When we use our appreciative eye more than our evaluative eye, be prepared to be surprised. Our appreciative eye opens us up rather than shuts us down. The more we look for what works in a situation, they more we'll find what does.
Engaging with others through an appreciative inquiry is underpinned by a number of guiding principles, the foundational one being that we are all active participants co-constructing our world together. Wow, what a responsibility that is! I am co-constructing my world as I engage with it. Big responsibility to make it work for me and others!
A strong second principle is what we focus on grows. The more we focus on what gives life and energy and success, the more we'll find it ….. everywhere and in everyone.
I'm currently working with creative people, helping them transform their art form into interactive, dynamic content for iPad apps. First off, they are passionate about their work and/or their message, whether it's photography, filmmaking, writing, painting or leading in some way. We work with them, not only to help transform their existing content into this new, exciting interactive medium, but we engage with them to bring the very best of who they are as artists and leaders. We want to know what excites them, what inspires them, what else they aspire to? How do we do that? We seek to discover the stories behind the work. We do it in a particular way.
Here's an Example.
We have just completed an iPad app, entitled FilmOneFest. It's for a an actual film festival of one-minute films. Yes, one-minute. Imagine the talent it takes to tell a compelling story on film in one minute. Our vision for the app was to have more than just a list of one-minute films that you could see on You Tube or Vimeo. We wanted the world to learn more about the artists and their visions for their art. We wanted to give greater context and meaning to the content in the app that the users could connect to.
We invited the filmmakers of Film One Fest to respond to the following questions.
What has been a real high point point for you in creating this film?
What excites you about your submission to the One Minute Film Fest in 2011?
About One Minute Films:
As you think about one minute films, what kinds of possibilities are there for this medium?
What does it mean to you particularly?
If you think about the gifts and skills you bring to film-making, what do you find energizes you most?
Say a little about what inspires you or compels you in your art form. It could be subject matter or people, and in what other ways are you inspired?
What are your aspirations?
What's your biggest dream as a film maker?
What are you working on now, or what are you aspiring to do next?
What else do you want us to know about you and your work?
The responses to these question were fabulous. They are documented in the FilmOneFest app and they enhance our appreciation of the artists and their art.
These questions are developmental in nature, they help to bring new connections and new possibilities. We connect at new and deeper levels. They are generative because they help build new insights and we experience the co-constructive nature of our relationships in action.