Facilitated Conversations

Appreciative Inquiry: Fact Sheet

Suitable for: Group Activity | Facilitator-led Activity

Appreciative inquiry employs a particular way of asking questions and envisioning the future that fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, a situation or an organization. In so doing, it tends to enhance a system's capacity for collaboration and change.

Appreciative inquiry utilizes a cycle of four processes focusing on

  • discover—Identifying and valuing the best of what is
  • dream—Envisioning and sharing what could be
  • design—Innovating or designing what can be
  • deliver—Implementing the proposed design

Facilitator Tips

Before meeting with your group, choose a flexible, well-equipped space. Ensure that technology requirements are met. Consider organizing the space so that everyone has a place to sit and write, and so that participants can easily interact with you and one another.

Become familiar with the content you have chosen to focus on. Provide participants ahead of time with information, including any handouts and video clips.

As you manage the conversation, attempt to

  • maintain objectivity
  • assume (or share) responsibility for the group conversation
  • use time and space intentionally
  • adapt to the changing situation
  • manage the existing relationships
  • read the underlying dynamics of the group
  • evoke participation and creativity
  • honour the group and affirm its wisdom

Note: It is important to be aware of and be prepared to support participants who may have an emotional response to the content in the resource, or the subsequent discussion, based on his or her cultural and personal experiences.

After your group conversation, plan to do the following:

  • Use the handout Call to Action: Appreciative Inquiry Word to capture the group’s plans for future actions based on the discussion.
  • Monitor group members in working toward their goals as captured in the call to action worksheet.
  • Follow up with team members to discuss and share the accomplishments in reaching the group’s goals.