Michael Herman
Opening Space for Business Agility


Appreciative Inquiry: Practice Notes, Reflections, Resources


the taos institute

the AI commons

teaching/using open space and appreciative inquiry in nepal

Overview [1]


to enable full-voice appreciative participation that taps the org's positive change core and inspires collaborative action that serves the whole system, works with 20-2000 people, internal/external stakeholders (co-creators), begins with first question asked.

impact on culture

fundamental shift occurs toward cooperation, equality of voice, high participation, a positive revolution, inquiry and improvisational learning as daily practices, appreciative leadership, and focus on what gives life to organization, socially, financially, ecologically.

when to use

when not to use

sample appreciative questions

4-D appreciative inquiry/summit cycle

cf. Ed Oakley's "Enlightened Leadership" model

Beginning to practice - question/roles

the case against problem solving

problem-solving limits movement, possiblity, power, energy, etc. by:

problem-solving is:

appreciative inquiry is:

AI is possibility of shifting from deficit language, deficit consciousness from orgs as problems to orgs as mystery, question, journey, adventure, calling, invitation

Conditions that make AI work

why it works (theory) - how it deals with REAL problems

if we can create these conditions, solutions will emerge easily and everywhere, and be no big news, because we already have hope, excitement, joy, caring...

[1] Source: Diana Whitney and David Cooperrider, in the Change Handbook, edited by Peggy Holman and Tom Devane. The notes above are my own reading and translation of Whitney and Cooperrider. Not all of what appears above comes directly from the handbook and/or Whitney and Cooperrider.

Notes from Tom Mastandrea

Books I have used (but not read page by page):

  1. The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry
  2. Lessons from the Field, Applying Appreciative Inquiry

Books I own but have not read:

  1. Appreciative Inquiry: Rethinking Human Organization Cooperrider et.al.
  2. Appreciative Leaders Marjorie Schiller et. al. (This was the co-facilitator)

Cooperrider's Five Principles:

  1. Constructionist Principle. The way we know is fateful
  2. Simultaneity. Change begins the moment you ask the question
  3. Anticipatory. Deep change = change in active image of the future
  4. Poetic. Organizations are an open book
  5. Positive. Positive questions yield faster and longer lasting change. This is the most important principle.

Other Stuff

1. Recommended books for the Cape Cod Institute''

2. The name of the article on Roadway Trucking is Leaders for the Long Haul by Keith Hammonds

3. Cooperrider's e-mail is: dic6@po.cwru.edu

4. www.pegasuscom.com/ai/ This was the site for the first AI conference in Baltimore at the end of September, 2001. Not sure if it has lasting value.

5.United Religions is using Appreciative Inquiry in very interesting ways to link local and world leadership efforts to find common ground among religions. www.united-religions.org. Tel: 415-561-2300.

6. Loren R. Dyck created an impressive, 21 page reference list, including books, articles, yearbooks, some websites. It is too long to recreate or fax, but you can reach him at: lxd21@po.cwru.edu

7. Cooperrider and Schiller handed out an Appreciative Inquiry workbook to conference attendees. I don't know if it is otherwise available. It is a good piece of work. Contains articles, and slides from the conference.