Appreciative Inquiry

February 7, 2021 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
August 27, 2020 alexmengozzi

The Appreciative Inquiry is a strength-based approach which aims to produce prospects for change to a given situation. Solutions are developed to a specific existing problem, while leaving out analysis of the negative aspects.

Problems and Purpose

This methodology involves developing positive prospects for change to a specific existing problem, neglecting the analysis of the negative aspects: for example, one does not purposely ask what is wrong or how a problem can be better delineated. In a praiseworthy survey, it is a priority to positively evaluate what has worked well up to that point (for example, in an organization, company, neighbourhood or region). Consequently, it should be possible to identify the reasons behind this success or a missed disaster / collapse. The Appreciative Inquiry has more the character of a philosophy than that of a well-defined participatory method. The practical application (modality and conduct of the event, number, recruitment system, and composition of the group of participants) is very variable. [1]

Origins and Development

This method was developed in the 1980s by Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio, USA) to manage change. It has been used for quite some time in the US, Australia, and Europe (particularly in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium), but is also expanding into German-speaking countries. [2]

Participant Recruitment and Selection

How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making

As a rule, an AI comprises four phases:

  1. Understanding the reasons for success: Participants are asked to tell about their personal experiences in relation to the topic, to point out any circumstances underlying the success, and to discuss it with others.
  2. Developing future perspectives: starting from the collected success stories, prospects for future development are elaborated. It examines how the positive experiences could be extended to other sectors.
  3. Structuring the future: how to concretely proceed in the future is discussed.
  4. Realizing the future: Finally, concrete strategies for implementation are developed.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also


[1] Nanz P., Fritsche M., La partecipazione dei cittadini: un manuale. Metodi partecipativi: protagonisti, opportunità e limiti, Legislative Assembly of the Emilia-Romagna Region, 2014, p. 60, (ril. 27/8/20).

[2] Nanz P., Fritsche M., La partecipazione dei cittadini: un manuale. Metodi partecipativi: protagonisti, opportunità e limiti.

External Links