“We can’t ignore problems—we just need to approach them from the other side.” — David Cooperider and Diana Whitney
If you want to bring out the best in your team or your organization, Appreciative Inquiry might help you remember when you were at your best.
Appreciative Inquiry is a method for promoting self-directed change in groups, emphasizing positive questions, rather than negative, and enabling people to codesign their future.
One effective way to kickstart and energize Appreciative Inquiry is by organizing an Appreciative Inquiry Summit.
An Appreciative Inquiry Summit is a collaborative and action-oriented event that brings people together to co-create and accelerate positive change within an organization or community.
What is an Appreciative Inquiry Summit?
An Appreciative Inquiry Summit is an event where participants are invited to contribute their unique perspectives, insights, and experiences to identify the organization’s positive core and co-create a vision for the future.
It’s a whole-system approach for positive change.
David Cooperrider explains The Appreciative Inquiry Summit like this:
“a large group planning, designing, or implementation meeting that brings a whole system of internal and external stakeholder together in a concentrated way to work on a task of strategic, and especially creative, value.”
In a Whole-System Inquiry, all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and vendors, are invited to participate in co-creating the Dream.
By involving all parts of the system, this approach aims to generate a comprehensive and inclusive vision for the future. Through collaboration and shared perspectives, a Whole-System Inquiry allows for a more holistic understanding of the organization and its possibilities.
The Backbone of an Appreciative Inquiry Summit: The 4D Cycle of Appreciative Inquiry
An Appreciative Inquiry Summit place usually over a few days and during the event participants work through the 4D cycle of Appreciative Inquiry.
The 4Ds stand for the 4 phases of the Appreciative Inquiry: Discovery, Dream, Design, Destiny.
During an Appreciative Inquiry Summit, here is the goal of each phase:
- Discovery: Mobilize a system wide inquiry into the positive core.
- Dream: Visualize the organization’s greatest potential—create positive influence in the world.
- Design: Craft a set of propositions to build on the positive core—strategies, processes, systems, decisions, and collaborations.
- Destiny: Invite people to act inspired by Discoveries, Dream, and Design phases.
Example Appreciative Inquiry Summit 2-Day Outline
Here is an example of what an Appreciative Inquiry Summit might look like:
|Day 1—Morning||Discovery||Mobilize a system wide inquiry into the positive core.||
|Day 1—Afternoon||Dream||Visualize the organization’s greatest potential—create positive influence in the world.||
|Day 2—Morning||Design||Craft a set of propositions to build on the positive core—strategies, processes, systems, decisions, and collaborations.||Draft provocative propositions (design statements) incorporating the positive core|
|Day 2 – Afternoon||Destiny||Invite people to act inspired by Discoveries, Dream, and Design phases.||
Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry
If you haven’t heard of Appreciative Inquiry before, you might find this video useful. It’s by Lindsey Godwin, Ph.D., the Academic Director for the Cooperrider Center, and she does a great job walking through Appreciative Inquiry: