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  1. Become a member!

    Now you can become a member of the European Network

    Dear colleague,
    We are over 500 network participants of 30 different European and non European countries.

    A European Network of practitioners like you, working with Appreciative Inquiry and other Strengths-based change approaches. A Network deeply committed to the relational way of working, with high quality connections and creative learning opportunities.

    The AI European network is happy to announce new plans and activities for the future.

    The next network meetings 2015 will be organized in Gotland, Sweden in April and in Poland, Krakow in the fall.

    And in 2016 we will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the network!
    To make this possible and to maintain digital communication and webpage renewal we need funding.
    Each participant to a network meeting already pays €50,-for the network sustainability and now we will refresh sponsorship possibilities and introduce an annual network fee.

    We invite you to become a network member by paying the new annual network fee of only € 20,- The benefits are: You will receive network news and invitations for meeting by mail and will have a reduction of € 20,- on your first the meeting fee in 2015.

    This is how it works:;

    – Use this link link and you will find the paypal button to pay your fee on the website page.

    -You will get a digital receipt from the Paypal system for you payment.

    We hope you will support the network!
    The financial group, Peter Bach Lauritzen, Steve Loraine, Leif Josefsson and Cora Reijerse

  2. Now you can become a member of the European Network

    Dear colleague,
    We are over 500 network participants of 30 different European and non European countries.

    A European Network of practitioners like you, working with Appreciative Inquiry and other Strengths-based change approaches. A Network deeply committed to the relational way of working, with high quality connections and creative learning opportunities.

    The AI European network is happy to announce new plans and activities for the future.
    The next network meetings 2015 will be organized in Gotland,  Sweden in April and in Poland, Krakow in the fall.
    And in 2016 we will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the network!
    To make this possible and to maintain digital communication and webpage renewal we need funding.
    Each participant to a network meeting already pays €50,-for the network sustainability and now we will refresh sponsorship possibilities and introduce an annual network fee.

    We invite you to become a network member by paying the new annual network fee of only € 20,– The benefits are: You will receive network news and invitations for meeting by mail and will have a reduction of € 20,- on your first the meeting fee in 2015.

    This is how it works:;

    Use this link link and you will find the paypal button to pay your fee on the website page. New link to be made Kees

    -You will get a digital receipt from the Paypal system for you payment.

    We hope you will support the network!

    The financial group, Peter Bach Lauritzen, Steve Lorraine, Leif Josefsson and Cora Reijerse

     

  3. New Cards: Taste of AI

    Taste of Appreciative Inquiry- A simple, practical guide to AI 
    Designed and created for people experiencing their first taste of Appreciative Inquiry including participants in one or two day workshops; HR and OD practitioners dipping their toe into the AI water wanting a simple understanding of the approach and AI practitioners looking for an accessible guide to use with clients.
    Pack contains 10 cards covering the AI principles, what it is, generativity, constructionist theory, AI conversations, reframing, provocative propositions , 5D framework, and appreciative feedback.For  further information www.appreciatingpeople.co.uk. shop section

    AP is in process of developing a network of European distributors. Contact tim@appreciatingpeople.co.uk for details. Plans are being developed currently for Spanish, Italian, and German editions. Other languages are being explored

     

  4. New cards: Creating GREAT conversations

    Creating GREAT conversations – Practical Advice for better appreciative conversations 
    This is Appreciating People’s latest AI product and builds on the other AP products AI essentials a practical guide to Appreciative Inquiry and the Appreciative Journal Food for Thought. Designed to develop the idea of Appreciative conversations it is for Ai practitioners and anyone interested in developing and supporting great conversations. Useful for designing and testing AI protocols and also as a resource for a AI taster course

    The pack consists of 17 A5 cards in a plastic wallet  written in a practical and user-friendly style, containing:

    • a basic introduction on Appreciative Inquiry
    • guidance on active listening
    • importance of dialogue and story
    • creating open questions
    • how to help conversation flow
    • creating great questions
    • conversation frameworks/appreciative conversation protocols
    • practical exercises and helpful hints for great conversations
     
    Co designed and co created through a number of community workshops the pack were launched at a Grundvig project event in Prague October 2013. For further information go to http://www.appreciatingpeople.co.uk/creating-GREAT-conversations. Costs £12.99 plus postage ( 15 euros plus postage ) reductions with bulk orders

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  5. New Book: Zen and the Art of Appreciative Inquiry

    Zen and the Art of Appreciative Inquiry – a glass half full approach to organisational development.

