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Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry Sarah Lewis.

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1 Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry Sarah Lewis

2 July 03Jemstone Consultancy2 Appreciative Inquiry  What is it and what’s new about it?  How does it work?  How do you do it?  What are the implications for practice?

3 July 03Jemstone Consultancy3 What is it?  Theory and practice of organisational change  That grew out of a dissatisfaction with Action Research  Post modern in its ontological and epistemological base  David Cooperrider, Suresh Srivastva

4 July 03Jemstone Consultancy4 So what’s new in appreciative inquiry?  Organisations as the triumph of the human imagination  Organisations as products of human interaction and mind  Not how things go wrong - isn’t it amazing they work at all  The move from deficit language to life centric approaches  From vocabularies of human deficit to vocabularies of hope  Organisations don’t need fixing, need constant re-affirmation

5 July 03Jemstone Consultancy5 Why appreciative?  Appreciation is a process of affirmation, it is an act of attention  Create change by paying attention to what you want more of  Appreciation helps groups generate images for themselves based on an affirmative understanding of their past.

6 July 03Jemstone Consultancy6 Appreciative Inquiry & Problem Solving Problem solving Felt need ‘identification of problem’ Analysis of causes Analysis of possible solutions Action planning (treatment) Basic assumption: organisation is a problem to be solved Appreciative inquiry Appreciating and valuing the best of what is Envisioning what might be Dialoguing what should be Innovating what will be Basic assumption: organisation is a mystery to be embraced. Hammond 1996

7 July 03Jemstone Consultancy7 How does appreciative inquiry make a difference?  Through appreciating organisations as living systems  Through attending to the creative process as opposed to the curative  Through recognizing mental processes as causal  Though recognizing organisation as a miracle of cooperative human interaction  Through language  Through social innovation

8 July 03Jemstone Consultancy8 Appreciative inquiry: principles The constructionist principle The simultaneity principle The poetic principle The anticipatory principle The positive principle

9 July 03Jemstone Consultancy9 Assumptions of appreciative inquiry  In every society, organisation or group, something works  What we focus on becomes our reality  Reality is created in the moment and there are multiple realities  The act of asking a question influences in some way  People have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future when they carry forward parts of the past

10 July 03Jemstone Consultancy10 Assumptions of appreciative inquiry  If we carry parts of the past forward, they should be what is best about the past  It is important to value difference  The language we use creates our reality (Hammond 1996)

11 July 03Jemstone Consultancy11 Language, theory and moral order  Theory provides a perceptual framework  Choice of what to study carries a degree of responsibility  Language and words are the building blocks of social reality  Not a passive purveyor of meaning between people, rather, an agent active in the creation of meaning  Knowledge of a system can be used to change itself

12 July 03Jemstone Consultancy12 The four D model  Identify those peak times when everything operated perfectly  What factors were behind the peak experiences  What intervention will make the peak experience the norm?  ‘Affirmative topics, always homegrown, can be on anything the people in the organisation feel gives life to the system’

13 July 03Jemstone Consultancy13 The four D model  Discovery: Discover and disclose positive capacity  Dreaming: A sense of how things could be  Design: Creation of the ideal organisation  Destiny: An inspired movement

14 July 03Jemstone Consultancy14 Appreciative Inquiry Discover and Value ‘the best of what is’ Dreaming (envisioning the future) ‘What might be’ Design through Dialogue ‘What should be’ Destiny (co-construct the future) ‘What will be’ Affirmative Topic Choice

15 July 03Jemstone Consultancy15 The appreciative interview In pairs  Each - identify a specific event when you feel you really made a difference, a really special event  Interview each other to re-create that experience: What? How? Who else? Feelings, talk, noticing, How did it make a difference? And so on - rich experience  What was different in that situation to other similar situations where you weren’t able to make such a difference?  When have both had your turn - reflections - what do you notice about the experience you have just had? 15 mins/15 mins /10 mins

16 July 03Jemstone Consultancy16 Benedictine University  Traditional academic culture  Ill equipped to respond to demands for change  Strategic planning - culture change  Decision to use Faculty meeting/ AI All 86 staff new and returning High level of participation Pursuit of an ideal Grounded in research  Mutual interviewing

17 July 03Jemstone Consultancy17 Benedictine University  Recorded  Shaped in core values  Learning Speed at which able to capture data from all faculty Focus on positive & possible produced upbeat tone Cynicism set aside, transcending problems, celebrating strengths  Process on going

18 July 03Jemstone Consultancy18 Quantitative research  Fortune 500, 94 fast food restaurants, one area  Problem retention salaried restaurant staff  3 groups AI, normal problem solving, nothing  One year collecting base line data - turnover  18 months intervention. One AI meeting a month each restaurant Three meeting each general manager One ‘roundtable’ washup

19 July 03Jemstone Consultancy19 Results  AI group 30% higher retention than ‘normal’ group  AI group 32% higher retention than ‘nothing’ group  Al group less inclined to leave  $103,320 savings in hard training dollars  Confounding factor - leadership

20 July 03Jemstone Consultancy20 Appreciative Process  Discovering the best of  Understanding what creates the best of  Amplifying the people and processes who best exemplify the best of  Giving attention to what is working well  Watching for what you want to see  Amplifying it when you see it

21 July 03Jemstone Consultancy21 Amplification Stories  Quality of stories told (new telling, new insight)  Recording of stories told - rich in detail, own voice  Sharing of stories told Thematic feedback documents Video Propositions - capturing the elements  Surveys  Feedback on surveys

22 July 03Jemstone Consultancy22 How does this connect with what I’m doing? In small groups Thinking Spending my time Hoping Planning Dreaming Feedback - existing points of connection

23 July 03Jemstone Consultancy23 Appreciative inquiry: language  Talk as a medium to achieve change  The placing of attention  The ‘sense’ created by talk  The ‘research question’ is the intervention and is fateful and impactful

24 July 03Jemstone Consultancy24 Organisation & post modern understanding of language  Language and talk is contextful  Language and talk are fateful  Socially constructed world  Language is action  The future is created in the present  Talk creates affordances and constraints

25 July 03Jemstone Consultancy25 Research into AI: What matters most?  The power of positive questions  The appreciative inquiry interview  Story telling  Future vision/ provocative propositions  Positive image  Collaboration/co-constructing/common ground  Anticipatory principle  Continuity  Replacing deficit discourse (Yaeger and Sorensen 2001)

26 July 03Jemstone Consultancy26 Role of consultant Explorers not mechanics Active agent not impartial bystander Wordsmith Collaborator Generous, curious, appreciative, systemic

27 July 03Jemstone Consultancy27 Implications for managers and leaders The main task of management is meaning making and creating possibilities to go on Organisations are networks of conversation in which accounts are created More than one account can exist, none is the truth, all may be true Conversation/communication contains moral order Affect action through communication

28 July 03Jemstone Consultancy28 How will I use this, if at all?

29 July 03Jemstone Consultancy29 Thank you Sarah Lewis Jemstone Consultancy


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