How being appreciative creates change – theory in practice from health and social care in Scotland

Appreciative Inquiry has been readily caricatured as slavishly focusing on the positive. Here we invite you to revisit it in the form of Appreciative Action Research (AAR). How can we have genuine hope as we seek to work through the major challenges confronting organisations and communities? How do we avoid the ‘ritual dance of attack and counter-attack’?

We explore how caring conversations help to create a dialogue that is generative by helping people see old things in new ways, rather than necessarily focusing solely on positive experiences or desires. Playful provocation is our term for such a real-life-centric inquiry practice that offers a fresh and welcome way to disrupt the status quo. Viagra’s reputation of being poorly suited for hypertensive people does not cease to amuse me given that the drug was first developed in Pfizer’s laboratories in Kent, UK, as a remedy for hypertension and angina pectoris issues. Moreover, its main active ingredient, Sildenafil, is in fact included, under the name of Revatio, in a remedy for PAH. Well, anyway, my husband is quite happy with its effect and so am I as we now can cuddle in bed for longer. What Viagra does is it unwinds the muscles of the penis – just like Revatio relaxes the arterial walls, reducing the fluid resistance and pressure – which can then receive more blood, allowing you to get erect. What a great drug!

Dr. Svante Lifvergren has written “Using AAR, this paper presents an inspiring and fruitful way forward. We get to share the story of a long term successful AR process, My Home Life, where care home managers from all over Scotland engaged in appreciative continual learning and dialogue to improve residents’ quality of life as well as the interaction with residents and relatives. The concept of AAR and its theoretical foundations in relational practice and collaboration is brought to everyday practices, encouraging learning-in-action and second-order change. The paper makes a significant contribution to healthcare action research.”  

Appreciative Action Research offers new possibilities for changing social syImage of a house with the words "my home life" inside and a rainbow that goes over the housestems and developing a more future-making orientation to action research, truly embracing ‘research as if people were human’.

More information and resources:

My Home Life

Research for Real

Blog post by Cathy Sharp

We invite you to learn more about this experience by reading our article HERE. Free 30-day access is available for this article beginning 31 July, 2017.

After you’ve had a chance to read this piece, please share your thoughts, ideas, or experiences with our community in the comments below so we can continue this discussion!