for the Organizational Dynamics 2012
The emergence of strengths-based management may be the management innovation of our time. Nearly every organization has been introduced to its precepts—for example, the insight that a person or organization will excel only by amplifying strengths, never by simply fixing weaknesses. But in spite of impressive returns, organizations and managers have almost all stopped short of the breakthroughs that are possible.
By David L. Cooperrider
We have an unprecedented opportunity in human history to live longer and healthier than ever before. For one thing we have access, from around the world and through each of the seasons, to the richest, diverse array of nutritional foods any era might have been able to provide. And yet today, 35.7% of Americans are now obese, and 68.8% are either overweight or obese. The number one health issue in the United States is obesity and if the current trend continues, by 2048 all adults in the U.S. will be overweight or obese.
Planning new mental health facilities in the heart of local communities is no easy task. Local residents, businesses and other community organisations are frequently fearful of both the mentally ill and how the facilities may affect the value of their properties and businesses. First impressions and reactions are predictably negative.
The state of mind of the people who make up an organization decides the well-being of the organization. Grounded in psychology and management research, Sarah Lewis’ new book Positive Psychology at Work offers insights on creating appreciative and positive cultures at work. Lewis is an associated fellow of the British Psychological Society and the managing director of Appreciating Change, a business psychology change consultancy in the UK, where she works as a facilitator and consultant.
Blog > Peter Crowley
Over the past 10 years I have helped design and facilitate over 50 large-group Appreciative Inquiry summits, often working directly with Dr. David Cooperrider. The most recent was a four-day format attended by 450 stakeholders, but I have also experienced surprising success (don’t tell Dave) utilizing one-day day formats with as few as 20 participants. Without exception, each event concluded with an outpouring of emotional connection, individual commitment and collective resolve, leaving the once skeptical management team with a feeling of excitement, possibility and yes….relief!
The idea of having an inspiring vision and collective mission is important in many different areas. Whether it be marriage, career, or personal growth, having a vision and mission to direct decision making and stimulate goal-setting is crucial to keeping a healthy and productive perspective.
One model, called Appreciate Inquiry (AI) has been shown to help elicit positive change and transformation both in and out of the workplace. It is often utilized as a prescription for change in organizations, though it can also be applied to daily life and relationships in general.