FOUNDATIONS OF ZEN 9: Appreciative Inquiry

Instructor: Peg Syverson
March 16-April 6, 2017

Location: Appamada

Appreciative Inquiry is the cooperative co-evolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them. It involves the discovery of what gives “life” to a living system when it is most effective, alive, and constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. The inquiry is mobilized through the crafting of the “unconditional positive question,” often involving hundreds or thousands of people. AI interventions focus on the speed of imagination and innovation—instead of the negative, critical, and spiraling diagnoses commonly used in organizations. The discover, dream, design, and destiny model links the energy of the positive core to changes never thought possible.  (From the introduction to the AI handbook)

Inquiry is central to our practice at Appamada. This model of inquiry was developed by David Cooperrider through his research into healthy organizations, but it is also a wonderful model for individual and relational development. In this class you will learn the fundamental principles and methods of Appreciative Inquiry and how to apply them in your practice as well as in the workplace and in families.

Cooperrider's research shows that the questions we ask are fateful: they direct energy and attention in crucial ways. In this class we will not only learn about the Appreciative Inquiry model, we will practice it so that it can be applied in our lives.

Resources and Handouts


Recommended text: Appreciative Inquiry Handbook by David Cooperrider, Diana Whitney, and Jacqueline M. Stavros. This is a textbook with very clear instructions, exercises, handouts, and case studies. It is comprehensive and very well-designed.