AP’s recent Appreciative Inquiry work

In these challenging times it feels good to share news about our recent Appreciative Inquiry work.

We have delivered online training events for NHS organisations and for local authorities which went very well – including a mini AI programme for Leeds Children’s Hospital, and a set of courses for Nottingham University hospital. We also began a slow return to face-to-face working – including two away days: one for an NHS Scotland hospital, where we were delighted to get to know a Scottish associate of More than Minutes who did some excellent visual minutes for the event which we designed and facilitated.  The other one was for a Merseyside organisation – Irish Community Care. 

We also ran some two-day Introduction to AI courses. One was for Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine – the UK’s smallest university. 

In September we ran an open access two-day course in Little Venice London, supported by our friends at The Centre for Supervision and Team Development and joined by 16 appreciative learners – with the added bonus of being two minutes’ walk from the nearby canal.  

In November we ran two one-day courses for staff in a local authority to deepen their awareness of working from strengths. Happily, three of our recent events were in the Merseyside area, so it was great to visit old friends at the same time.


Governance reviews and organisation development 

We have worked with two voluntary organisations to support governance reviews and organisational change. The first piece of work consisted of a combination of AI interviews with trustees and senior staff as part of a governance review and relationship building project: appreciative conversations provided a useful process of building on the organisation’s successes and a road map for improving governance. 

In the other organisation we worked with a new chair of trustees to use AI questions as part of staff conversations. This organisation is going through a very challenging time and the incoming chair wished to work from the position of reminding staff about building on “what works”. Feedback from these workshops has been positive and more AI-based work including staff training is under development. These two pieces of work highlighted the impact of using carefully crafted AI questions. 


AI and safeguarding workshops 

In April 2018, Newcastle Adult Safeguarding partnership commissioned us to deliver a two-day Introduction to AI training workshop. Although they had been using AI as part of the review process, they wanted to learn more about AI and to see how else it could be used. In late 2020 Northumberland and North Tyneside Safeguarding Partnership approached us for AI training, which was delivered online in summer 2021. Finally, in November 2021 we delivered a 2-day AI workshop to South Tyneside Adult and Children Safeguarding Partnership.

Each of the training workshops required slightly different outcomes. One wanted to use AI to improve the quality of family interviews in safeguarding investigations, others wanted to use AI as part of the safeguarding commissioning arrangements and for better identification of key learning. This sequence of work has been a great example of how the “word of mouth” approach works; we also deeply appreciated the dedication of the course participants to their challenging and difficult work


IAAI developing and testing the new AI training programmes 

The pandemic and lockdown has provided the opportunity to co-create and co-design anew our AI training programme. Working with our partners in the IAAI – particularly with Fiona Thomas, of Appreciating Church – we have now finalised our new two-module Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner programme. Module one is a two-day Introduction to AI course – either delivered face-to-face or online, and module two, Deepening your AI practice, is an individual focused programme with assignments, reflective practice exercises, and communities of practice sessions. Development of module two has entailed significant design and prototyping (with existing AI students who had completed the previous three-day programme able to upgrade to module two while field testing the full programme). The first NHS module two programmes will begin in January 2022 with our AQuA partners. 

To learn more about participating in a module two programme, contact tim@appreciatingpeople.co.uk or call 07986 515237. The first NHS module two programmes will begin in January 2022 with our AQuA partners. For information about Aqua’s AI courses please contact Kayleigh at kayleigh.barnett@nca.nhs.uk.