What a great place to be for an improviser, past week in Ghent, the 5th World Conference of Appreciative Inquiry. (Read everything about it on 2012waic). Especially as a practitioner of applied improvisation this conference was awesome for me.
As I wrote before (in Dutch, not translated yet), applied improvisation and appreciative inquiry go together in a very strong way. Participants of the workshop on improvisation I presented, confirmed this strongly and brought in great ideas on what happens when people are improvising together. Of course teaching improvisation to all those extremely appreciative and inquiring people is like staying in a 5 star hotel.
So, attending the 2012WAIC in general gave me great new insights and validation of the parallels. What I liked most, was the shift that’s going on in the Appreciative Inquiry Community from “Positivity” to “Generative Power”. As in improvisation, it is not about literally saying YES at everything or about characters that find everything ok. It’s about saying yes to the path that leads to creating a great story. Something negative, a problem, a conflict, shouting out NO,.. can all be very generative at some point. I think this shift to “Generative Power” might bring the big sceptics to take a closer look. I don’t see the point in calling Appreciative Inquiry “soft” (what oftens happens). Like playing improv, it is having the guts to go on adventure with others, and to embrace the unknown, to co-create a new reality. In real life: a better reality, which is so urgent, as felt by so many people nowadays.