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Appreciative inquiry

An approach for creating a vision and planning through understanding and appreciating the past, as a basis for imagining the future. This process builds a vision for the future using questions to focus people’s attention on success.

Working through stages:

  1. Discovery – identification of organisational processes that work well;
  2. Dream – envisioning of processes that will work well in the future;
  3. Design – planning and prioritising processes, and;
  4. Destiny – Implementation.

The focus is on, ‘what works?’ The above stages are shaped by a core group, made up of decision makers and local people who should develop and test the questions before interactions with wider community.

This approach is used when you want to create energy by identifying and building on what works and involving lots of people through outreach by the core group.

PositivesNegativesWill deliverWill not deliverCase studies
  • Community involvement;
  • Easy to include the people who normally don’t take part;
  • It builds on what has worked in the past;
  • Creates a vision.
  • Appreciative inquiry is a philosophy first and a method second, so it is fairly loose;
  • Some people view the lack of direct attention to problems as a weakness;
  • Pays little attention to who should be involved;
  • Requires a facilitator.
  • Shared vision.
  • Action, unless an action planning element is added on.

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