"AI is more than a process; in order to truly have impact, it must become a part of your life.  You all have exemplified that in everything you do."

Kim Rogers McLean
Assistant Commissioner for Human Resources
NJ Department of Human Services

Appreciative Inquiry Q&A

Q:  What is it that makes appreciative questions different?

A:  Appreciative questions are carefully structured to invite reflection on what has worked in the past, even when most of what people are focused on is what's wrong and what's not working well. 

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how to turn problem-focused questions into appreciative questions.


Q:  Isn't it risky to ask deliberately positive questions?  It sounds unbalanced.

A:  When you ask a question about what's wrong, you get about 100% negative responses.  When you ask a 'balanced' question about what's right and what's wrong, you still get about 75% negative responses.  When you ask what's right and what's working well, you actually tend to get balanced responses.


Q:  What kinds of situations are suited to AI?

A:  Most situations that begin with an awareness of a problem or unmet need can benefit from the use of a strengths based approach.  Appreciative Inquiry has had powerful impact in strategic planning, product development, process improvement and team building. 


Q:  How does AI help an organization?

A:  Simply choosing to focus on what's working when things are at their best is often a relief from our habitual and overwhelming focus on problems.  We do have a choice about what we attend to!  The AI cycle consistently yields aspirational and aligned action that can be transformational.  The cycle starts with discovering the best of what already exists; imagining a future in which the extraordinary is everyday and ordinary; designing bold statements describing that possible future in ways that galvanize the organization; and allowing for many planned and emergent lines of action, all aligned around shared intentions.


Q:  Where can I learn more about AI?

A:  Here is a list of our favorite resources, books and websites that we frequently recommend. Please contact us for additional information.