Appreciative Inquiry Training – participant feedback

AI Champions Programme –  Open Course Oct 2016, St Asaph

What worked well for me

  • The incremental way the concepts of AI were integrated into the learning process for all concerned.
  • An excellent team dynamic developed due to the way the course was structured.
  • If you want to learn to think outside the box this is the course for you.
  • Using group participants’ experience strengthened the learning outcomes.
  • Met interesting people who are committed to change

Mary Sheehan – Provincial Health Care Manager, The Spiritons

The training course was a very enjoyable experience with a varied, motivated, interesting and skilled group of people. Also a very experienced facilitator, who had a good way of managing us as a group – safe and with humour! I learned a lot about AI and am inspired to start using (parts of) it in different situations, and to keep learning more about it and related topics.

Marjo Moonen – CEO Partnership Organisation

I enjoyed the course a lot. Roger helped the group to feel comfortable and secure and we worked well together, asking honest questions and making constructive comments to support each other’s learning. Good blend of theory, practice and discussion. I feel eager to implement AI in my work and am glad I decided to invest the time in learning more about it. I would recommend this course to others who want to try a new approach.

Carol Gibbons – Strategic Involvement Lead

I valued the learning approach that was participatory and inclusive. The theoretical aspects of the course were handled in a relaxed, yet highly effective way. This enhanced my experience and helped me better understand and absorb the concepts of AI. There was a sense of fun and openness in the group that made this an enjoyable and constructive experience. Would recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to think differently and unlock the potential within their organisation.

Tony – Ministry and Spiritual Development Facilitator.

  • AI is an exciting way of looking at life generally
  • AI is a really inclusive way of operating
  • AI can be used on its own and/or to compliment other approaches
  • Roger has developed the AI course to suit attendees and continues to adapt each programme in a very organic way
  • Looking forward to using my learning within the organisation and with partners

Jan – Families First Programme Officer

I found the course interesting, informative and of direct practical use. I feel like I have a clear idea of how I can go away and start to apply AI in my work. The 3 days was well structured with a good balance between theory, application and reflection. The venue was appropriate with good lunch and bad coffee! I am pleased to finish 3 days of training feeling energised and excited rather than drained!

Director – 3rd Sector Sustainable Solutions

Loved the course. Well paced and interesting. Challenging and thought provoking. Learnt a huge amount with lots of questions. Excellent course, well delivered and thought provoking – highly recommended. Course was right length with good mixture of teach and activity. Will take AI away and use on a weekly basis. Will recommend to others as a matter of course.

Mike Lewis – Hawliau

A very enjoyable experience that provided a great environment for learning about the topic of AI. It is a great process that is applicable to both organisations and individuals. Want to make the good into great? Then AI may very well be the method to achieve that.

Aftermarket Manager.

What worked well

  • Good space for group conversations. Enjoyed the amount of time given to ‘getting into the group space’ each day. This was useful for explaining and bonding.
  • I didn’t struggle to understand the AI process being taught by taking part in AI exercises. Possibly because I’m used to training/facilitating. I like the method used here and found it helpful to experience from a user perspective.
  • The range of materials was informative.
  • Good cohesion was developed with the group.
  • Excellent space for asking questions and getting clarification. Facilitator created a great environment for this.

What could have been done differently

  • I would have liked the opportunity to have tried out leading some AI process. How feasible would it be to include this in future events?

Mairi McTaggart – Employee Development Advisor

 

Customers, Communication and Marketing Team – Local Authority – 3 day AI Champions Course Oct 2016. Provided in response to a request for AI training, business development (doing) and team building.

Training and doing

Coming into it on Day 1 – quite an ‘alien’ concept. Went home with all the theory in my head – head spinning and feeling quite overwhelmed…. However – On day 2 things became clearer, settled into it and ‘got it’ – living the dream and moving into design. The more concrete stuff on day 3 resulted in all of it making sense. Came away thinking that it can work for our team. The team have really made it a great experience and Roger’s style really worked (relaxed but got us to really work). My journey over the 3 days… ‘from totally confused to totally convinced’!

