Appreciative Inquiry: Bulding Capacity

In our families, at work, in our communities, in the state and/or nation and globally there are issues.  Will have enough food, water, energy, educational opportunities?  Will our family, work place, and the people of our community, state, nation and world be able to be part of positive change?  Can the future be an improvement on the past?

All of these questions and more can make it so we focus on the negative rather the possibilities of the future.

Often we worry about the things that might happen; we focus on problems, barriers (real and/or imagined) that we identify and we feel burdened by the perceived power of the status quo.  Thus, we might find ourselves stagnant and unwilling to tackle moving toward a brighter future.  Sometimes people might even doubt that things can get better.

The information indented and found below is from page 36 of Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Building Cooperative Capacity by Frank J. Barrett and Ronald E. Frye, 2005, Taos Institute Publication

It is fruitful to focus attention of the world we want rather than focusing on eliminating what we don’t want.

This requires us to ask questions that seek to locate what is preferred.

Appreciative inquiry involves, at its root, the art and practiced of crafting questions that support the system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heightened positive potential.

Appreciative inquiry is a quest to discover the positive core of the system – the past, present, and future capacities to cooperate for the common good.

The questions asked about human system will lay the groundwork for the direction of the system’s growth.

The pragmatic core of appreciative inquiry poses that it is the questions that count the most.

Appreciative Inquiry offers a method that seeks to cultivate innovation and change while becoming to unlock from conventional assumptions regarding diagnosis and problem solving.

Appreciative Inquiry selectively seeks to locate, highlight, and illuminate the life-giving properties of any given organization or human system.

These kinds of efforts to discover and theorize about the life-giving properties of organizations –what is happening when their operating at their best – is more likely than problem solving two lead to innovation and capacity building.

There is good reason or any of us who want to be part of a more positive future – to actually get involved in and participate in the co-creating of that future. And I do mean co-creating because it will take many minds and hearts and eyes to move forward.  And as a grandfather of a six and four year old and another grand baby on the way, and it’s worth my effort to try to help make the world a better place for the current and future generations.











If you are interested in reading more about Appreciative Inquiry you may want to check out the links below to some of my previous blog posts related to Appreciative Inquiry.



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  1. Peg Hartwig said:

    Thanks Jerry! One of the reasons I am so active in the DEN is because of all the positive energy in building productive 21st C education despite all the financial, time and technical support challenges!

    • Jerry Jennings said:

      I agree that the DEN is a positive, proactive, empowering resource for today’s educators! Forward!

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