Appreciative Inquiry is something which I was exposed to from the time I joined SOIL. We were partnered with our fellow class mate and asked to inquire them appreciatively.
Even thought I was aware of what appreciative inquiry was, my understanding of this concept was not completely clear. I always wondered whether it had any negative implications.
Snehal madam’s session on Appreciative Inquiry on 19th of September 2012 was an eye opener and it cleared most of the doubts which I had on appreciative enquiry. We had a whole day session on appreciative inquiry with loads of activities, games and quizzes.
Initially we started with an activity where we were supposed to pair up randomly with our partners and inquire them based on the question which Snehal ma’am had described to us before each activity.
I had initially paired up with Sujatha for the question, ‘What is AI according to you?’ In response she told me that AI is mostly recognising the state of mind of another person by empathising with their feelings & positively responding and correlating to them.
My partner for the second question, ‘Your experience of conducting AI with the alumni?’ was Kanika. And, her response for this question was that she initially faced trouble in reaching out to her AI partner, Shantanu Srivatsava. But later when she got his time and had the chance to interact with him, she found out that he was a very cordial person who readily shared information with her.
My partner for the third question, ‘What according to you is the negative aspect of AI?’ was Neetika. And, according to Neetika, the negative aspect of AI was that it lacked quantitative scalability and thus would not be effectively applicable in corporate world where every outcome is measured against some metrics.
My partner for the fourth question, ‘What does Lord Ganesh & the festival Ganesh chaturthi symbolise?’ was Ritika. And according to her, Lord Ganesh is a Hindu god symbolising knowledge. And the festival of Ganesh chathurthi symbolises a ten day procession which involves bringing home an idol of Lord Ganesh, offering prayers and sweets to him & then at the end, immersing the statue of the lord into a lake for welcoming him the next year.
After all these activities, Snehal ma’am explained to us the actual meaning of AI and how it is something more than just bringing out the positive aspects of our partners. We further discussed about the Glad, Sad & Mad aspects involved with the employees of a large scale organisation. Before attending the session we were asked to take up a survey on happiness. And at the end of the survey each of us were scored in section of three happiness levels based on our choices. I was rated 3.18 in the section Pleasant life, 3.28 in Good life and 4.00 in Meaningful life.
Snehal ma’am explained to us the meaning of each level of happiness. Pleasant life signifies the state where our material needs are fulfilled. Good life signifies being engaged in activities which an individual is passionate about. Meaningful life signifies a purposeful life which is led by values and morals. An individual leading a meaningful life has higher dreams and purpose to help others selflessly.
We were divided into groups based on our scores for meaningful life and we were asked to define meaningful life and we were also asked ‘What kind of images came to our mind when we thought of meaningful life?’, followed by many other questions. I was in the group which signified intermediary level of meaningful life. And it was quite amazing to see how our answers coincided with the personality traits which ma’am described for each group.
Later, we were introduced to the five principles of happiness namely, Constructionist, Principle of simultaneity, Poetic principle, Anticipatory principle and Positive principle. We also learnt about the 4D model which involved Discovery, Dream, Deliver and Design.
At the end of the session we were given a case study ‘Will BBC become the world’s most creative organisation?’ For this activity we were further divided into groups of nine students. It was an amazing experience to work with my team mates under time pressure.
Overall, the session was very informative, interactive & interesting with fun filled activities.