At its core, Appreciative Inquiry holds the philosophy that every human system has moments of outstanding success and performance. By engaging members of that system in a thorough discovery of those moments of exceptionality, and creating ways to replicate those events, the system can achieve higher levels of performance and do so faster than through traditional diagnostic methods. The process comprises four steps, or the four “Ds”: Discovery, Dream, Design and Destiny.
In Discovery, the members of the system will inquire into the moments of exceptionality and collate the stories and themes that emerge. In Dream, those discoveries are generalized into an image of what the organization could look like if those exceptionalities were the constant state. In Design, members of the system will develop the organization’s architecture to actualize that “dream,” and Destiny involves taking the first steps and planning to realize the new system into being.
This upcoming series of articles will explore each of the 4-Ds through case studies, stories and interviews with Appreciative Inquiry clients and practitioners, in order to help today’s organizations and individuals focus on their best with the aim to achieve even higher.
Adapted from the work of Cooperrider, D. & Whitney, D. (1999) Appreciative Inquiry.