    Published earlier this year, ‘Zen and the Art of Appreciative Inquiry’ provides a unique perspective
    on AI. Written by Roger Rowett, the book explores the personal discoveries that led Roger to
    embrace this way of working. It also sets this against the backdrop of Zen thinking and in particular
    that seminal work – ‘Zen and the Art of Appreciative Inquiry’.

    The best way to get a flavour of the book is to check out the reviews on Amazon and to read some
    of the text from the Foreword by Neil Wooding, a senior leader within Welsh Government:

    “Those of us working across the domain of organisational development who have occasionally flirted
    with Appreciative Inquiry as a change technology, will immediately see the value of this book. It
    captures the essence of engaging and transforming the way we think and act and reminds us of the
    most important ingredient in delivering organisational change – people.

    For those who perhaps, have little knowledge or experience of Appreciative Inquiry, but a keen
    interest in expanding their personal and professional horizons to discover new ways of delivering
    change – this book provides a solid platform for beginning the journey.

    As a description of the Appreciative Inquiry process, it offers an intuitive and experiential account
    of how to engineer change in an engaging and liberating way. It provides a solid evidence base for
    re-thinking the approach we take when working with organisations to transform practice. But more
    than this, Roger Rowett introduces us to a different way of understanding the world beyond the
    application of a set of principles and procedures.

    In a warm and self-deprecating way, he convinces us that to fully understand and engage with the
    idea of Appreciative Inquiry we have to recognise the sanctity of relationship and the ocean of human
    potential that exists in everyone. In this regard, Appreciative Inquiry is an invitation to see the world
    in a different way, to re-construct the social and to acknowledge the connectivity of all things. We are
    reminded clearly that without exception, everything is delivered through relationship.”

    Dr Neil Wooding, Director, Public Service Management Wales

    The book can be found on Amazon for £15
    ISBN-13: 978-1482647259

    Zen_and_the_Art_of_A_Cover

  6. New book: Strength-based Lean Six Sigma

    Strength-based Lean Six Sigma is a fresh approach to process improvement through the lens of the leading approaches to Strength-based change. It offers a bridge between two distinctively different paradigms: the best of process improvement (through Lean Thinking and Six Sigma which are normally practised with a deficit focus) with the best of strength-based approaches to change (such as Appreciative Inquiry, Solution Focus and Positive Deviance).  It combines the energy and creativity of positive change through AI together with the rigour of process improvement offered by Lean Six Sigma. By doing so, it creates more success, engagement, energy and sustained results.
    The book connects the guiding principles of all the methodologies. It offers new strength-based versions of well-known processes (for example, how to run a Lean Kaizen event with a strength-based approach) and introduces several useful tools. It also includes case stories from multiple industries and countries. It offers practitioners of all disciplines the opportunity to understand each other and work successfully together to drive effective and powerful efficiency-focused change programmes.

    The book is available for pre-order from Amazon and other leading online retailers. Its ISBN number is: 978 0 7494 6950 4. It will be released in Europe on 4 November 2013 and in the US on 28 November.  A special discount is offered when buying direct from the publisher by using the code LEANSIX20.


    “This book is the first on integrating Lean Six Sigma and Appreciative Inquiry. David does a masterful job blending the principles and processes of Appreciative Inquiry with the rigour of Lean Six Sigma to influence innovation and sustainable results in organizations. The book represent and insightful contribution to both disciplines”
    Jacqueline M. Stavros – author and professor. Director of DBA program, Lawrence Technological University

    book cover front 30 percent (1)

  7. Impressions of a (relative) newcomer to the European Network

    Impressions of a (relative) newcomer to the European Network of Appreciative Inquiry Practitioners

    This is a text written by Anita Shehan after participating in two network meetings; Chartres, France November 2012 and Reggio Emilia April 2013.

