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Positive Problem-Solving: How Appreciative Inquiry Works

In the current economic downturn, both individuals and organizations are challenged to “do more with less.” In the midst of uncertainty, one tendency is to be fearful of what we don’t know or to focus on the “bad” things that are
happening around us—revenue shortfalls, collection lags, shifting budget allocations, or double-digit unemployment that strain our ability to provide services to those who need them. The practice and philosophy of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) enables public officials and organizations to recognize and build on their strengths to meet these challenges. This article provides a framework for exploring this approach, describes the experiences of others in public sector settings in using AI practices and philosophies, and outlines how managers can use AI in their own communities and offices.

Cite as:

Lee, S., Henderson, M., Whitaker, G ““Positive Problem-Solving:  How Appreciative Inquiry Works” ICMA Press, vol. 43, Number 3, 2011