Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was developed as a concept by Dr. David Cooperrider and Dr. Suresh Srivastva in the 1980s at Case Western Reserve University. Their work uses a whole system approach to positive change and focuses on what is working in a system as opposed to what needs to be fixed.

AI focuses on possibilities, not problems in a realistic collaborative style that creates sustainable solutions.

Appreciative Inquiry training has been used successfully in many global corporations, small companies, nonprofits, governments, cities, schools, churches, etc. It is an innovative, flexible approach designed to unleash the best of what a system has to offer.



The 4-D Process unleashes the power of your affirmative topic by moving through:

  • Discovery – Identify and appreciate what is working – strengths

  • Dream – Imagine what can be – what is possible

  • Design – Create a future system or process for what might be using the best of what is

  • Destiny – Implement the proposed plan or solution

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
— R. Buckminster Fuller


Appreciative Inquiry is more than a tool to create positive change; it is a mindset that allows individuals, organizations, communities, schools, and groups to look at possibilities and options instead of problems and restrictions. The power of appreciative inquiry is it’s whole-system approach, which allows everyone in the organization to have a voice regardless of where they work, if they are an introvert or an extravert or their level of experience. This voice allows for rapid change because there is not only buy-in at all levels, but the opportunities are discovered and built on. Appreciative Inquiry can be used for a summit, strategic planning, or a culture. This process focuses on using the best of what you have and creating something even better, regardless of the complexity of your landscape. It is a collaborative way to bring together diverse stakeholders and create high levels of commitment and a call to action. 

If you are looking for an energizing way to create an ‘all for one’ culture capable of rapid change and continuous improvement, consider using AI.



An AI Summit is designed to flow through the Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Process of Discovery, Dream, Design and Destiny. A planning team creates a whole-system approach by inviting a diverse group that is inclusive of all the organization’s stakeholders – employees at all levels, customers, vendors, and community members. The planning team will design a plan that includes each person’s or sectors voice and ideas.

The AI Summit Design draws people together for a unique purpose and task focus, honoring the organizations unique traditions, values, diversity, culture and mission. It is a great way to implement change, plan for the future, or explore what you can become.

The time frame of a summit depends on your organizations specific goals and desires. A summit is highly customizable and will be created uniquely around your organizations affirmative topic. 

The outcome of a summit is a group of highly engaged people working on projects they are jazzed by and want to become successful.



Appreciative Leadership Sets Positive Ripples in Motion Through their words, actions, and relationships. Appreciative leaders start waves of positive change rippling outward, often to destinations unknown.

You know how this goes: someone at work stops you and tells you that you did a great job, that he or she would have missed his or her delivery date without your contribution. It lifts your spirit. When you go home, you tell your son, thanks for recycling the trash, something you don’t often say to him because it’s his job and he’s just supposed to do it. He nods at your approval. The next day after lunch at school, he offers to put his friend’s empty soda can in the recycle bin. His friend also says thanks. Your son is on his way to a habit of environmental consciousness that will last a lifetime.

Positive ripples keep magnifying and multiplying through relationships in meaningful, and often surprising, ways and directions.

Whitney, Diana; Trosten-Bloom, Amanda; Rader, Kae. Appreciative Leadership: Focus on What Works to Drive Winning Performance and Build a Thriving Organization (Kindle Locations 467-473). McGraw-Hill Education. Kindle Edition.