The ‘Definition’ stage of Appreciative Inquiry is where you get everything ready to conduct your Appreciative Inquiry process.

It’s the bit that’s taken as a given when we talk about the 4D model – the cycle of Discover, Dream, Design, and Deliver that you might go through when you conduct an Appreciative Inquiry meeting or summit – but it’s a vital part of the whole process, and you can’t rush straight in without it.

The Definition stage is where you plan what your Appreciative Inquiry is going to be about, the scope of the inquiry, who is going to be involved, how long you expect it to take, and so on.

The larger the scope of your Appreciative Inquiry, the more planning you need to do. For large scale organisational change, you will need a steering group, made up ideally of volunteers from different areas and different levels of the organisation, so you get some diversity of opinion and viewpoint.

You will also need at least one person that knows what they are doing with Appreciative Inquiry – it could be you, or someone from within the organisation who has used AI successfully before, or maybe you get an external consultant like me in to help you.

Very importantly, for large scale change, you need a sponsor in your steering group – someone senior with decision making power and a budget who can stick up for your Appreciative Inquiry project, if necessary, in the senior leadership team.

We’ll talk more about the practicalities of implementing an Appreciative Inquiry process later. As we are primarily talking here about working with teams and small groups, we’ll focus on that for the moment.

Most importantly, the Definition stage is where you define your affirmative topic or topics for the inquiry. Next, we’ll examine what makes a successful affirmative topic, and show you a quick and dirty way to formulate affirmative topics, even if you’re starting from a problem.

Can you learn how to facilitate Appreciative Inquiry processes from an online course?

It turns out you can, as long as the course is live and interactive!

I know this because I’ve run six Practical Appreciative Inquiry courses online with great feedback from participants. 

The next training starts soon – find out more and book your place here.

Appreciative Inquiry: What Happens In The Definition Stage (video + transcript)

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