International Journal of Appreciative Inquiry


My AI Journey: From Learner over Practitioner to Contributor – Claudia Gross

During my AI Introduction training, I experienced the magic and power of the AI interview myself. Ever since, I have been eager to provide a similar experience for other persons.

What is the most memorable experience of your work in this team?

In the Discovery phase of team building retreats, I love asking this question to connect the participants with their team at its best. Based on sharing their stories with colleagues, they can dive deeper to discover their key strengths, core values, and three wishes for the team’s future. Presenting these outcomes afterwards and having an exchange on them is always an eye-opening experience filled with deep insight and connection. We co-create our future.

Two years after my initial training, I attended an AI for Strategic Planning training in London (coinciding with the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt where I live, but that is another story). There I had the chance to add some practical methods and approaches to my AI toolbox.

Imagine it is Saturday morning 2018…

This time journey is one of my favourite questions when facilitating strategic planning workshops. It unfolds its magic best when presented slowly, with a certain fairy story-telling tone of voice. Once the participants have done their time-travelling, I ask them to write down individually all the changes they can feel, see and hear. Those post-its or cards will serve in the working groups to develop a newspaper page, filled with their future successes and achievements. If we can dream it, we can make it.

When in your life have you felt most joyful and energized at work?

This is the opening question of my initiative Human-Centred Organisational Governance, and it certainly is inspired by AI.1 On the quest for finding another way of working, I collected many practice-oriented activities individuals can bring into reality right away in their teams and organisations.

The activities can be checked online in the form of two source lists and lead to an instant analysis. It is important to note that they are formulated in a generative language, focusing on what we want to experience more of (with only few exceptions that state what not to do). The purpose of this initiative is to bring humanity back to work and co-create meaningful and life-giving workspaces around the world. “Work is love made visible.” Khalil Gibran

Is it dangerous to hit the deadline?

Makes one wonder, right? Questions like this one are part of my initiative speakGreen that provides a new emerging vocabulary for the authors of the future: us. With highlighting the green alternatives, it focuses attention on what we want to have more of, expressed in almost 700 posts so far, which have led to over 12,000 “likes”.

Wouldn’t it be wiser to focus on “Peace” instead of “No War”, telling people to “stay confident and optimistic” instead of “don’t worry”, and engage to “increase employment” instead of “decrease unemployment”? And then you might opt to drop deadlines and speak of due dates or big days instead. Express the change you want to experience in the world.

Dr. Claudia Gross

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