The Five AI Elements

Over the last year we’ve delivered AI workshops with a huge range of clients and collaborators, from schools to churches, health and charities. From this experience, we realised that five key components were required for an Appreciative Inquiry intervention to have maximum impact. Five ‘vital elements’ of the appreciative process need to flourish to support the use of the key AI tools (the appreciative conversation, the 5D process and SOAR). You can download a copy of the Five AI Elements from our resources section.

AI graphic

These ‘vital elements’ are: conversations, cooperation, co-creation, co-design and continuation. Without these elements, the AI process doesn’t have life and vitality, and struggles to become generative. A useful way to understand these elements is to see the AI tools as a set of recipes, and the five elements as the staple ingredients – you can add other ingredients, but without these ‘staples’, the recipe won’t work.

“I like it. It gives me food for thought for my conversation with a hospital that has asked for me to facilitate an AI intervention”

Anita Sheehan, Impakt Coaching

We’ve tested this concept recently in a number of workshops and with a small number of AI practitioner colleagues, and response from both participants and practitioners has been very positive. The diagram above summarises the essence of each of the five.

Conversation: This relates to the importance and value of paired and/or group conversations.  These use generative questions to foster dialogue, establish a ‘trust field’, build on the foundations of shared and existing strengths, and explore times of peak performance and success. Such conversations create the space for change, identify possible opportunities, and lay the foundations for collaboration and creativity.

Cooperation: This recognises the importance of working together throughout the AI process, using the whole system to create a common future path. It means ensuring all voices and ideas are heard and that the vision for the future is ‘owned by all’. Cooperation lays the foundations for co-production – a vital element, especially of the design and destiny stages.

Co-creation: This refers to collectively identifying the future vision, sharing ideas, and using imagination to develop the future intentions, and provocative propositions or future frameworks.

Co-design: This is about encouraging prototyping, co-production and ‘design thinking’, based on the intentions that emerged from the Dream stage. It engages everyone in creating the arrangements for Delivery and Destiny stages.

Continuation: This recognises that it’s an ongoing process of building on the intentions, supporting the actions and frameworks developed, trusting the system, encouraging reflective learning and evaluation and supporting flexibility and agility. Continuation includes embedding these five vital elements as the future norm.  It also includes celebrating the successes.

“It’s a really useful checklist and helpful reminder”  

AI training course participant

The Five AI Elements concept has been co-designed and co-created with our international partners Inspiring Partners (Spain), Impakt coaching (Belgium) and Active Change (Italy). We’re happy for you to share and develop these ideas…