Tech Valley, New York: One of my great clients is National Grid and the Tech Valley or Capital Region of NY–it’s one of the fastest growing economic development regions in the country. Why did they select the “Appreciative Inquiry Design Summit” to magnify the momentum? It’s because the best in human systems comes out when (1) we go beyond systems thinking and actually do systems thinking with the whole “living system” in the room; (2) when we go beyond the negative, deficit discourse of our society and engage the AI positive change tools for elevating and magnifying strengths, solutions, and scale, and (3) when we go beyond dialogue to design-inspired action–”the best plan is the plan you do.” Click here for YouTube summary of the event http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USXLSgR6zBU . Here Cheri Warren, the Innovation Officer at National Grid, and Mike Tucker, CEO of the Council for Economic Development talk about the power of 100′s of organizations in the same room doing planning and designing together. We are making breakthroughs in the field of management. In this age of collaboration these high profile experiments with macro collaboration are precious.
Here also, in PDF form, is one of my latest articles with my colleague Michelle McQuaid. Click here for download. It’s called “The Positive Arc of Systemic Strengths” and captures five remarkable cases about recent breakthroughs in collaborative planning. In each case results are carefully documented.
The Positive Arc of Systemic Strengths explores the important question: when is it that the best in human systems comes out, especially in collective action opportunities encompassing regions and cities, extended enterprises, industries, and UN world summits? Read more
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.
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.
David L. Cooperrider and Lindsey N. Godwin August 10th, 2010
“Fields change. And the field of organization development (OD) is changing more than most.” (see Cooperrider et al, 2005; Bushe and Marshak, 2009).
Part of OD’s change is being fueled by exciting breakthroughs in our theories of leadership –what has been called “the strengths revolution in management.” Another major force has been the emergence of Appreciative Inquiry, a paradigm-altering form of action-research that has permeated the fields of organization change and social innovation.
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.
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!
Axiom news recently published an article about how to thrive in our new economic strengths.
“The logic of Appreciative Inquiry is simple,” says Cooperrider.
“If we live in a universe of strengths then we need management methods that are not just top down, nor just bottom up. Appreciative Inquiry says there is a third form of management — and this, I deeply believe, is the future of management. It is not top down or bottom up but whole. Good management, increasingly, is all about thinking in terms of configurations.”
The New Zealand Herald recently carried an article about David’s visit there. Some New Zealand organizations are now using Appreciative Inquiry summit methodology for large scale projects.
“The New Zealand people were really excited,” says Cooperrider”.
People came away with major projects that they are designing. One is to use AI strength-based model to design a summit for NZ trade relations with China. This is an example of the kind of thinking that can happen when you have the tools to bring whole systems together very rapidly, not pushing certain strategic agenda, and not just for dialogue, but for collaboration.
Link to Article – pdf