Appreciating People started in Liverpool over ten years ago and now works regionally, nationally and internationally, recognised as AI experts in the community and public sectors. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) lies at the heart of all our work, which helps businesses, communities and the people within them become more resilient, effective and creative. We work locally and globally across the public and private sector, schools, charities and community and voluntary groups. Whilst no two projects are the same, there are many common themes in the work we do, which is anchored around our strength-based approach, and geared towards enabling conversation, communication and engagement.
Broadly speaking, our work divides into four key areas: providing Appreciative Inquiry training and facilitation and thinking partner services, where we combine the roles of consultant, facilitator, adviser or coach, to bring fresh and experienced perspective to a situation. We also provide organisational development, facilitate community development, develop AI training materials and create resilience and wellbeing journals across a variety of sectors.
We use a range of techniques and approaches – including Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, World Cafe, AI summits and Open Space (OST) – to help identify and build upon an individual or organisation’s strengths, which we use as the starting point for future development or change.
As a result of our skills and experiences, we’ve produced a number of resilience workbooks and AI training guides, which are available from the shop area of our site. These AI training guides provide excellent practical take-aways from our training – many of our participants have already started sharing our material with their colleagues before the training has finished.
We have been part of a pan-European team on a Grundtvig-funded project Sharing strengths, developing communities alongside colleagues in Italy and the Czech Republic. During the two year project we visited Prague and Turin, shared learning across the three countries and visited wonderful local community projects. July 2014 saw 17 dedicated people visit from both countries, hosted by our Liverpool partners, St Andrews Network and Anfield Breckside Community Council (ABCC). .
We linked the visit to the International Festival of Business, and invited Alison McGovern MP, then Shadow Minister for International Development, and Niamh Goggin, social investment specialist and Big Local advisor, to speak at an IFB seminar. Our final visit was to Prague in 2015.
Our international work includes: AI training for Scio – an educational organisation in Prague who partnered with us in an EU-funded project ; training a group of business consultants from Cebano in South Africa; and facilitating a conference in Denmark.
We’re an active member of the international AI community, attending the three world Appreciative Inquiry Conferences since 2009, presenting papers and workshops on several of our projects. We have presented at a number of conferences in other industries, including the Chartered Institute of Housing, a number of health related workshops in the UK, and an international community development conference in Prague called ‘Come on Community’.
We’ve established a multi-lingual partnership, SparksWork, with our colleagues in Spain, Italy and Belgium, which shares practice and identifies and delivers international projects. Our training materials have also been translated into Spanish, with a French translation pending.