For the CDATA project we decided to use the change management methodology ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ (AI) to steer our project.  Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a powerful and extremely successful tool which focusses on the positive deviant; however, after much discussion and planning prior to implementation (based on previous uses of AI), we decided to slightly adapt the methodology.  Reason being, when asking people to look for the ‘best’ or identify ‘what is working’ they are inclined to find it challenging, as people tend to innately list negative opinions – a much easier task.  In the past when staff heard us say ‘let’s hear all about what you like and what you think is working well’, they automatically got defensive and though ‘but we have negative feelings too’ and then automatically assume from here on in we are going to push things under the carpet whilst wearing a pair of rose-tinted glasses (Pollyanna effect).  With this in mind, we decided to develop a novel composite methodology for the purposes of this project – ApprecHATive Inquiry – combining AI with the work of Edward de Bono and his Six Thinking Hats; for the purposes of our project however we only wanted to involve the negative black hat.  We identified that if stakeholders ‘released’ their negative thoughts at the door, so to speak, via physically writing all negative feedback on post-it notes and sticking them to the black hat, they felt more represented.  It also made them prepared for the workshop and in a different mindset, ready to proceed forwards and embrace AI.  A quick 10 minute hat activity at the start of each workshop had significantly positive consequences; we believe this has been fundamental to the success of its implementation.

Using this composite technique, we  hosted a series of ApprecHATive Inquiry workshops to collect data from our stakeholders regarding the current Approval in Principle (AiP) process.  Therefore, we thought we would dedicate a section of our website to the workshops!


A collection of useful Appreciative Inquiry links

Mind Tools Toolkit – a great website giving a good overview of Appreciative Inquiry.

AI history and detailed review of the fundamentals   – very interesting video with a great introduction explaining the history, its Worldwide applications and the research behind Appreciative Inquiry.

Appreciative Inquiry Handbook – an informative book, which also contains case studies, worksheets and presentation materials.

AI brief overview – A great short clip explaining all about Appreciative Inquiry which we used in the workshop to explain the methodology to stakeholders.


Useful downloads from the ApprecHATive Inquiry workshops

ApprecHATive Inquiry workshop approach – How we hosted the workshops.

Workshop presentation – Slides used during the workshops.


Photos from the ApprecHATive Inquiry workshops


Prospective poster


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