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 strengthens 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

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.

If I have piqued your interest to learn more about Appreciative Inquiry Principles, you might like to read some real life stories in the following posts:

Positive Principle Leads to Greater Well-Being

What You Study Grows – Poetic Principle

The Very First Question – Principle of Simultaneity

Image Inspires Action – Anticipatory Principle

Meaning Making Together – Constructionist Principle

Appreciative Inquiry Overview

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  • Nicole Bossard, Phd

    This is a fabulous intro and overview to Appreciative Inquiry, but I tried somethimg new. I used Robyn’s summary as my positive reflection to situate and launch my workday. It was tge perfect fodder and fuel for the day. Thanks, Robyn!

    • Hi Nicole, this is great. I would love to hear more. This is a new application and I’m excited to learn more. How did this reflection serve you so that it was the perfect fodder and fuel for the day?

      • Nicole Bossard, Phd

        The general framework is: First, I decided to start my day with positivity. With that, I’m actively looking for material that can teach me something, set a frame or reframe my day, add to my toolkit, reinforce something I believe, value, or know, etc. You get the point. Second, I know where to go t find materials that fit my criteria. Your tweets are a major source of positivity for me in multiple ways. Third, I have set aside time in my morning and read this appreciating material. Fourth, I take something from what I read and apply to something in my day. Your reflection on the AI principles was like going into a reinvigoration pool. Just touching base again with the principles was a massive reboot! Loved the recharge! Looking forward to more.

        • Nicole, your practice gives me tingles. I am so happy to hear how you are integrating this material into your life and it’s reinvigorating you. You have done the same for me by sharing your experience. That’s how it works. We support each other and we spread the joyful impact. A network of positive change agents is my dream. You’re in!