Appreciative Inquiry

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In the fall of 2000, the World Bank Institute (WBI) presented a challenging evaluation task to EnCompass–to develop an evaluation methodology for its two primary training programs. WBI training programs were under increasing pressure to demonstrate results from both the internal evaluation unit and external donors. The desired outcomes of the training programs, however, had not been clearly defined and some of the workshop managers were hesitant to commit to the evaluation process.

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As evaluators have increasingly experimented with integrating Appreciative Inquiry in evaluation, none has applied an appreciative evaluation methodology to study the impact of a full Appreciative Inquiry process in the context of an organization and community. This article presents what we believe to be the first contribution to the literature in both the AI and evaluation fields of just such an evaluation. It examines how elements of AI were successfully incorporated into an evaluation that assessed the results of an AI change process.

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This forward-- by former EnCompass CEO Laverne Webb-- precedes a special edition of the academic journal AI Practitioner. The theme of the edition was applying Appreciative Inquiry into evaluation via case studies and assessments. 

You can purchase a full copy of this edition at this link to the AI Practitioner website.

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This case study, published in Consulting Today, was written by EnCompass President Sherry Rockey and former EnCompass CEO Laverne Webb. The article illustrates the successful application of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to aid the Dubuque, Iowa Housing and Community Development Department in mediating disputes about housing policies with landlords in that city.

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"David Harris, the Director of the City of Dubuque’s Housing and Community Development Department, is a strong and committed leader who has been able to accomplish remarkable changes by forming collaborative partnerships that embrace Appreciative Inquiry (AI). This story presents a strong case for how an AI process has been sustained over time in local government through committed leadership and exceptional partnerships."

 

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Reframing Evaluation Through Appreciative Inquiry is the first book to introduce the application of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), an approach for organizational development and change, to the practice of evaluation. Authors Hallie Preskill and Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas lay out the theoretical foundation of AI and build a bridge between the theory and practice of applying AI to evaluation.

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Uncover the answers to frequently asked questions about applying Appreciative Inquiry to an evaluation practice. Find answers to questions such as: “What are the benefits of using Appreciative Inquiry in evaluation?” “Does Appreciative Inquiry create positive bias in the evaluation methodology?” “Does Appreciative Inquiry veil problems and push people to see only what is good?”

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