Appreciative Inquiry is
an affirmative approach to organizational analysis. It is based on both
the search for knowledge and a theory of intentional collective action.
Like Future Search it also moves through 4 distinct stages of work to enable
stakeholders to envision a preferred future based on the collective experience
of best practice and success.
- Stage 1 is the discovery stage where appreciative
interviews are conducted both inside the system and with a random selection
of stakeholders outside.
- Stage 2 involves identifying through stories the
best of “what is” in the system to support the development of what can
- Stage 3 is the development of provocative propositions,
inspiring statements like mini-visions which guide the work of the system
in moving toward its ideals.
- Stage 4 is the delivery stage in we identify the
action steps that will respond to the data and drive toward the preferred
This large group methodology includes a data gathering process prior to the
event, as well as extensive interviewing within the conference itself in
search of the organization or systems best practices. This process accommodates
100-150 stakeholders in creating provocative propositions, or “mini-visions”
for each of the systemic themes. The consensus building process around these
themes prepares participants to begin the work of determining the action
steps that will make the dream reality.