What are Appreciative Inquiry Principles?

CRW_6616-300x200Our world is calling for conversations that focus on what lifts us up and what we value about each other.  There are sad things that happen and joyous things that happen in our personal and professional lives, and in the world at large.  From time to time, if we chose to focus on the joyous experiences, we  begin to build a resiliency that compounds, and strengths us.  It’s worth it for our long term health and for growing the best of humanity.  When we honor the dignity of others, we open ourselves to what goodness and kindness there already exits in the world.   By engaging with each other through the lens of Appreciative Inquiry we strengthen our  capacity for resiliency and reconnect with the indomitable human spirit that exists within us all.

Appreciative Inquiry Principles

There are five core Principles that underpin the practice of Appreciative Inquiry.   They have seemingly grandiose names, but are, in fact, simple ways to guide us as we go about our daily lives.

Social Constructionist  ~ Words create worlds

Simultaneity  ~ The very first question starts a change

Anticipatory  ~ Image inspires action

Poetic ~ What we focus on grows

Positive ~  Positive affect leads to positive action

To learn about them at a foundational level and find out how they are applied in daily life in personal and professional contexts, the smartphone app Appreciative Inquiry – an Introduction is a good starting place [direct link to download on iTunes; direct link to download on GooglePlay.]

Personal Storytelling

The Principles are presented as personal stories, illustrating how they inform our thoughts and behaviors.  It’s through our stories that we truly listen each other. “We don’t fear peoples whose stories we know.” (Meg Wheately).  The smartphone app also provides a very basic overview of Appreciative Inquiry as a change method.

How the Principles  can improve conversations and relationships

Here are some hints about Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and how it helps us to make sense of our world.  AI is a life-centric change methodology, equally applicable for individuals and organizations, used in coaching situations and in large scale community and organizational summits.

Appreciative Inquiry provides insights about

  • how we tell stories and construct narratives
  • how we interpret things
  • how we make meaning of our own stories and the stories of other people
  • how we make sense of our lives,  and by extension
  • how we make sense of our world
  • how we can organize for positive change
  • how we reconnect with our own power

In relationships, we become aware of

  • how we relate to ourselves
  • how we relate to others
  • how we relate to the world itself

AI helps us become more conscious of

  • how we use language
  • how we focus our attention
  • how we create the results we get
  • how we label things
  • how we deal with change
  • how we envision our future
  • how we choose to live our lives
  • our strengths and talents

In summary

  • Appreciative Inquiry is the discovery for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them.
  • It is an art and practice of asking the unconditional positive questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate and heighten positive potential.
  • Instead of negation, criticism and spiraling diagnosis, there is discovery, dream, design and destiny.
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