Appreciative Inquiry

appreciative inquiry

What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry is a process that focuses on strengths, successes, and potential. It’s an approach to organizational development that seeks to identify and build upon the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. AI helps to create a positive work environment by encouraging employees to recognize their strengths and accomplishments while also focusing on areas of improvement. AI is used by organizations to build trust among team members, increase collaboration, and foster creativity.

Cleveland Clinic used the approach to transform their culture and enhance patient experience. Through appreciative interviews and collective reflections, employees identified their best moments of patient care, emphasizing empathy and compassion. This approach fostered a more patient-centric culture, resulting in increased staff satisfaction, improved patient outcomes, and higher levels of trust.

David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva developed the five core principles of AI:

  • Constructionist Principle: Words create worlds. Reality, as we know it, is a subjective vs. objective state and is socially created through language and conversations.
  • Simultaneity Principle: The moment we ask a question, we begin to create a change. “The questions we ask are fateful.”
  • Poetic Principle: Teams and organizations, like open books, are endless sources of study and learning. What we choose to study makes a difference. It describes – even creates – the world as we know it.
  • Anticipatory Principle: Human systems move in the direction of their images of the future. The more positive and hopeful the image of the future, the more positive the present-day action.
  • Positive Principle: Momentum for small or large-scale change requires large amounts of positive affect and social bonding. This momentum is best generated through positive questions that amplify the positive core.

    Everything you ever wanted to know about Appreciative Inquiry


    Great portal on AI. Includes definition, history, theory, curated videos, powerpoints, references and more. From PositivePsychology.

    appreciative inquiry for nonprofits and causes

    Overview of Appreciative Inquiry by Jackie  Kelm. 10 min.