    Anita Sheehan“Why don’t you write a short article about your impressions and expectations of our get-togethers?” Cora Reijerse asked me in response to my comment that I was not entirely sure what I had to expect from attending the Network’s gatherings.  What a brilliant question!

    My attendance of the Network’s gathering at Reggio Emilia was the second one, after having had the pleasure of joining the group in Chartres, France, last November.  And yet, questions still lingered as to the deeper purpose of these meetings and as to what newcomers could expect to come away with.  The reason why this question popped up was that while both meetings had much in common, they were also quite different each time.

    Both meetings stretch over a period of 2 ½ to 3 days, depending on whether you want to attend the Board session on Saturday morning as well.

    The first thing that strikes you is the warm and open atmosphere that greets you like a warm blanket as you enter the scene.  Do you know the feeling when you come into an established group as a newcomer?  Everyone is hugging and exchanging their latest news and you feel a bit left out?  Well, that is not what happens with this group of humans.  

    After the first hellos, we settle in and we begin centering with the beautiful tradition of passing around a bead necklace, a string of beads gathered from every meeting location around Europe and strung together. Passing the necklace from one participant to the other at the beginning and/or closing of the gathering is a ritualized expression of the connection between the sessions, the countries and the participants. Participants can choose to express their expectations/wishes for the meeting to come and/or their evaluation of what the meeting has meant for them.

    And so the stories begin.  In fact, you ask what are these gatherings all about?  True to the spirit of Appreciative Inquiry, they are all about questions and stories. 

    The stories and the inquiry continue with the discovery of our host cities, an integral part of all meetings.  In Chartres, our hosts, Bernard Tollec and Claire Lustig had arranged for a Meta Saga tour of the famous Cathedral to get the place under our skin.  In Italy, Yvonne Becker invited an Italian historian to talk about Italy’s history to give us a sense of the place we were in.

    And while the structure of the gatherings is similar each time, the content can differ.  For example, in Chartres, our hosts had also arranged for small groups to visit real companies and organizations to introduce them to the power of AI. In Italy, we had the pleasure of having a series of guest speakers who had incorporated the spirit of AI into their activities without perhaps being aware of it.  So for example, the stories shared on work in a mental health organization and in politics were testimonials of powerful co-creativity.  And the story of AI in action in a succession exercise by one of our members was a vivid reminder how mindful conversations can be catalysts for change.

    It goes without saying that these intense days of sharing experiences and discussing the myriad applications of AI necessitate creative breaks at the end of the day in the form of experiencing the local cuisine to deepen our sense of place.  This is an important part of the gathering as the conversations around the table often generate new ideas of cooperation and co-creation. 

    And what would be a gathering of professionals be without a Board meeting at the end?  Often regarded as a necessary evil, the AI Networking Board meetings are refreshing examples of how to get things done swiftly and without too much prevarication. They are an integral part to ensuring the continuation of the series of events and gatherings, with new meeting dates and places set and ideas spawned.  Alas, the end always comes too quickly, but we all part with the assurance that the next get-together is only a few months away.   

    Anita Shehan, June 2013

  8. Gervase Bushe Summerclass in Netherlands

    Introduction Gervase Bushe                 Gervase bushe picture

    G.Bushe did his PHD in Case Western university and works in this area for over 30 years, he and D.cooperrider were at school together while he was developing AI

    “I was working on sociotechnical systems organizations where you develop team-based manufacturing and industrial democracy. Then I worked in General Motors, working on redesigning large bureaucratic organization into more collaborative organizations, including process reengineering.

    I discovered AI in 1989 when David Cooperider was talking about it, people where negative about it especially academics. AI was at the beginning more of a philosophy than a technique. A new trend has been discovered in the past 20 years where OD has shifted from Diagnostic to Dialogic. Afterwards the focus was on Appreciative process where a change agent continuously is able to create positive change in different situations.

    And another subject is “Positive deviance”, which  is an approach to behavioral and social change based on the observation that in any community, there are people whose uncommon but successful behaviors or strategies enable them to find better solutions to a problem than their peers, despite facing similar challenges and having no extra resources or knowledge than their peers. These individuals are referred to as positive deviants.”

