Exploring Appreciative Inquiry

The Authentic Partnership approach, the ADRD Planning Framework, and Appreciative Inquiry (AI) are the key theoretical frameworks guiding culture change within the Partnerships in Dementia Care (PiDC) Alliance research sites. Over the next three issues of this newsletter we will provide an overview of these approaches and the role they are playing in our project. 

What is Appreciative Inquiry (AI)?

  • AI is based on the assumption that every organization has something that works right. The AI process seeks to discover what it is that gives life to an organization when it is most successful and connected to its members and community.
  • AI is different from other problem solving approaches because it focuses on strengths, rather than on ‘what’s wrong.’
  • AI begins by identifying what is positive about an organization and then uses these strengths to envision possibilities for the future.

What is the Appreciative Inquiry Process?

  1. Dawning: The purpose of Dawning is to build trusting, supportive relationships with the culture change team. Group members will develop skills and knowledge related to the philosophies guiding their work. The work of the Dawning phase prepares groups to move forward to Discovery

  2. Discovery:The purpose of Discovery is to identify and appreciate the best of what is about a community or organization. This is done by gathering as many positive stories as possible from all key stakeholders. These positive stories will reveal what gives life to the organization when it’s at its best.

  3. Dream: The purpose of Dream is to identify what could be and envision new possibilities for the future. Using information from Discovery, participants create a set of aspiration statements which help drive the design of future actions.

  4. Design: The purpose of Design is to identify actions that will support the new possibilities identified in the Dream phase. Participants will create and commit to actions that will help make the aspiration statements a reality.

  5. Destiny: The purpose of Destiny is to identify ways to support and sustain the actions planned in the Design phase. Participants will identify the supports needed to implement and uphold the positive changes.

    New Discoveries:

    The Dawning phase is a new addition to the Appreciative Inquiry process which was developed by the PiDC team based on their work with the Culture Change Coalitions (CCC). The Huron County CCC  was particularly influential in the development of this new phase.


For more information on any of the PiDC Alliance initiatives, contact Sian Lockwood, Knowledge Translation Specialist.

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