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Learn through storytelling

Storytelling exists since thousands of years. We feel inspired by, connect with others and learn through storytelling. Appreciative Inquiry uses the art of storytelling to leverage change where we want to see it.

On Leadership 3:19

A portrait of Joep C de Jong with a focus on Appreciative Leadership. About the essence of what it is he has learned to appreciate in his work and in his live.

The Soul of Jane Magruder 5:00

In this film Jane Magruder Watkins shares some of her thoughts on Appreciative Leadership, teaching what appreciative inquiry is really about. She shares her views as to what happened around leadership, teaching and appreciative inquiry.

Bernard Tollec 3:31

Bernard shares how he was introduced to Appreciative Inquiry and the impact it has made in his life.

Appreciative Inquiry changes lives and empowers community builders

People all react positively with positivity, openness and acceptance - With Lockdown causing much frustration, fear and distrust, a little positivity can go a loooong way!

And, so it is - that down south in South Africa, lives are changing as community change organizations, like Bitou Family Care, run by a wonderful German couple, Stephan and Elizabeth Wenz, found new avenues and dreams as they engaged with the AI process. The sharing of dreams, best practice and real life stories helps to grow people's perception of where to, how to and what's the next best - all from a position of gratitude, empowerment and caring.

There was much fun and sharing - not to forget the beautiful venue, T'Niqua Stable Inn, where we were treated as honoured guests by Benitta & Michiel Meyer.

Facilitated by Tony Clarke - Dynamicvision Teambuilding SA

Frankfurt 2019, European Appreciative Inquiry (EAI) Gathering

Gertraud Wegst and Reto Diezi

Sunny Nice in March 2019: Two inspired women, Vera Hofmann and Gertraud Wegst, just jumped out of a workshop with Joep C. de Jong and Miriam Subirana, held at the World Appreciative Inquiry Congress (WAIC 2019), with the ambitious idea to organise a European Meeting in Germany before the end of the year. In midday sunshine with a temperature certainly above 30°C, they brought a group of European participants together to organise next steps.

Not so sunny November 20/21, 2019 in the Oekohaus in Frankfurt: Having a tropical garden atmosphere in wintery Frankfurt with Appreciative Inquiry Practitioners from Egypt, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland meeting with the great people running the Stromspar-Check (SSC) project in Germany. This national project is supporting more than 370 thousand low income households in saving energy and thus household money.

What happened in the SSC workshop: We met the people of the Stromspar-Check project for the first time in person on midday November 20th and went through two phases of the Appreciative Inquiry process – Dreaming & Designing – in an afternoon, the whole process guided by a storybook of 27 pages. We worked with the two head coordinators of the project, Marlene Potthoff and Eva Marx, the 20 coordinators, our EAI-colleagues to support the process especially in working in group settings, and Gertraud Wegst and Reto Diezi as the facilitators of this AI process. And it turned out to be inspiring, intensive, energetic, showing the commitment of the coordinators from the two different organisations, Caritas Germany and eaD from all over Germany.

Preparation: As a basis for the meeting in Frankfurt, intensive work had been done with the preparation team (head coordinators of the SSC and 4 team members) and the whole group. Self-organized, the participants did appreciative pair interviews. In group calls we facilitated the harvesting of the qualities that make up this project.

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In the afternoon of the first day, the European AI practitioners got involved.

On the wings of the inspiration from day 1 (Dream & Design phases), the SSC leaders facilitated day 2 (Destiny phase).

The European AI practitioners: left to right: Gertraud, Joep C. de Jong, Vera Hofmann, Hilda Lanas, Cora Reijerse, Mille Themsen Duvander, Marianne Rögner, Claudia Gross, Yvonne Bonner and Reto.

Views on leadership by the leaders of the future
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Leadership 2039

Let's celebrate together!

Sketchnotes by Sabine Soeder


of the 10 year anniversary of the European Appreciative Inquiry Community in Belgium and the Netherlands

"Hello stranger!"

Akkie Okma

We don’t do it often, do we? Talking to a complete stranger. Actually it may be more fun than we might think. We all have these moments when we find ourselves perhaps in a waiting room or a bus with those unknown third parties. We quickly grab our mobile phone or a newspaper. In any case many of us look away and evade making direct contact.

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Shifting wor(l)ds or poetic encounters

Akkie Okma

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) practitioners come together on a monthly basis for online learning sessions.  Recently, Yvonne and I hosted such a session on the topic Language. We don’t consider ourselves linguistic experts, although we do understand the importance of language: words that a speaker chooses to use, the tone and the pauses. They all impact us in the way we communicate. Words can create hope – like the famous words of Dr. Martin Luther King  “I have a dream” -, or, more recently, Angela Merkel’s “Wir schaffen das”.

Appreciative Inquiry is an approach for positive change in individuals, groups and organisations.  Language plays a crucial role in achieving that change. AI focuses on what works well. By asking questions about best practices, strengths, etc. and by telling stories we learn what gives energy and what could be there to generate new possibilities for the future.

Appreciative Inquiry is based on five principles: the constructionist, the poetic, the simultaneity, the anticipatory and the positive principle. In this blog I only want to highlight the poetic principle. This principle says that we can find whatever we want. For instance if there is a glass half full with water, we could say the glass is half full or it is half empty. Whatever we want. It is just like a poem, where we focus on we will find. By shifting words we can create different worlds.

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