     

    What makes AI work4D

    Teams: Teams identification effects work of AI or not? The level of how individuals are identified with the group has profound impact for AI to work. In social systems there are two groups, Pre-identity group and Post- identity group. A simple test to detect that is in the language they refer to the group as “We” or “they”.  This notion is essential for developmental process of teams.

    AI works differently with Pre-identity groups than Post- identity groups, where group feeling, personal sacrifice for the sake of the group is prevailing. The transition from Pre- to Post-identity groups is the core mode to organizational development.

    How the groups are going to be identified is based on 2 kinds of visionary guides:  The way how dialogical process work is, by creating a common vision of the future, and AI is one of them whereby is created by focusing on strengths. The Two kinds of visionary guides are: Ideal & Ought (Tony Higgins psychologist):

     

    a-    Ideal:  everyone has an image of an ideal team (Characteristics) and this influences the choice of belonging to a group. The gap between reality and image makes person’s decision if he wants to belong to it or not.  AI can make group share their ideal image and close the gap. Closing the gap between ideal and actualà inquiry into the ideal in a pre-identity system.

     

    b-    Ought: How the group ought to be? Like its tasks, functions and workings. People are not concerned about ought to image unless individual identify with the group. First individual is concerned about his needs in the group. After identification then switched to the group feeling of “what do we have to do here together?”

     

    For Pre-identity groups (page 3 Bushe article) à the dream phase is much more potent and important where the ideal stuff comes out, but for the Post-identity group (ought) àThe Design phase is more important, there where the action lies.  So an inquiry of an ideal in a post-identity group will be unnecessary. And the same goes for the inquiry of the ought in a Pre-Identity group, where the group will experience it as huge task not willing to accomplish at this phase of group. The key to a successful design of AI practice is to ask what kind of group you are dealing with Pre- or Post-Identity group. An emotional bond must be created (in a Pre-identity group). What is essential in a Pre-identity group inquiry is to engage as much people as possible by letting them interviewing each other. Transformational potential of AI in pre-identity system notable realized when a common identity emerges.

    The Gap: discovery phase, interviewing each other is to close the gap

    a-   How to identify pre/post groups? ask teammembers wich are their 5 criteria for an ideal team. let them rate their team on those 5 criteria (present or not). High scores point at post  identity, low scores at pre-identity state.

    (5 questions if you get different answers among the group then it is Preà the scale of 5  (talking in the form of “They”) )

    b-   Post: talking in the form of “we”

    • The success of AI in a Post-identity system lies in the ability to generate new ideas especially in the now and here of the organization. A new idea does not mean a new idea in the planet but in the group. Some ideas emerge in the margin but has never made to the upfront. AI makes the system aware of new things they were not doing and gives it a status. The more ideas the better.
    • Which processes creates more generative ideas? The more generative processesà the more the chance to lead to transformation.
    • Design Phase: Too much consensus saps energy away ( the example of the house , rushing to build the house )
    • It gets difficult when there is no real sponsor (the one who is in charge of the process) or sponsorship.
    • Sometimes when you work on Subgroup and it improves, it declines again in development when it is again back into the system, that’s why we have to engage as much as possible people from the whole system.
    • Run the discovery phase to create the pre into post before the summit, some will not respond to the invitation and be filtered out naturally.

    a-      Nortel case using IT to connect people through the world by using stories and practices that everyone have access to.

    b-      You can do an inquiry into a group from Pre to Post, and then engage other stakeholders like clients & other outside to generate new ideas!

    c-      The case of US navy to create an identity before moving to the next phase of the inquiry by F.Barett. (http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/practice/ppNavy.cfm)

    Study: Analysis of 20 cases of AI

    Findings : 36 variables were examined, only 3 emerged to have statistically significant difference

    Analysis of 20 AI cases TC (13) IC (7)
    Create New Ideas 100% 0%
    Generative Metaphor Emergence 100% 8%
    Improvisational Approach to Destiny 83% 16%
    • Transformational Change (TC): is the transformation in the state of being of a system.
    • Incremental Change (IC): The system is still the same, it is only better at something.
    • Generative Metaphor (GM): An idea that was never thought earlier about, idea: new ways to think about the world. The most powerful force for change is a new idea.

    a-      Generative metaphor (GM): Cooperrider à AI & business as agents of world benefit are generative metaphors for David Cooperrider

    b-       Bushe àsustainable development: The case of Greenpeace

    c-      Dialogic change process is to change how people think, works with self-organizing properties of how to work with emerging properties of change. Peggy Holman Book describes this process of emergence.

    d-      Generative metaphor opened a field of action which it did not exist before, Generative ideas are compelling and new ideas.

