Changing the way in which we change, with a look at David Cooperrider

David Cooperrider

“The images of the future guide the behavior of any system”, says David Cooperrider, one of the creators of  Appreciative Inquiry. What is AI and who is David Cooperrider?

He defines it himself:

Appreciative Inquiry «looks for the best », David Cooperrider.

As David Cooperrider explains, Appreciative Inquiry is about the search for the best in people. It implies the art of asking questions which “strengthen our own capacity –and that of all the rest-to understand, anticipate and increase the positive potential”.

That is to say that, Appreciative Inquiry focuses on the search for the “best” amongst people, their organisation and their environment based on their successes, and how to enhance them rather than the “problems” and how to resolve them.

Involving everybody in an organization to renovate it

One of the most interesting aspects of Appreciative Inquiry is that it involves all the people in the organisation with the purpose of renovating it, changing it and focusing on the change. The nucleus of everything is when we discover the strengths and when we combine and enlarge those strengths. “That is inspiration”, says David Cooperrider.

According to Cooperrider, organizations change as a function of the questions asked of them; ”those organizations that inquire into their problems and difficulties will obtain more of the same, but those that try to discover what is the best they can find in themselves will discover how to be successful.”

A very good definition of Appreciative Inquiry is given by Frank J. Barret y Ronald E. Fry: AI is a “way of transforming human systems in the shared image of their most positive potential, based on strengths inherent to those systems and in the construction of capacities”.

“If we put the focus in detecting problems, these grow, multiply and become more solid. It is the paradigm of deficit, scarcity and what we do not want. But when study the best moments, what we call the “Summit experiences”, these also multiply… it is as if in some way they flourish”, points out Fernando Iglesias, CEO of Madavi.




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