Appreciative Inquiry: List of Principles & Assumptions

When I mention Appreciative Inquiry to someone I often get the response, ‘What’s that?’ So for those new to AI here’s a list of principles and assumptions to whet your appetite. I’ve also provided a link to our previous posts on some of the 8 Principles.

8 Principles

  • Anticipatory Principle
  • Positive Principle
  • Wholeness Principle
  • Enactment Principle
  • Free Choice Principle

8 Assumptions

  • In every society, organization, or group, something works
  • What we focus on becomes our reality
  • The language we use creates our reality
  • Reality is created in the moment, and there are multiple realities
  • The act of asking questions of an organization or group influences the group in some way
  • People have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future when they carry forward parts of the past
  • If we carry parts of the past forward, they should be what is best about the past
  • It is important to value differences

For a brief overview of AI go to Appreciative Inquiry.

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Comment by chris on October 23, 2012 at 11:56am

G'day Kunchok

No offence intended. Those are my views.


Comment by Kunchok Tsundue on October 23, 2012 at 9:31am

You are man in hurry, Chris. Your arguments are too narrow and trying avoid and play down my motion. If we were to believe what you are trying to suggest, where is the need for AI like framework at all. Such realities are created and destroyed every day without seriously engaging. The fact of the matter is that, after all, there are things that last life long and even generation and civilization long therefore all these struggle of localizing,  contextualizing and ideological competitions. The issue is there are many realities that are eternal what are deaths and taxes. And hurriedly you have stated against one of the fundamental AI assumption that you have declared in your blog. I need not point that out -you know that very well.   

Comment by chris on October 23, 2012 at 3:51am

Yes, there will probably be a temporary reality - perhaps for days, weeks, months or years. As there is very little that is permanent in most things (apart from death and taxes :)  then when that reality alters it just a matter of refocusing and re-storying. And until that change occurs, a practical view is to focus on what will sustain, for as long as possible, the new reality created in the AI process.

Comment by Kunchok Tsundue on October 20, 2012 at 9:35am

G,day Chris and James

My contention is the nature and depth of the newly found "transcendent" reality is most likely to be temporary than permanent because you assume the existence of multiple realities as it is.      

Comment by chris on October 19, 2012 at 2:16am

Thanks Pem. I agree with what you said but then I'm biased :)

Comment by Kunchok Tsundue on October 17, 2012 at 9:21am

I do agree that it is indeed not easy or perhaps not desirable to begin with, to dissolve or integrate multiple realities that do and will continue to exist. But without agreeing considerably by giving away one's individual/groups (they are often then not individualistic or selfish or self centered) view that emerging reality which never existed before (strongest AI assumption or purpose). If we do not need to give up something that we hold dear till now then how can we possibly build that must have element i.e commitment (chicken & pig) to this new "transcendent" reality. For me, AI should help seeing a holistic view in this multiple realities which is not so organized or seeking more recognition and status to the other. It is indeed an well organized web/structure which has reasonable strength of its own to subsist and create impacts. And in which multiple realities may or may not find themselves linked where some are key and some are not so key to changes that we seek.     

Comment by Sue James on October 16, 2012 at 9:38am

Hi Kunchok - from my perspective multiple realities do indeed exist. It's not that we 'dissolve' or 'integrate' them exactly - but that the holistic perspective and shared vision are transcendent. A 'higher ground' perhaps, rather than a 'common ground'. The 'shared' dream ideally holds a space in which multiple realities co-exist in harmony and all are honoured. This, for me, is the truly holistic perspective, because although groups can reach a shared dream to co-create their desired future, people are after all different and their world views (their realities) will always have elements that are unique to each person (or sub-group). I believe it's when we value 'all voices' - when we don't just accept but celebrate multiple realities and diversity - that the truly generative spirit and power of AI is realised. 

Comment by Kunchok Tsundue on October 15, 2012 at 4:47pm

I mean -AI operates on "shared" dream which should be an essentially by product of a holistic perspective gained  from  dissolving/integrating multiples realities that are fragmented. If this is true how can we assume that multiple realities exist in AI.     

Comment by chris on October 15, 2012 at 2:29pm

G'day Kunchok

I checked in with Sue James, my colleague, before answering your questions.

In relation to using problem solving techniques in desiging and implementation with AI, her immediate reply was 'no, it doesn't'.

She added "if the discover and the dream phases are done well and effectively, then the design and destiny (implementation)  phases of the inquiry emerge from the 'positive core' of the organisation or the community. They are driven forward by the passion and committment of those involved. And by that I mean everyone affected by the desired changes; all voices need to be in the room."

I wasn't quite sure what you meant by your other question; can you clarify that a bit more please.

Comment by Kunchok Tsundue on October 15, 2012 at 1:33pm

Is it not this way -A reality created in the moment when you melt down multiple realities.  


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