Wednesday Aug 30, 2023

Pioneering the Appreciative Inquiry Revolution with David Cooperrider

Who’s Inspiring Impacts today? It’s the one and only, Dr. David Cooperrider, the first person to coin the term “Appreciative Inquiry”! David Cooperrider, PhD, is a professor and Founder of the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. As we wrap up Season 1 of Inspiring Impacts, David joins host Dr. Lindsey Godwin to share his definition and perspectives on three decades of global f Appreciative Inquiry work.

David shares stories of how  Appreciative Inquiry first developed, how he’s applied it in his own life, and how he’s seen others use AI to create positive change in their lives and the world for over 30 years. Highlighting many of the themes we’ve discussed throughout this season, he answers questions you’ve likely been wondering. He also details the powerful role of language in bringing people together in a creative mode, practicing Appreciative Inquiry, and realizing transformation.

David Cooperrider, PhD, is the Fairmount Minerals Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Currently David serves as Faculty Director of the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. David is best known as the co-creator and creative thought leader of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). His founding work with AI is creating a positive revolution in the leadership of change; it is helping institutions all over the world discover the power of the strength-based approaches to multi-stakeholder innovation and collaborative design. Cooperrider’s work is especially unique because of its ability to enable positive change, innovation, and sustainable design in systems of large and complex scale.

Episode Highlights:

  • The origin story of the term “Appreciative Inquiry”.
  • Why the “whole system” approach is so important in the Appreciative Inquiry model.
  • “Words create worlds.” – What is the meaning behind that phrase?
  • Reframing as a core principle of Appreciative Inquiry & how David brought reframing to life in his own health journey.
  • Why storytelling is a powerful tool and a core part of any appreciative process.
  • Appreciative questions you can take with you into work, relationships, personal health, and more.

Join us next season for more conversations, stories, and guests who are Inspiring Impacts all over the world!

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Resources & Previous Episodes Mentioned:

More about David's work and writing: 

David's commentary on the original AI article he and Suresh Srivastva published

UN Global Compact Appreciative Inquiry Summit: 

Making Change Easy: The Tiniest Ai Summit in the World.  This article details David's personal health journey using AI reframing as an approach

AI and the United Religions Initiative (URI)

Ame Lambert: add link when live

Jackie Wong: add link when live

Liz Vogel:

Luc Verheijen:

Tojo Thatchenkery: add link when live

Ellen Drolette:

Yabome Gilpin-Jackson:

Ronald Fry:

Inspiring Quotes:

“Appreciative Inquiry is all about the search for the true, the good, the better, the possible.”

“We grow and we become what we most deeply, frequently, and most powerfully ask questions about.”

“There’s a big difference between eliminating something and enabling something and you can’t enable what you can’t talk about it.”

“We’ve underestimated the role of the positive in human systems… What good is hope, inspiration, and joy as it relates to growing into a changed person, growing into a transformed organization?”

“People don’t resist change, they resist being changed by others. We are hardwired to love change when it’s done in a way that brings forward hope… joy… learning.”

What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry, sometimes referred to as “the other AI”, is one of the best kept secrets behind meaningful and lasting change at organizations. The AI approach is strength-based, meaning it focuses on identifying and leveraging successes to solve problems, rather than focusing on trying to fix individual failures.

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