Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry - using what works in an organisation to accelerate change. We are experts in Appreciative Inquiry and how to implement it, which means we can help develop areas of your organisation which aren't performing as well as others.

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative inquiry is a cutting edge approach to change that creates energy and pace, improves morale and transforms working relationships. It's a remedy to the resistance created by traditional problem/solution approaches to change.

Building on successes and best practice in your organisation, we can help you create a vivid and stretching goal and use it to mobilise large groups to energetic and imaginative action.

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Our Approaches

Click on the headings below to see more on some of the approaches that we use.

16PF and MBTI

Action Learning

Appreciative Inquiry

Balanced Scorecard

Emotional Intelligence

Open Space

Participative design

Search conferences

Supporting leaders to overcome their obstacles and develop themselves - through coaching and mentoring

Increasing the effectiveness of management teams through leadership team development

Identifying and improving leadership across the organisation through talent management and leadership development

Mobilising large groups for change through creating inspiring conferences and motivational speaking

Increasing the effectiveness of the Human Resources function through HR strategy and skills development


Appreciative Inquiry

"Change without resistance"  

What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative inquiry is a new approach to change which is based on leading edge thinking in the sciences of psychology and anthropology. Simply put, it is based on better understanding the best of the present and the past in order to develop and improve by doing more of what works.

It first emerged in the late 1980’s and early 90’s and since then has gone on to create amazing results in contexts as diverse as strategic change in major companies, executive coaching, community development (Imagine Chicago has so far involved over a million people) and international development.

Why is Appreciative Inquiry needed?

The conventional wisdom about change in people and organisations is that we treat them as problems to be solved. Almost every change methodology is based on the premise that the person or organisation is somehow broken or deficient and needs to be in some way fixed.

Identifying and fixing problems has, therefore, become the overwhelming way to achieve change.

Whilst this is a perfectly valid perspective in some contexts (If your car is broken it’s really helpful to be able to identify the broken part and replace it) when people are involved a problem orientation creates a number of unhelpful effects.

  • People get defensive when it is implied that they are deficient and this increases their resistance to change.
  • Change requires energy and focussing on problems is proven by research to reduce energy and motivation.
  • When problems are highlighted the human reaction is to place responsibility for them with others. This has a destructive effect on the trust and relationships required to achieve change.

What are the benefits of Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry accelerates change of all kinds. As well as increasing the rate of improvement and the speed of attainment of goals and results it has a number of powerful side effects.

  • It creates motivation and energy amongst the people who are changing. (Imagine change without the constant fighting against defensiveness and resistance!).
  • It improves communication, trust, understanding and relationships – even where these have historically been difficult or fractured.
  • It is empowering and gives people the confidence to take risks
  • It makes working a more enjoyable experience and so promotes loyalty and productivity.

Where can Appreciative Inquiry be used?

Appreciative Inquiry has been used in a wide variety of contexts to accelerate change. In organisations some of the many applications include:

  • Engaging the organisation in strategic assessment and planning
  • Initiating, revitalising and accelerating change initiatives
  • Designing inspiring and productive conferences and workshops
  • Transforming training courses into powerful learning experiences.
  • Creating high performance teams
  • Coaching for development, goal achievement or motivation

We also run engaging and inspiring workshops to teach managers and change agents about Appreciative Inquiry and how to use it – both for major projects and also in everyday work.

How does Appreciative Inquiry work?

The detail of the design clearly depends a lot on the application and the context bud broadly speaking a typical Appreciative Inquiry design (called the 4D cycle of Appreciative Inquiry) would have four stages.

  • Discover – Really inquire into the best of the past and the present.
  • Dream – Use the findings and stories from the Discover phase to create a compelling, memorable and ambitious picture of the desired future.
  • Design – Agree the rules that will govern action from now on to reach the goal.
  • Deliver – Commit to what has to happen next and who will do it.

Does this mean not talking about problems and issues?

No. Addressing the key issues is central to every design. The only relevant question is “What approach is going to give us the change we want?”. The simple fact is that Appreciative Inquiry is more successful at generating change, easier and faster.

Let's Talk

The easiest way to understand how we can help, and whether you feel that you could work with us, is to begin with a conversation.

We don't believe in a "hard sell" and often find that people get value out of the exploratory discussion - whether or not we go on to work together.

Please Contact Us – we would love to hear from you.


Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry - using what works in an organisation to accelerate change. We are experts in Appreciative Inquiry and how to implement it, which means we can help develop areas of your organisation which aren't performing as well as others.