Appreciative Inquiry and EARS

by | Jul 27, 2021 | Resources

Appreciative inquiry (AI) is a strengths-based approach to examining and growing the best in human systems and organisations.  It has much overlap with solution-focused inquiry and positive psychology.  It has been used in many organisational sectors since the 1980s to drive positive cultural change with the goals of:

  • appreciating the good things that are already happening within teams and programs and acknowledging them
  • continuous improvement from a strengths-based perspective, rather than deficit-based perspective
  • sharing good and innovative practices across teams.

AI invites users to stay in a curious learner perspective rather than a judge perspective by reframing key questions such as:

  • What is right rather than what is wrong?
  • What am I responsible for rather than who is to blame?
  • What are my choices rather than how can I be in control?
  • What is useful about this rather than what can I lose?
  • What is possible rather than why bother?

Just like solution-focused inquiry, AI involves the art of questioning and inquiry. Processes, such as the E.A.R.S process (elicit, amplify, reflect, start over) can help practitioners to frame the questions easily and implement (use) AI in daily conversations, team meetings, complex case reviews, group and individual supervision, specific projects and strategic planning.

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