Plenty of variety of tasks – group work / pairs / listening as part of a group. The variety kept me engaged all day and plenty of change helped me focus. Excellent informal, relaxed delivery. Pace of course felt unhurried. I really felt that our understanding of the content was of paramount importance to Roger. I never felt rushed through theory or content.

I found the approach a brilliant mix of relaxed and very informative. Three days were definitely needed in order for the penny to drop. I look forward to using this approach and seeing positive change in our team. The ‘doing’ really cemented the training elements for me. They weren’t easy, however, they were fun and created a great energy within the team, as well as some ‘aha’ moments like the power of words such as ‘profound’ and the use of Provocative Propositions.

Relaxed and flexible approach, allowing freedom to follow threads of conversation / thoughts, but then come back to the ‘plan’. Did not feel hurried – well paced. Really liked the variety of tasks and exercise – kept us focused and energised. Workbook content useful but could be better order / content page – kept having to search for stuff. I like the positive approach as a way to develop / change / solve problems. Took me a while to get past the theoretical and see how it can be applied to the real world – but I see it now!

Initially I found it difficult to relate theory and practice to my work environment, but by the third day was able to appreciate I could ‘pick and mix’ elements of the process to adapt to specific situations and I think I will find this very valuable. The overall knowledge has given me a good background. Really enjoyed sharing profound experiences and listening to others. Really good to be part of something with my colleagues, that didn’t necessarily link to our work. Good to be part of a team in the learning process.

Good programme of training. I now have a firm understanding of the AI process and can see how the process can be implemented the work place. Great opportunities for team working and sharing experience. Exercises were relevant to what we were trying to achieve. Liked the balance between theory and practical. Delivery of the course was interesting and appropriate. Pitched just right.

Well spent 3 days – theoretical and interactive sessions well balanced. By ‘doing it’ gave credibility to the learning. Taking part in activities related to the programme made it ‘more real’ and proved it does work. Flexibility to apply in ‘portions’ to chosen areas.

The training was clear and understandable. AI gives us a good framework around which to hang our positivity. The practical and real projects that have emerged have really helped to embed the learning. They will also help this to be sustainable and re-enforce the learning. Thank you very much.

Very high standard. Relaxed and informal manner. Brought out the best of the group. Varied and interesting. Consistent. Really enjoyed all of the participation. Challenging in a good way. Has created agreed concrete actions between officers.

Clear focus on the 5Ds kept us on an even keel the going got tough. Final presentations (by the group) embedded the learning. Well paced – plenty of time for questions and clarification without indulging in being too ponderous. Reflecting on the doing was essential. Very positive and creative process. Constant swapping of groups kept the group in line with one another, which meant that everyone shares all the outputs. Lots of positive actions identified in order to create the change.

Team building

Incredibly valuable to spend such quality time with managers from other departments, some of whom I have never met before. I definitely feel a more involved member of CCM now rather than part of a library team.

I feel this has been a really useful insight into my colleagues, as I worked with the whole team and really enjoyed doing so. This is hopefully the start of a great team.

This is probably the biggest benefit that I can see immediately. Such a good way to get to know other team members, within a framework / purpose, but with a creative / playful element. Loved the buy-in by everyone from the start and the supportive ‘can do’ atmosphere. Thanks for a very valuable (if exhausting) 3 days!

A good start to coming together and more opportunities to meet out of the office would help us build on this. A day away from the familiar helps us to consolidate ways forward and reflect on why we do things in a certain way.

Provides a way of working which could provide some consistency within the team. ‘One thinking’ unified approach.

This has been a really successful and enjoyable way to build our team. I look forward to us coming back together in November to rekindle this and consolidate it. Working with a buddy will also build on this.

Really good. Some joint actions agreed. Feel much more familiar with my colleagues across the service.

 

AI Champions Programme –  Open Course Oct 2015 in St Asaph

This is a great 3 day course which provides a fresh, inspiring and highly effective approach to moving forward in a positive way. It promotes a great way of ‘taking people with you’ in any team or organisation and could be applied in individual circumstances. The course itself is a very good mixture of theory, supportive hand-written material and group/pairs exercises. It is led in a responsive way which covers the materials without feeling pressured. Instructors are very clear and the whole process is very supportive. I would recommend this to colleagues.

