What is Appreciative Inquiry?
How can people inquire into their organizations or communities to discover, dream, design, and transform toward the best? What method would enable us to turn tension into enthusiasm, cynicism into collaboration, and apathy into inspired action? How can we analyze success instead of problems, and what difference does it make? These are some fundamental questions underpinning the innovative approach, Appreciative Inquiry (AI).
In the words of Prof David Cooperrider, Appreciative Inquiry is about the co-evolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives life to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI strengthens a system's capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It seeks, fundamentally, to build a constructive union between a whole people. It assumes that every living system has many untapped and rich and inspiring accounts of the positive. Link the energy of this core directly to any change agenda, and changes never thought possible are suddenly and democratically mobilized.
Appreciative Inquiry has been used as a powerful transformative process in several countries worldwide. Examples include: transformational endeavors like Imagine Argentina , Imagine Uruguay , Imagine Chicago; global organizing forums such as United Religions Initiative and Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB); igniting leadership at Environmental Protection Agency, US Navy; and organizational development and positive changes at multinational companies like Nutrimental, Hunter Douglas, GTE, British Airways, NOKIA, etc.
In Nepal, many organizations including GOs, NGOs, projects, community-based organizations, and other groups have used Appreciative Inquiry successfully in their programs and in organization or community development. Some of them are: Capital College and Research Center (CCRC), CARE Nepal, Center for Victim of Torture Nepal, Habitat for Humanity-Nepal, Karuna Management, Kathmandu 2020, Mountain Spirit, National Appreciative Inquiry Network Nepal, Nepal Safe Motherhood Project, Nepal-UK Community Forestry Project, PACT Nepal, PLAN International, Pragya Management, SAGUN, the Department of Agriculture, The Mountain Institute, The UNICEF-Women's Right for Life and Health Project etc.