Shift your Paradigms with Appreciative Inquiry


Module 3

Shaping the beautiful story of your never ending Change


Welcome to the third module of this course.

Let’s do a quick recap before we dive into two new principles of AI that help us give form to our new reality.

Till now we learned about where the term paradigm shift comes from and in how far it is more profound than “just” a new habit, a new invention of a product or innovation of a process. You then discovered what shift you want to see in your life and deepened that inquiry in the buddy and the closing call.

In the 2nd module we started playing and applying the Principles of Appreciative Inquiry to your identified challenge. The Simultaneity Principle made us aware that the questions we ask are fateful and that the moment we ask them they initiate change on several aspects simultaneously. With the Anticipatory Principle we got a powerful tool at hand that allows us to create intentionally the image of the future that we want ot inhabit.

In this 3rd module we now get to know the Poetic Principle and the Positive Principle of Appreciative Inquiry that will help us shape our own story and weave it into the every changing world in and around us.

Practical information

We look forward to seeing you then at the end of the module for our closing call at the 22ndth of February 2023 at 16:00-17:30 CET. You can join the call via this link.

If you have any questions in between, please contact us via mail ( &/


Lesson 1:

The Poetic Principle


The Poetic – or Open Book – Principle makes us aware that there are endless ways to look at one and the same situation. Influenced by the culture you grew up in, the self-concept you hold, what happened to you this morning, etc.,  you see the world and your challenge in a particular way. Another person with a different past, and cultural background, worldview and perspective might see the same challenge in a very different way. In other words: there are as many truths as there are people on the planet – probably even more.

What the poetic principle additionally does, is encouraging us to choose what we want to study; to consciosly pick the perspective out of the many possible ones that brings you one step further. If the current perspective you have on our life and on the challenge you face, makes you feel stuck: what would be a different perspective you could take, that brings you back into flow?

Exercise: Ask 3 different people; your buddy/partner/ a friend or colleague:

What is your perspective on the paradigm shift you want to make?

And if you cannot put the paradigm shift into words yet, ask them, what their perspective is on your challenge.

Having these 3 different perspectives now, ask yourself:

Which of these perspectives serves me and the change I want to see best, which perspective do I want to choose?



Exercise: Apply what you just learned about Positive Principle:

  • What is the most compelling, inspiring question that you can ask yourself with regards to your change project?
  • What elements (that you want to put into your question) do pull you forward towards the change you want to see?

Lesson 2:

The Positive Principle


The Positive Principle of Appreciative Inquiry reminds us of the power and attraction positive questions can create. Change is something that is demanding for people and can create stress and resistance. To cope well with these demands and to deal constructively with the stress and resistance, so small or large scale change can happen, we need strong bonds – to the topic and amongst the people being involved – and large amounts of positive affect. These are best generated by positive questions. Why? Because they can both infuse us with hope and remind us of the ressources that we have available.

Bonus: to learn more about the power of positive affect, their affect on our physical, psychological, social and intellectual ressourcefulness, you can dive into this article by Barbara Fredrickson

Lesson 3:

Celebrating what’s rigth in the world

This is a beautiful TEDx Talk by Dewitt Jones puts beautifully both the Poetic and the Positive Principle of Appreciative Inquiry into words, pictures and practice. In minutes, you’ll rediscover the wonders and possibilities that surround us everyday just waiting to be noticed and celebrated.

Lesson 4:

On the intentionally formulated questions that help us spiral upwards.

As you heard us share in the previous film on fatefulness and faithfulness, the questions that we ask have a profound effect on the change process. You want to create both a safe structure (fateful) and allow for emergence, not forcing for a specific outcome (faithful).

Let me take you on a walk to explore a little bit further how we can create the safe structure by intentionally formulating questions


Lesson 4:

Creating Appreciative Questions


Let’s get practical! You’ve been learning through the previous lessons about the power of questions and the attractive force of a powerful image of the future. In this exercise here, we are going to bring those two things together and learn how to formulate a set of appreciative questions.

You can take therefore your image of the future from the previous exercise  (meditation on your image of the future) as your intention from which you start.

Vera will guide you step by step through the process, share with you the elements that make a powerful question that helps you (or, if you facilitate a process for someone else, e.g. a client, to help them) to move out of your current situation and towards the desired future. The invitation is to apply this knowledge to your challenge and create a set of appreciative questions to help you move beyond your current level of thinking. This will be your input for the buddy call.

We wish you lots of joy and plenty of insights in doing so!

Lesson 5:

Experiencing the magic of your own creation

As already shared before: our invitation for this learning journey is that you apply what you learn about Appreciative Inquiry to a question or a struggle in your life that you are dealing with right now. You have been just doing that by creating your own set of appreciative questions that address your challenge. Now it’s time to answer them.

Take 20min to journal by answering your own set of appreciative questions from the previous exercise. While you do that note for yourself:

  • How does the process change my feeling about my own challenge?
  • How does this process alter my thinking about myself and my capabilities to change my situation?
  • How is not only the change area I focused on in my question affected but other areas, people,.. too?

Take your question and the insights you gained into the buddy call.

The Buddy Call

Before we meet in the large group for the closing call of each module you have the possibility to digest and deepen your understanding of the material you learned about during the module. You do that in a call of 1h with your buddies.

The following script is a suggestion for you for a 60min call with your buddies. It helps you as a group allocate the 60 minutes effectively to dive deeper into the topics. It also helps you to give each of you equal time to speak and listen. You are of course free to make your call longer or shorter as you wish. If you do so, make sure everyone has approximately equal time to listen and to share.

  1. Take 10 min for a check-in to help yourself and each other to land in the circle. Two possible check-in question can be:
    – on a scale from 1-10: how do I feel today?
    – on a scale from 1-10: how happy am I with my progress with the course material?
    -> decide who’s going to be the time keeper in the group
    -> decide who’s starting with sharing
  2. Now the first speaker takes 7 min to share:
    – What is your appreciative question that you crafted?
    – When you answered it for yourself: what happened in you?
    – How did the question and the answers you found move beyond your current level of thinking?
    – What insights that you get that helped you in addressing your personal challenge?
    For the listener(s): listen closely to what the 1st person has to share, when the 7min are over: take 2 min to reflect upon what the storyteller said and how you can relate to the feelings and insights your counterpart shared. What images, feelings in your body, etc. came up when you heard the first person share? How do you see the simultaneity and the anticipatory principle being lived in the story you just heard?
    Kind reminder: It’s not your sharing time yet, to come up with your own topics, but an opportunity to reflect upon what the first storyteller shared.
    The first person that shared my then take another minute to share what s/he takes from the reflection of the listeners.
  3. Then change roles and and share again following step 2 in now in the new role constellation (10’),
  4. Repeat that pattern, if you have a third buddy in your group.
  5. Now start an open and free flowing conversation, inspired by what each one of you has shared and heard from the steps 2-4.
    Is there any topic that you’d like us to go deeper in the closing call of this module, then please feel free to send a mail at
  6. Before your call ends (around minute 55 of your call) : take 5 min to check out:
    – put the timer on 1 min and be together in silence
    – in this one minute of silence that the 1,2 or 3 words come to you with which you want to close the call:
    – share these 1, 2, or 3 words with one another to close the call