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What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Europe’s Energy Earthshot will bring together the European energy system in a radically collaborative design process, underpinned by a methodology known as Appreciative Inquiry.

Appreciative Inquiry employs a positive, strengths-based approach to finding common ground and accelerating collective action. It is neither a top-down nor bottom-up change process, but a whole-of-system approach.

Appreciative Inquiry connects the strengths within a system. It is about all stakeholders and draws on the knowledge that a system will thrive when its strengths are aligned and amplified — not simply when weaknesses are fixed or mitigated.

Communities of leaders have successfully used Appreciative Inquiry in a range of contexts, including creation of the UN Global Compact Principles, development of a greenhouse gas reduction roadmap for the US dairy industry and citywide economic empowerment in Cleveland, Ohio.


Have a look at how Harley-Davidson applied Appreciative Inquiry to community empowerment efforts in its hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

How does it work?

Participants brainstorm, iterate and co-create in a process of rapid prototyping — of ideas and initiatives big and small. Action plans are then developed for each "prototype": next steps are defined and shared accountability established. Participants self-manage their progress and leverage inquiry, rather than problematising, as the main tool.


Appreciative Inquiry fosters discovery and co-design rather than assumptions and predetermined solutions. At its heart, the approach forges alignment and seeds multiplier effects. It is a search for common ground that supports ambition raising and a shared vision. Facilitators apply a global, historical lens to prompt future-facing discussion.


Europe’s Energy Earthshot

An Appreciative Inquiry design process is not an educational event, policy summit or traditional conference. Across the three sessions of Europe’s Energy Earthshot, participants will recognise strengths (discovery), articulate ambition (dream) and co-create paths forward (design). Importantly, the goal is to yield tangible, actionable initiatives that can be adopted by the system and brought to life — leading to real, sustained impact (destiny). Appreciative Inquiry can summon the urgency, alignment and momentum needed to catalyse Europe's energy transformation.

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