I love appreciative inquiry. Some of you may be asking, "what is appreciative inquiry?" It is the act of exploring/discovering the best in ourselves and the world around us usually through a questioning process that affirms past and present potentials and successes. The goal of appreciative inquiry is to find those things that bring life into the systems we interact with.
Even in the worst situations, something good is occurring and should be identified. This does not mean that we ignore the negative or sugar-coat it. Rather by identifying the good, we can leverage the positive in order to create a foundation for change. What we focus on creates our reality. If we are focusing on the negative, then we will continue to reinforce the negative. However, if we choose to focus on the positive, we will continually reinforce the positive over time.
Appreciative inquiry primarily relies on questions because the act of asking a question begins the change process. Questioning often requires a naming/describing process to occur. Finally, a person or system can move confidently into the future when they are able to carry the best parts of their past with them.
I have been exploring appreciative inquiry for a few years now. The Associate Pastor at my church and I have used it in many situations with very positive results. I am now using it as I explore faith and calling with families in my youth ministry. I will keep you updated on this progress. More on appreciative inquiry in the future.