Thursday, September 13, 2012

Appreciative Inquiry from #EdCampATL

One session from last Saturday was actually titled "AI Discover, Dream, Design, Destiny", led by Dr. Stan Johnson. I wasn't sure exactly what it was referring to (my technical brain immediately changed AI -> Artificial Intelligence), though I was sure my initial thought was wrong. I was correct that I was wrong.

The general idea was called "Pollyanna-ish" even by the person presenting it. The basic idea is to change your thought from "fixing what's broken" to instead looking for the strengths already there to build from. It's very much a "look on the positive side" approach.

The model that we were given had 4 parts that overlapped in the middle for the end result. The first part was Discovery. This is Appreciating or the "Best of what is". This is how you find the strengths to start from. Second came the Dream, or envisioning "what could be". What are you working toward/for? Then is Design, or co-constructing, "what should be". This is also the implementation of your plan. Last is Destiny, to create "what will be".

The start to the whole process is to change the language. Instead of trying to "fix" what is broken, try to build what is going right. For example, if someone isn't sure of their strengths, try changing their resume from timeline format to an abilities based format. Then what the CAN do is listed in an easy form to see.

Once you know what your big goal is, set a reasonable time line for the actions to happen. Work from a small win in the first few days, to the next win. When you get stuck, try to imagine who you know that is successful doing this? Then look to their design to strengthen what you want to happen. If an answer to a question comes back with "I don't know", try asking "What would it look (or feel) like if you DID know?"

The key to all of it may be the ability to adapt. By teaching positive or reinforcing positive strengths, you will find that you will adapt to what is the new position. If you are guiding someone, build in small blocks to reinforce the behavior you want. They will eventually provide the way on their own to get to the point they should be.

Of course, this is all very good in theory. We'll have to see if I can actually implement it on anything.
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