"Appreciative Inquiry"

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May 2001

On May 17, 35 Penn State faculty and staff gathered at a Quality Advocates’ Network meeting to learn more about an organizational change tool called Appreciative Inquiry (AI). The session was facilitated by Georgia Abbey, who is an organizational development consultant and the

Executive Director of Leadership Centre County. Georgia gave us a brief overview of AI, and then we divided into small groups to practice a portion of the AI interview protocol.

The notes from the session are below.

For more information about Appreciative Inquiry, please see the website or contact the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment at 863-8721 to borrow our library resources on the topic.

Asset based approaches:

  • Future search

  • Search conferences

  • Open space

  • Systems thinking

  • Quality approaches

  • Appreciative Inquiry

Asset based approaches look at how we:

  • Can optimize the existing systems

  • View the organization as an organic system with inherent wisdom to heal, renew, generate

  • View the organization as one that thrives on positive nurturance (heliotropic)

  • Look for factors that give life to the organization when it is most alive, successful and effective

What themes emerged from the small group interviews about times we were so engaged in learning that it seemed effortless?

  • Collaboration

  • World Class Teaching

  • Energy/Dynamic Environment

  • Feel good

  • Content clear

  • Large picture seeing connections

  • Having access to information

  • Clarifying values

  • Confirming personal and professional direction

  • Stress on civility

  • Creativity and passion

  • Trust

  • Synchronicity and serendipity and kismet (connected to larger whole contributing to the larger whole)

  • Intrinsic personal growth awakening

  • Momentum beyond the learning

  • Unbridled creativity

  • Project driven, not ego driven

  • Lack of distraction from “regular” life

  • Use new resources in new environment

  • What I’m doing will have an impact energizing

  • Drawing on new resources within self (discovering)

  • Sense of accomplishment

  • New people, new environment, clean slate

  • Common interests/goals

  • Delimited time frame

  • Future together

  • Group inter-dependence

  • Cooperation essential to success

  • “Real life” learning connected to application

  • Passion

  • Different settings/group and individual

  • No time pressure

  • Non-evaluative, non-judgmental

  • Out of comfort zone a stretch

  • Self-satisfaction and contribution

  • Immersion experiences

  • Egalitarian

  • Challenge

  • Collegial

  • Trust

  • No external expectations

  • “Guided,” not directed (empowering own judgment)

  • Liberated

  • Excitement of going beyond

  • Role models identified

  • A starting point organic

  • Social aspect of experience

  • Energizing (even though Hard Work)

  • New roles, new possibilities

  • Passionate

  • Modeling

What three wishes do you have for our learning community?

  • Bring energy back to learning process

  • Break the chains

  • Open communication and support

  • Fund the dream

  • Parking

  • Money - $$

  • Open Communication

What are your ideas for future Quality Advocates’ Network meetings?

  • A. I. do it again with specific/different topic or theme

  • How to evaluate strategic planning

  • Diversity strategic planning as a quality initiative

  • Ways to promote organizational readiness

  • Importance of Emotional Intelligence at all levels in the Organization especially preparing students

  • Need follow up to AI same with other topics and workshops How is the procedure being used? Are the workshops one-time

  • A.I. 2: What has worked and not worked; different ways of application

  • Dee Hock (former CEO VISA, International)

  • The Birth of the Chaordic Age

  • A. I.: Next Steps

  • I would love to participate in a discussion on strategic planning, metrics, tools, etc. with other UP academic colleges. Most of your sessions seem to be populated with people
    from administrative units and branch campuses. I’d like to learn from the experiences of the other academic colleges here.

The Quality Advocates Network meets several times each semester to share ideas and examples of improvement and change. To join the Quality Advocates Network mailing list or to learn more about the meetings scheduled, contact the staff at psupia@psu.edu.

The Quality Advocates Network is open to all Penn State faculty, staff, administrators, and students.