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Knowledge Cafe - The Group
Adapted from the
Appreciative Inquiry Commons
: "Appreciative Inquiry is about the search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives “life” to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It centrally involves the mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the “unconditional positive question” often-involving hundreds or sometimes thousands of people. In AI the arduous task of intervention gives way to the speed of imagination and innovation; instead of negation, criticism, and spiraling diagnosis, there is discovery, dream, and design. AI seeks, fundamentally, to build a constructive union between a whole people and the massive entirety of what people talk about as past and present capacities: achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, innovations, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, benchmarks, high point moments, lived values, traditions, strategic competencies, stories, expressions of wisdom, insights into the deeper corporate spirit or soul-- and visions of valued and possible futures. ... AI deliberately, in everything it does, seeks to work from accounts of this “positive change core”—and it assumes that every living system has many untapped and rich and inspiring accounts of the positive. Link the energy of this core directly to any change agenda and changes never thought possible are suddenly and democratically mobilized."
Project planning internally and externally with partners and stakeholders.
Program assessment, monitoring and evaluation.
Team-building - helping teams to see a new way of working together.
The Appreciative Inquiry Process consists of five main steps:
1. Definition: establishing the focus and scope of the inquiry.
2. Discovery: eliciting stories of the system at its best - this is started in pairs, with the stories then shared with larger groups.
3. Dream: collecting the wisdom and imagining the future - this includes graphically visualizng the desired future.
4. Design: bridges to the future based on the best of the past and the present - groups work to use assets discovered in the second phase to design a plan to create the desired future.
5. Destiny: Making it happen.
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Here are a few links to case studies and examples:
World Vision Tanzania’s use of AI for community capacity development:
Use of AI in The Mountain Forum:
mtnforum-v1i1.html [broken link?]
Who in CARE is Using this Method?
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The World Cafe
Open Space Technology
More Information/Related Resources:
Tools for AI
ILAC Brief on Appreciative Inquiry in development settings
Lusophone resources -
are used to describe AI in Portuguese. Introduction:
Abstract of case study by Sarah Michael:
text (in English):
Online access to AI materials and tools:
(Try to include the appropriate CCASS indicators. For a list of possible keywords, see
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