What is an Appreciative Interview?
“Inquiry is intervention“- David L Cooperrider
The Appreciative Interview has been described as ‘the heart of appreciative inquiry’. It is the key activity of the Discovery stage.
Appreciative Interviews are designed to collect rich qualitative information in the form of stories which carry a wealth of meaning, and sometimes a powerful emotional charge, rather than dry quantitative data consisting of figures and statistics.
The aim is to uncover the forces which give life to the organisation.
Why Appreciative Interviews?
- Appreciative Interviews are based on an agreed “Affirmative Topic” so are implicitly positive
- Appreciative Interviews gather new information about what is already working well and contributing to the success of a given topic
- Appreciative Interviews raise people’s morale by valuing their own personal experiences and contributions, making them more open to change
- Appreciative Interviews raise the sense of what is possible in anticipation of the Dream stage
- As they tell their stories and associate into their own positive reference experiences, people are more likely to come up with fresh insights than if they are asked for abstract lists of principles.
- You can actively engage large numbers of people at all levels of the organisation as Appreciative Interviewers, helping them to understand people in different roles and at different levels in the organisation better, and to internalise an appreciative mindset.
The key factor in Appreciative Interviews, I believe, is this: the assumptions and positive language built into the questions influence both interviewee and interviewer towards a more positive state of mind.