Retrospective Facilitator Gathering

Regardless of what we discover...

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Appreciative Inquiry

What Is It?

Theory of organizations that says you can accomplish more by focusing on:

  • Energy, Strength
  • Positive Core

Was initially used for Strategic Planning

  • System “shifts”
  • Part of Whole System approaches

AI Summit is an event in the practice. There is also pre- and post-work.

Commonality with Agile = AI requires not just practices or an event, but a true mind shift


  • Exceptional arrival experience for airline (rather than fixing baggage delivery problem). This was the example in the poster Mark Kilby had.
  • Customer satisfaction improvement by focusing on satisfied rather than unsatisfied customers
  • Avon: Sexual harassment–>find healthy cross-gender working relationships, and create more of them.


The core of AI is the inquirty and thus the questions are important. The form they take. Resources:

  • Diana Whitney
  • Encyclopedia of Positive Questions
  • Appreciative Team Building
  • The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry- Sue Annis-Hammond
  • David Cooperrider (author of AI)
  • Bernard Mohr
  • Jane Watkins
  • The Change Handbook

The Format

4 D's or 5 D's or 5 I's

Discovery, Dream, Design, Destiny (and Define)

or, from Diana:

Identify, Inquire, Imagine, Innovate, Implement

Identify: Gaining/crafting a positive focus. Find the strength you want to build on.

Inquire: We learn in the direction we focus our questions. Questions are how we gather data.

Imagine: How you generate insights

Innovate: Deciding what to do

Implement: Put into action

Thus, the Appreciative Retrospective

Note: “appreciative” refers to increasing value, like an investment appreciating.

Resource: Gervais Busche Resource: Clear Leadership

Tracking and Fanning– This is about finding the thing that is working and helping it grow.

“Problem-solving works really well with data and things–not with humans.” -Diana Larsen, 2009.


  • Something works
  • What we focus on becomes our reality–social constructionism
  • Simultinaity: The moment we start asking questions, we have begun the change
  • Poetic: We learn about the things we are able to tell our stories about
  • Heliotropic: We move in the direction of our aspirations
  • Positive: look at where you want to go, not where you don't want to be
  • Placebo: Our beliefs are powerful

When Not To Use

(Like with agile…)

  • Organization is just paying lip-service to the pain and don't plan on following through.
  • Sponsor is not excited, doesn't deeply understand why to use it.

A Real Shift...

From SWOT: Strength Weakness Opportunity Threats

To SOAR: Strengths Opportunities Aspirations Results

Asking Appreciative questions can help people start to shift.

A Pitfall...

Q: What if people say “But things really are terrible?”…Think hurricane, tragedy, layoffs

A: It's not about “positive”…It's about STRENGTHS.

You can fall into a trap of people perceiving this as a “utopian” idea and that may not be desired.

Remember: This is an approach to use with groups of people.

More on the Process


It's at least a 2-step process. Starts with potentially a subset of people.

  1. Templated, formatted questions. Starts with a story
  2. Value questions. What is it about you and the story
  3. Dream Questions. What are your wishes, dreams

Distill the questions/answers into themes and take those questions to the whole system.

Can help sometimes if the questions are paradoxical.


We know we can do it because we've done it before! Community Visioning


How will we make it happen?

  • Provocative Propositions
  • Possibility statements
  • Action planning
  • Open Space
  • World Cafe
  • SOAR


Do it. “The Now action” –Bas Vodde

This is cyclical.

intro_to_appreciative_inquiry_or_retros.txt · Last modified: 2018/10/27 07:58 (external edit)