Community Development Practice Hub

Community Development Practice Hub

The Community Development Practice Hub is a resource for people and organisations who ‘work with’ people in Birmingham so they can take collective action to make changes to things that are important to them and their communities. 

We aim to connect, inspire and upskill community development practitioners across Birmingham.

Come join us on this exciting journey, as we collaborate with the sector to offer a tailored approach with a focus on Birmingham-specific learning, challenges, and achievements.  

Appreciative Inquiry is an action research method that collects people's stories of what's strong in their communities rather than focusing on what needs fixing. Then, they can use these strengths as the starting point for creating positive change.

Appreciative Inquiry theory offers a positive approach to change, based on the assumption that positive questions and conversations about visions, values, successes, and strengths have the power to engage people in what's possible and enables them to create exciting new realities.

The core principles of Appreciative Inquiry were developed in the 1980s by David Cooperrider, Suresh Srivastva, and their colleagues at Case Western Reserve University. Appreciative Inquiry can enable a group or whole community to;

  • Focus on understanding and harnessing its core strengths rather than seeking to overcome its weaknesses.
  • Creating a vision in ways that successfully translate intention into reality and beliefs into practice.

Can I use it in my community development practice?

Yes! Appreciative Inquiry is used worldwide to bring about collaborative and strengths-based change in organisations, groups and communities.  Problems are replaced with innovation as focus and conversations shift toward uncovering the group's or community's positive core. When conversations focus on strengths, possibilities, and vision, the reality is more likely positive and inspirational. Conversely, when discussions concentrate on problems, complaints, and weaknesses, those things become more prominent and real.

The process of Appreciative Inquiry is about enabling dialogue in any context with any group. It facilitates productive relationships and sustainable outcomes, enabling all voices to be heard and can help foster healthy, trusting relationships amidst diversity and complexity.

An Appreciative Inquiry usually goes through the following four stages:

Discover – Appreciating and valuing the best of ‘What Is’. Information and stories are gathered about what is working well.

Dream – Envisioning What ‘Might Be’.

Design – Determining What ‘Should Be’.

Deliver (or Destiny) – Innovating What ‘Will Be’.

Once the AI process starts, the change is put in motion. The appreciative approach works in individual conversations or among groups such as community groups. Group members help each other often using casual stories to come together and offer a lot of inspiration.

Find out more