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Appreciative Inquiry Summit

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For More Information:
 Appreciative Inquiry Commons,

To accelerate positive change in organizations and communities by involving a broad range of internal and external stakeholders in the change process in real time.

  • Energizes the organization by putting the focus on strengths and potentials (rather than deficits and deficiencies) 
  • Generates innovation by connecting people in new configurations around promising ideas 
  • Builds leadership at all levels by involving everyone in envisioning, designing, and implementing change 

When to Use:
When you want to engage people, capitalize on their best thinking, and mobilize the entire organization quickly around a strategic change agenda 

When Not to Use:
When leaders are not committed to full engagement, positive dialogue, and innovation throughout the organization 

Number of Participants: 
30–3,000 people, more using online technology 

Types of Participants:
Ideally, every member of the system (e.g.,internal or external stakeholders, multifunction, entire value chain) 

Typical Duration: 
  • Planning: 2–6 months 
  • Conducting: 3–5 days 
  • Follow-up: 2 months–1 year; strategies and organization designs are altered for years to come 

Brief Example: 
Since 2000, Roadway Express has held close to 40 summits across the organization to engage the workforce, improve margins, create service innovations, launch new strategies, and consolidate its merger with Yellow Corporation. The process has energized the workforce, produced millions of dollars of cost savings, and generated millions more in new revenues. 

Historical Context: 
Created in the early 1990s by Frank Barrett, John Carter, David Cooperrider, Ron Fry, Jim Ludema, Suresh Srivastva, Jane Watkins, Diana Whitney, and others at Case Western Reserve University; early roots in the work of Lewin, Homans, Bion, Von Bertalanffy, Emery and Trist, Berger and Luckmann, and Paulo Freire. More recent influences include Ken and Mary Gergen, Cooperrider and Srivastva, Weisbord, Owen, Dannemiller, and works from positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship.