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5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About Appreciative Inquiry with Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell — DT101 E111

This episode of the Design Thinking 101 podcast is 5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About: Appreciative Inquiry. Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell are co-presidents of Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting.

Listen to Learn About

  • Appreciative inquiry’s ability to generate hope and help people be creative
  • Using generative questions to unlock people’s imaginations and focus on the positive
  • How appreciative inquiry can help teams in trouble work through conflict
  • Ways we can all start to use appreciative inquiry

Our Guests

Portrait of Jeanie Cockell Portrait of Joan McArthur-BlairJoan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell are Co-Presidents of Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting. They profoundly believe that education is the most powerful force for social and economic good in the world. Together they have more than 50 years of experience in higher education and have taken that experience to build a consulting practice. They specialize in collaboratively designing strategies to surface the wisdom of individuals, groups and organizations in order for them to build positive futures and to respond effectively to change. They have co-authored many articles on resilience, leadership, appreciative inquiry and published two books, Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: A Transformative Force and Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness.

Show Highlights

[02:42] An introduction to appreciative inquiry. [04:30] The power of appreciative inquiry. [05:36] Building bridges from the strengths we have to the better futures we want. [06:08] The emotional strength appreciative inquiry can help us nurture. [06:51] Asking good questions and focusing on strengths. [08:22] How appreciative inquiry helps us better examine our complex world. [09:48] The origin of appreciative inquiry. [10:43] You get more of what you focus on. [13:18] Problems are yearnings. [14:10] Design is a critical component of appreciative inquiry. [14:29] The simultaneity effect. [15:44] Putting design into action. [17:14] “Don’t create anything without me.” [18:53] Using appreciative inquiry to help groups and teams work through conflict. [19:08] Creating the appreciative climate. [19:23] One of Jeanie’s and Joan’s favorite exercises. [20:11] Creating the agreement by which the team will work together. [21:42] Generative questions unlock imagination and possibility. [25:01] Using questions to help organizations find their strengths and chart their own path. [26:40] The power of a compelling vision. [29:50] Making sure everyone can see themselves and their place inside the vision. [32:34] Taking a look at the “do it phase,” the “destiny” of appreciative inquiry. [34:24] An organization’s strategy doesn’t sit on a shelf, it lives and changes all the time. [35:54] Codifying the plan. [37:28] Carrying appreciative inquiry out into the larger world. [38:42] Appreciative inquiry creates hope. [39:58] How Joan and Jeanie define hope. [42:14] Joan talks about why she became involved in appreciative inquiry. [44:05] Jeanie and Joan offer advice and ways everyone can start using appreciative inquiry in their work and their lives.


Joan on Twitter Jeanie on Twitter Joan on LinkedIn Jeanie on LinkedIn Joan on The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus Jeanie on The Taos Institute Joan on The Taos Institute Jeanie on The Appreciative Inquiry Commons Joan on The Appreciative Inquiry Commons Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting The Taos Institute: Dialogue with Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell UBC Education Alumni: Joan McArthur-Blair A Brief Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry by Dr. Jeanie Cockell Appreciative Resilience Facilitator Training – register for April 2023 course

Book Recommendations

Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey Through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness, by Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: A Transformative Force, by Jeanie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair

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5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About: The Opioid Overdose Epidemic (Part 1) with Stacy Stanford — DT101 E102 5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About Hacking Bureaucracy with Marina Nitze — DT101 E106 5.5 Things Every Designer Should Know About Positive Childhood Experiences with Robert Sege — DT101 E110

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