Appreciative Inquiry Info/Articles

What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was conceived at Case Western Reserve University in the early 1980’s by doctoral student David Cooperrider and his thesis advisor, Suresh Srivastva. Fundamentally, “AI is about the co-evolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them.”(1) It suggests that we do not just experience reality, we actually create it in our conversations and interactions with others. Appreciative Inquiry is a generative, strength-based approach to making change in organizations. It includes co-creating inspiring images of what we want, and thenĀ building on positive aspects to make them happen. It means becoming more aware of our internal and external dialogues and intentionally shifting them to focus on what we want more of. It unleashes the positive potential within people and organizations through attention to the positive core. It suggests we build on our strengths, successes, and best practices to achieve our greatest hopes and dreams. AI is all this and more. For additional information see below.

Our Apologies! The AI Commons Website is being relocated. So almost all the links below will not work. We will update these links as soon as it is up again!

Click here for links to Appreciative Inquiry related websites

Here are some helpful articles in learning about Appreciative Inquiry (AI):

AI PowerPoint Presentation by David Cooperrider (link to 59 slides from AI Commons) that he created to be used as an Appreciative Inquiry training module. It includes a slide of the 4-D cycle, which is commonly used in organizations as a process for implementing Appreciative Inquiry.

History of AI by Jane Magruder Watkins and Bernard Mohr. (approx 3 page link to the AI Commons). This excerpt from their book Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the Speed of Imagination, provides a detailed time line of historical AI events.”

“Positive Image, Positive Action” Book chapter by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva. (24 page link to the AI Commons). This is my favorite of Cooperrider’s early written work that describes the underlying theory and constructs of Appreciative Inquiry. It is fairly academic, but provides a great overview of the basic premises.”

“The Child as Agent of Inquiry” Article by David Cooperrider. (4 page Adobe PDF download from AI Commons). A nice short article that goes into the concept of “wonder,” which is at the heart of AI.

“Generative Metaphor Intervention” Article by David Cooperrider and Frank Barrett. (approx 15 page link to the AI Commons). Describes one of the first uses of Appreciative Inquiry with a major hotel, and the use of metaphor as an Organizational Development intervention.

The APA Process by Mac Odell. The first page in this Adobe PDF download describes the use of the Appreciative Planning and Action (APA) process in the WORTH project in Nepal, and the second page explains the actual APA model.
For more info, visit Mac’s website at

(1) Cooperrider D., and Whitney, D. (1999). A Positive Revolution inChange: Appreciative Inquiry. Taos, NM: Corporation for Positive Change. This article can also be found by searching the AI commons website at

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Jackie Kelm
The Joy Engineer
Appreciative Living, LLC
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