Based on Strength [appreciative inquiry #014]



Undoubtedly, the primary Appreciative Inquiry source is David Cooperrider. Although I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him, David is so active in facilitating AI, publishing and speaking about it, that you can’t miss him when you start exploring AI.

In 1986, Cooperrider completed his doctoral dissertation “Appreciative Inquiry: Toward a Methodology for Understanding and Enhancing Organizational Innovation” at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1980, at the age of 24, David studied Organization Behavior, and started researching the question ‘what’s wrong with the human side of the organization?’. His object of research was the Heart Clinic of Cleveland. What started as a conventional ‘consulting’ study, developed into curiosity for the positive cooperation, innovation and egalitarian governance he experienced in the clinic. David’s research adviser Suresh Srivastva, suggested him to keep focused on the ‘excitement parts’ of the research. This experience set the stage for David’s dissertation, from 1982 highly inspired by Ken Gergen’s writing Toward Transformation of Social Knowledge.

If you like to learn more about the impressive arising of the Appreciative Inquiry approach, there’s a nice ‘AI History and Timeline on the internet. In his ‘slip stream’ Cooperrider generated many many early adopters, who all can be considered founding fathers that brought AI further. It was – and still is – all about co-creation!

To bring it back to ordinary proportions: instead of asking ‘what are the problems in this organization?’, David Cooperrider suggests to ask questions like ‘would you tell me about your best practices?’ and ‘what is it that makes this organization stay successful?’.


How about you?
Where and when are you going to apply the question “What is going well over here?”

You’ve just read one of the 100 chapters of my book Appreciative Inquiries of the 3.0 Kind. Find out more (and a special pre-ordering offer) on