Conference Theme

Towards an ‘Economy’ of Connecting Strengths: Scaling-up the generative Power of AI


Over two decades ago David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva brought Appreciative Inquiry into organizational life. It shifted our attention from organizational life as “a problem-to-be-solved”, to “a universe-of-strengths”. One decade later Gallup unveiled the results of its landmark research study amongst 1.5 million people worldwide. The research confirmed the basic AI principle: a person, an organization or a larger system will excel only by knowing and amplifying strengths, never by fixing weaknesses.

Since then many people and organizations around the world have shifted their attention to strengths-based practices and leadership. This has led to breathtaking results and breakthroughs. The community of people applying AI at all levels or organizational and social life is growing continuously. Not limited by sector or continent. AI is a true global innovation. AI is changing the way that we look at change.

Finding other ways: an economy of strengths

Nowadays there are so many challenges facing our organizations, our communities, our planet and humankind. How do we embed strenght-based methods into everything we do across our enterprise and beyond? How do we scale-up? How can we extend strength-centered organizational cultures outward where it matters most: the places where value is created and experienced with customers, partners and communities of truly global citizens.

To meet the challenges of today, we must find other ways to grow ourselves, our organisations we work in, and our communities we live in. We should excel in the way we connect, learn, collaborate and merge our strengths. We must accelerate innovation and create sustainable value in a greening economy of rising expectations. The worldwide challenges urge us to scale-up the best of what is. They call for deep collaboration between people, between organizations, between business and society. This move can lead us into the economy of strengths, a truly global innovation.

The generative and connecting capacities of AI

This 5th World Conference on Appreciative Inquiry emphasizes AI as a theory and practice of connecting people and generating new possibilities. As no other process does, AI helps us to understand, to build and to enhance interconnectedness. Based upon the principles of AI and social-constructionism, new business models and organization types will emerge, more powerful and more needed than ever. It is our common challenge to bring these experiences into mainstream business, transcending and transforming old structures into coherent, resilient networks of professionals that bring out and connect the best of their capacities.

The conference offers lectures, workshops, stories and dialogues where you will learn about, share and experience truly innovative examples of connectedness and generativity. From the micro to the macro level. On the micro-level we see the power of AI in tools for the elevation of strengths. On the enterprise level, methods for the combination and integration of strengths have been applied in talent and performance management systems, and in participative strategic planning processes. AI has definitely changed the way we look at leadership and change.

On the macro level, we see ground breaking applications where large groups are designing their community practices in a way that make them connect with global needs. Positive institutions are being born and forming a truly global network.

The conference itself is also a meeting place to connect with people from all over the world and bring together and explore stories of connecting and generative practices.

We welcome successful insights through the application of AI and other strengths-based change methodologies at three different dimensions of connectedness:

  • Personal and team scale: Connected to self and others: transformational personal change and relational practices.
  • Organizational and cross-organizational scale: Connecting multiple actors. Establishing connect across sectors, across organizations, across stakeholder groups to finf new forms of organizations based on healthy interdependences.
  • Scale of the whole: Emphasizing a systematic perspective and by generating sustainable futures in large scale systems. Building positive structures and institutions that esthablish “glocal” connections: aligning local actions with global needs and challenges, whuile developping new ways of organizing.

In all cases, the AI practitioner chooses a systemic and appreciative standpoint, while being in a mode of inquiry.

Let us embrace an optimistic look at exciting advances in AI and related practices. Let us bring out the best in human beings, our organizations and institutions, our ecosystems and the whole of mankind. Let us scale up the generative power of positive change methodologies like AI to create connected thinking, action and improvement!

3 Responses to Conference Theme

  1. […] Conference Theme | World Appreciative Inquiry Conference 2012 Please read an overview of Appreciative Inquiry as it is described in the 2012 World AI Conference Theme Source: […]

  2. […] AI  conference is held every two years.  This year will be the first time in Europe, in historic Ghent, Belgium.  Two years ago, it was Kathmandu, […]

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