Annon

This course has been extremely enlightening and has helped put some of the current training and practice into context. It has also been very positive learning new techniques and particularly the interactive element of the course supported application and gave me confidence to take this approach back to my own work place.

Vicky – Regional Commissioning and Development Manager Substance Misuse

A great opportunity to look at ‘problem solving’ in a new and positive way – turning it on its head – recognition that problems are a desire for something else. Together we can create that ‘something else’.

Angela – Social Work Team Manager

An informative, thought provoking three days that clarified the theory and practice of AI. It has left me feeling confident about applying the approach.

Sean -Consultant Nurse – Dementia & Honorary Senior Lecturer

Following the completion of the 3 day course I feel confident to begin the process of using AI. This has been a varied and thought provoking 3 days that I am sure will have a lasting benefit in my professional practice and further studies.

Ian – BCUHB

Here be no monsters

Mark – Locality Manager BCUHB

The Appreciative Inquiry course in October was perfectly timed as we embark on major changes to the way we work. Instead of asking people ‘what is the matter with you’ we are asking ‘what matters to you’ and in order to do that in an effective and meaningful way we need to engage and engage well. AI provides us with a process and framework to achieve that. So thank you for a very enjoyable, interesting and varied training programme that enabled me to have confidence in my application of AI. The seeds have been sown…

Mel – Partnership and Development Manager

My ‘dream’ for the course was that I would come out of the 3 days with skills, knowledge and confidence to run an AI process. I would say broadly, with a bit more reading and thought, I do have that. Going through the process ourselves and then reflecting on it was a good approach. My one improvement would be an increased level of participation and ‘success’ on the first day. Could some of the theory and tips be discovered ourselves (as in the third day presentations)? Roger valued contributions by everyone, was patient and clarified contributions too. Given the difficulty of having a diverse group from different organisations I thought you enabled us to learn what we needed to.

Jan – Development Worker – Mind Your Heart

Thank you for an interesting course. I found working in groups helped to make the process clearer but also was a little light relief.

Shan – CPN OPMH Team

Small group work/pairs worked well for diverse feedback. Beneficial to network and hear of experiences from colleagues in other agencies – interesting that issues/problems are similar. Would have found a general introduction to AI useful at the start as I come in with little / no knowledge, so took some time to link in. Also found Delivery Stage was limited/omitted to finish process off? Good 3 days – looking forward to trying out at work.

Anon

Thanks for an enjoyable and interactive course. I feel I have a much better understanding of AI and how I can apply and embed it into the work of my organisation.

Alison – 4C’s Manager

Content – just about right, not overwhelming
Venue – perfect
Handouts – easy to understand (with facilitation)
Food – excellent
Homework – appropriate amount
General – An unusual subject that was taught in an understandable format and of value for future use – thank you

Andy – BCUHB

I really enjoyed the course in terms of content, mixture of theory and practical assignments; the participants and real world application. There’s a real variety of approaches that suits different learning styles and interests. It’s a lot of work, but feels worth it. It also feels like something new, which is really exciting.

Dafydd – Wellbeing Planner

 

Cardiff training in 2013

‘In a world of improvement so full of ‘chaff’, it’s nice to find a bit of ‘wheat’ – this course has been both inspiring and practical. The facilitator has a very pleasant and relaxed style that makes the learning process very engaging, interest has been maintained from beginning to end’.

Nick Andrews, Research & Practice Development Officer,
All Wales Academic Social Care Research Collaboration (ASCC)
Swansea University

‘An interesting, positive and exciting two days of training. This will help with our process of transformation as a process to follow. A welcoming group of ‘like-minded’ colleagues with whom I felt comfortable to share experience’.

Julie Burroughs
Transformation Manager
Swansea County Council

‘AI offers an opportunity to engage with people about what really matters to them. The course clearly set out the philosophy, principles, theory and methodology to apply this exciting development to a wide range of work and organisational situations. I particularly liked the flexible, relaxed and personal approach to the course by the facilitator RR. This use of real example brought to life the theory and in particular the Dream element, which has enlightened my thinking about the potential use of AI’.

Simon Jones
Performance and Improvement Officer
Swansea County Council

‘A useful approach to foster engagement and positive thinking to ensure we don’t ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ when re-designing services, tackling issues etc. I’m sure I will be using it a lot especially the Discovery phase.

Louise Williams
Workforce Development Manager
Powys LHB

‘Delivery – Good pace – clear – kept us thinking about training environment and questions to consider.

Content – Took us through AI in a systematic way with good explanations of each phase of the process and allowed for conversations and sharing.

Environment – temperature could have been better but really not a problem. Food and refreshments good’.

Ann Elliot
Leadership, Coaching and Team Development Manager
Cwm Taf University Health Board

‘Love the AI concept. Have been using some of the methodology without knowing about AI. Very happy to place this in a theoretical practice based on accepted research. Would have liked more time to see how AI could be applied to design elements within the social architecture of the organisations. I want to use it in the introduction and design of performance management. Will keep in touch on practice within LinkedIn group. Thank you for having me on the course’.

Cynthia Appiah
Director
Nu Social Health Organisation (Nusho)
London

‘Found it informative and a real sense of relief that I now have a process to ‘hang’ the work previously undertaken on. Can’t believe how well this fits with the person centred ‘Life after Stroke’ work undertaken. It was useful to have a ‘live’ idea to follow all the way through – with helpful tips/comments on how to deliver whilst experiencing it at the same time. Two days was fine and great fluidity within the time’.

Michelle Graham
Programme Manager
1000 Lives Innovation Unit
Public Health Wales

‘Many thanks for a stimulating, entertaining and informative two days – 5* stuff’!

Duncan Williams GP
Hywel Dda University Health Board

‘AI provided a structure for progressing change. The focus on the positive throughout makes you think differently and broadens your horizons to what can be achieved. Having no knowledge of AI, the two days provided a strong foundation / basis that has triggered my interest and stimulated me to want to find out more. A really useful course’.

Wendy Morgan
Assistant Director Quality and Safety
Public Health Wales

 

Northants Social Services and Training Dept in 2014

I went into this training ‘cold’ with no idea what to expect. I have enjoyed the process, especially the opportunity to work with other NCC colleagues and experienced AI in action. Now I feel inspired! Thanks Roger

“What’s worked well?” – such a simple question but changes the whole conversation – thinking, team thinking thereafter. We are so used to solving problems as fast and effectively as we can that we often don’t capture the learning or appreciate what was good about the situation, the people, the outcomes for people.

Excellent learning and given ‘food for thought’. Been very busy and active. The interaction between the group has been very positive and it was good to get to know some of the participants better. These days were well managed and there was good attention to detail. The challenge now is to maintain momentum.

Very informative training days. I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t rushed. Time to reflect and have really constructive discussions. I liked the fact that we all felt we had something to take back to our teams.

Appreciative Inquiry makes perfect sense! This 3 day curse takes you through the 5Ds, step by step, giving you the opportunity to understand the theory, practice the practice and create plans for the future. A worthwhile course which will influence my practice and therefore influence those that I work with.

A challenging course, both in personal reflection and initial understanding – but well worth it. The learning and ideas realised by the end of the course are positive and powerful and will make a difference to many aspects of working and personal life.

This course comprehensively covers the 5Ds in the AI approach ensuring that you are positive and confident in applying these to your actual work role.

The 3 day AI course brought AI alive to me by linking the theory to the practical application. It filled in some of the gaps for me and helped me make sense of the whole process. It has inspired me to think about ways I can use AI more creatively in different situations at work.

Dear Roger and Wick – Appreciative Inquiry in Northamptonshire has just been given a massive boost by your input with us over the last 3 days. The time spent with colleagues beginning to understand the concept and the behaviours of the approach make me more optimistic than my previously half full lens. Specifically the positive re-framing – the power of the story telling – the inclusive and equality based contributions have re-affirmed my own beliefs and value base. Thank you for your time, energy and for sharing your knowledge and experience – and for acknowledging mine.

Fabulous course for a deeper delve into the AI model. Development of skills in using the model to work with groups, generating energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to commit to making a real difference and sustainable change – built on appreciating the great stuff already happening.