    • Improvisational Approach to destiny: You get change faster by letting go of control and allowing of emergence to occur in the system. Then, stimulating the growth process and getting out of the way.
    • AI solves problems through generativity and not through problem solving. AI in incremental change case systems people are happy the way it is, and do not want it to change. Ask the client what do you want and what do you want more of. Sometimes leaders of organizations don’t know what the problem is. AI is strong at shifting the culture. Tip: “Yes to the Mess: surprising leadership lessons from Jazz” of Frank Barrett.
    • The important thing in AI is what are you inquiring at and do you have the right question? A question that employees like to think about and act upon. And the leadership of the system would acknowledge the exact question that the organization should be answering. That is going to change the process.
    • Consultants should learn to do better interviews, better description of the problem. And in AI it is better people interview each other as much as possible and engage as much as possible. People talk to each other about that issue and write about it as a story. Stories are fuel for creating solutions and generative ideas.

    Questions:

    1-     Improvisational Change process: Appreciative processà what do you want more of? Cooperrider focuses on positive but sometimes (Bushe) generative ideas come from negative emotion. AI good for transforming the culture and the way of thinking, Bushe uses instead Appreciative process

    2-     How to make the inquiry generative? It is more how to create space for it, not necessary positive/happy but it has to touch us and get us out of our heads. Inquire through the heart to connect to each other, there you can find common ground in our relationship as human beings. Example: The Dalai Lama Community center in Canada.

    3-     Co-Constructing each other. In each of us exists the same human virtues, so if I see that way I want to work with you more that way? What is the me that is reflected in your eyes?

    4-     Tracking and fanning the best in people: Tracking is like what you do in the woods m searching for the small track of the prey. This you can do when you decide what qualities you want to have in somebody then track it and fan it(like fanning a small fire in order to get more of it) you will see more of that quality in them.

    5-     Appreciative leadership (Appreciative process of change): paying attention to what is the best in them; appreciative processàfocuses on what you want more of and feel it is already there. Tracking and fanning with customers is focusing on the best of them and praise that. But Praise only accepted by somebody who is given authority in that field. Praise that comes from a leader is like psychic food for the people. According to the archetypes of leaders, good sovereign leaders bring the greatness out in other people. They are there to bless and praise and that is a ritual practice of a good leader. They see the greatness in others, and that’s when we get performance in organizations. Shadow sovereign leaders in the contrary want to be praised, and want to hear how great and smart they are, and they have only vision for themselves. In such organizations, it all becomes into competing factions, stabbing each other and each defends his position, while in the realm of good sovereign everyone is happy and can work with each other and have a vision of the great realm. The bad king has a vision of themselves.

    6-     Conventional Change management Vs. Performance amplification

    Performance amplification: performance is determined by people’s mental maps and thinking what is possible. You need to have the right metric for performance measurement, and it must be realistic. A leading indicator is essential to be detected and used correctly for performance indication. Often manager look at how to increase revenues, while they should be looking how to reduce waste (Cost).

    7-     How to increase positivity in organizations? Kim Cameron talks about positive organizational behavior in her book (positive psychology at work).

    8-     Dialogical ODà Open space technology, World Café, real-time change

    9-     AIà better in negative –deficit-based systems in order to transform it, AIà when positivity become part of the culture then AI becomes obsolete

    10- AI in Merger & Acquisitions: you have two pre-identity groups and how to merge them, Method: interview& talk about how great the other group is.
    Download the pdf report  from Summer Class with Gervase Bushe
    Download the slideshow below as pdf

    For slideshow click here