Appreciative Inquiry is based on the organization’s positive core strengths in order to find insights and untapped chances that have to ability to exponentially increase performance.
Appreciative Inquiry was found on the assumption that human systems – teams, organizations, and people – move in the direction of what they study, what they focus upon, and what they talk about with regularity. It asks why certain organizational experiences were positive in order to unravel how positive change can be stimulated. This will help drive innovation, sustaining connections, and learnings in the organization.
Preparation. Think of a question that covers the ultimate experience. Facilitators then agree on the number of principles they are going to look for (3 or 5). The group eventually needs a list 10-15 principles, depending on the goal, time indication, and number of participants.
The Method. 7 minutes interview: In groups of 2, the ultimate experience or insight is being analyzed. One person asks the other about their ultimate experience and tries to find underlying factors that made this experience special. This person has to thoroughly ask about the experience (see 5x Why exercise). The person who answers the question tries to describe the circumstances around the experience. After 7 minutes, you change roles.
Share experiences. After finalizing all notes from the interviews, max. 8 participants gather in a semicircle around the whiteboard. The facilitator asks who wants to share the experience of the person he/she interviewed, writes down the name of the participants and keywords of the story. The facilitator repeats the story and lets the participant change any inconsistencies.
Finding patterns. After sharing the experiences, the facilitator asks the group to look at the similarities of the different experiences. The similarities are transformed into principles and written down (3 or 5). Make sure overlapping principles are transformed into 1.
On the whiteboard, the header ‘Design principles for [organizational goal]’ is written down, together with the final design principles.
- Can be used in different stages of the workshop.
- Make sure the question asks about a truly personal experience. The experience can be about one moment or about a process.
- Make sure the experience is not summarized but try to find the underlying core.