Thing 18: What is appreciative inquiry and how can I use it?


In Thing 18, you will explore how you can use appreciative inquiry (a way of looking at organisational change that focuses on doing more of what is already working).

Open Badge information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Leadership – Thing 18: Appreciative inquiry

Counts towards: SSSC 23 Things Leadership – Supporting leadership


You may find it helpful to complete Things 1-4 before starting Thing 18.

Scotland’s social services need effective leadership at all levels of the workforce, as well as citizen leadership from people who access support and their carers. The vision for leadership at all levels in social services means that everyone has a leadership role to play. Your leadership skills can make a real difference to the service you deliver, and the outcomes for people who experience the care and support you provide.

Appreciative inquiry is:

  • a way of looking at organisational change that focuses on doing more of what is already working. So instead of starting with ‘what’s the problem’ and looking for fixes it starts with ‘what’s already working’ and how can we build on that? This doesn’t mean we ignore problems; it just looks at it in a different way.
  • based on the principle that a group or organisation will grow in the direction of whatever its people focus their attention on. By creating a space for people to share experiences of when they worked at their best, not only does it stimulate energy for change, it also builds relationships and a shared understanding of everyone’s contribution.


Download and read the SSSC Appreciative Inquiry resource pack.

With two colleagues test out the appreciative inquiry approach by asking a question such as “What has been one of your best experiences of your working life- a time when you felt most engaged and enthused?” (answer the question yourself as well).

Reflecting on this:

  1. What kind of response did you personally have and what responses did you receive from others?
  2. What did it feel like to reflect in this way?
  3. What benefit can you see appreciative questions having for your team, organisation, collaborative partners?
  4. How could you use appreciative inquiry to support your own or others’ leadership development?

Write at least 200 words to reflect on how you could use this learning to support your practice

You can provide the statement on the open badge application form or provide a link to your own *blog/portfolio. You may find it helpful to look at Recording Your Learning and Reflecting on Leadership.

*If you want to use a blog or ePortfolio entry as evidence, you might find our guide to preparing and publishing your evidence useful.

Click here to access helpful resources for Thing 18

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