When something needs to change, first look at what already works well in the organization. Appreciative inquiry is about recalling moments of success to create new energy, a sense of commitment and renewed confidence. Use your past wins to inspire change.

The 5-D Cycle Strategy is used for brainstorming, process improvement, problem solving or data mining. The central idea is that this model is continuous. Organizations that continue this cycle of learning will keep the focus on successes and keep reviewing the ‘frame’ they operate in, thus avoiding danger of missing data that no longer fits the frame.

Define: Topic of focus or scope of discussion. What’s the right topic/scope of the inquiry?

  • What do we know so far/still need to learn about ______?
  • What assumptions do we need to test or challenge here in thinking about ______?
  • What’s missing from this picture so far? What is it we’re not seeing? What do we need more clarity about?
  • If our success was completely guaranteed, what bold steps might we choose?

Discover: Current state. Identify the best of ‘what is’.

  • Think about a high point for you, your team, or your organization, when you felt most effective, engaged or alive. Describe how you felt, and what made the situation possible.
  • Without being humble, describe what you value most about yourself, your work, your team or your organization.
  • What are the key elements that make you, this team, or this organization function at its best? Without these factors it would cease to exist.

Dream: Future state. What ‘might be’.

  • If you had three wishes for your future or the future of your team or organization, what would they be?
  • What can you continue doing to keep the momentum?
  • What can you begin doing to move toward your greatest desires?

Design: Future state details. What will be.

  • Who should be involved in this work?
  • What are the deliverables of this work?
  • How will it impact you, the team or the organization?

Delivery: Tactical next steps/launch. Create the future you have collectively envisioned.

Busting Assumptions: This tactic is helpful to avoid group think or limiting a team’s ability or effectiveness based on assumptions that may not be true.

  • What are assumptions?
  • A set of beliefs shared by a group that cause the group to think and act in certain ways.
  • Assumptions are often on an unconscious level.

Conditions and considerations if assumptions are in place:

  • The longer the belief is in effect, the harder it is for the group to see any new information that contradicts the belief.
  • ·When faced with similar situations, a group will just act and does not re-evaluate each time.
  • Groups have a large number of assumptions operating at an unconscious level.
  • ·Groups may fail to see new data that contradicts their belief and they may miss an opportunity to improve their effectiveness.
  • If we emphasize what is wrong or what is missing, we tend to see everything through that filter or frame.

 To Learn More: