The race for impact and forward momentum often requires that decision makers invest in strategy and iteration. Several prominent models exist that help organizations from startups to Inc. 500’s navigate the waters of possibility. Appreciative Inquiry is one such model that has the potential to change both outcomes and organizational culture.
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a capacity-building process that begins by valuing the organization and the culture in which it is embedded; by learning about the organization, its relationships, and its environment; and by identifying and building on existing strengths rather than examining in detail problems and deficiencies. Appreciative Inquiry puts organizations back in touch with their “deepest living values.” And it can help an organization create its niche by identifying its collective hopes and dreams and then designing a process for realizing them.
Appreciative Inquiry utilizes a unique model aimed at helping individuals focus on the positive and build upon what’s working. The 4D model is based on several steps that move the needle of progress.
a cycle of activities that guide members of an organization, group, or community through four stages: discovery – finding out about moments of excellence, core values, and best practices; dream – envisioning positive possibilities; design – creating the structure, processes, and relationships that will support the dream; and delivery – developing a plan for implementation.
The 4D model is a useful tool for startups as they move through iteration and its build–measure–learn steps or for organizations seeking an alternative to traditional plan–do–check–act plateaus.
AI is typically thought of as a “soft” strategy used in creating organizational visions, aligning groups, and building cultures. – The Art of Appreciative Inquiry by Theodore Kinni
Appreciative Inquiry is an innovative approach that should rightly find its place in the toolbox of decision makers and champions of opportunity.