Going Beyond Positivity

It can be quite a challenge: delivering a keynote speech on the final day of an intense conference, the 2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference April 25-28. Not a problem for Dr. Gervase Bush and Dr. Ron Fry. They picked up some burning questions that were buzzing throughout the gathering, starting with the one about “positivity.”

It’s about action
Their focal point is generativity. As Ron puts it, “The most amazing aspect of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to me is that it always sets people in motion. Few begin an AI summit wanting more work to do; nearly all leave having volunteered to new cooperative action. Something happens: we call it generativity.”

What is it? Ron describes it as, “The moment that a connection happens that leads to more than a new idea or an insight; when the connection sparks actions. So that people don’t wait for the next meeting, or until someone else does something. They do something themselves. People start up a new business, try out a new approach, get other people together… That, to me, is the true AMAI!*-factor of AI.”

Beyond positivity
“Have you noticed,” Ron and Gervase ask the audience, “how appreciation often trumps inquiry? Or, how positivity frequently becomes an end unto itself in AI processes? In such cases, people go away energized, but it doesn’t lead anywhere. Positivity does attract, but sometimes we get lost in it.”

What they’re looking for is processes that spark self-initiative, when people act without being asked, told, invited, but just start up and get into action. So, for Ron, the question is really, “How do we make generative connections, interactions that bring a feeling of energy, aliveness and potential? That lead people to create more and new things.” Read Full Article>>

Written by: Saskia Tjepkema, writer for Axiom News, on May 1, 2012

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