Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

Appreciative Inquiry Approach Can Bring Positive Transformation in South-Asian Region

An interview of Dr. Ram Chandra Lamichhane, President, Eastern Research Institute of Positive Science (ERIPS), and Executive Director, Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB)

1. What is success and how people can achieve it in their life?

Well, literally success is the achievement of goal or fulfilment of the objectives. Life has various goals to achieve as per the situation and stages or we can say life is the ladder of success. It needs to be achieved in various stages of life and one need to achieve the success in every action to make a successful life. Everybody wants to get the success but very few of them can achieve it.


It is a gap between desire and action. Success needs the breaking of the status quo and construction of new realities. Creative ideas and innovative actions are needed for success. Thinking is the foundation of success, which determines creativity and innovation.


The creative and innovative thinking determines new desire and changed action for success. Many people in the world think based on their past experiences and limit their potential with such experiences or learning. However, life needs to move forward and that needs lots of imagination, inspiration, creativity and innovation. The analysis of the root causes of the past success and future possibilities are the best combination for success. Such analysis makes a person more creative and innovative.


For this, a person needs to have big paradigm shift of thinking to achieve the unconditional success in every stage of life. They must use their imagination power rather than knowledge. That’s why Einstein said, ‘Imagination is important than knowledge.’ In this regard ‘Appreciative Inquiry Approach’ is one of the best ways to achieve outstanding success in personal or organizational life.

2. What is ‘Appreciative Inquiry Approach’ and how does it contribute to positive transformation/achievement of success?

This is the new changed approach based on individual or organizational potential as well as strengths and imagination or vision rather than weakness and threats. It is the search of outstanding positive cores in people, organization and society.


It creates the foundation for change through inquiry of the positive cores. Changes in the life/organization begin from inquiry. It is the art and practice of inquiry of the positive cores available in individual or organizations by asking unconditional positive questions. It believes that strength of organizational positive cores reduces the negative aspects of the individual or organization. In this regard, positive questions are asked to strengthen the positive potential of individuals or organizations. It is considered as a powerful approach to bring transformation in individual and organizational performance.


It assumes that every organization has something to value even in the worst situation, if that is alive and creates stage for positive change. It invites all people in dialogue and shares their stories about their achievement and success and discovered energy for positive change. AI links such energy of the positive core directly to changed agenda. The positive core of organizational or personal life is one of the greatest resources in change management.


Connecting the positive core to changed agenda creates dramatic change in personal or organizational life. The 4 “D” cycle (Discovery, Dream, Design and Delivery) is used to apply the AI in practice. This approach is becoming popular in organizational development, development planning, business management, conflict management and peace building across cultural communities.  

3. How does Appreciative Inquiry can contribute to promoting peace and stability in South-Asian region?

The culture of peace and non-violence is a commitment to peace-building, mediation, conflict prevention and resolution, peace education, education for non-violence, tolerance, acceptance, mutual respect, intercultural and interfaith dialogue and reconciliation. Appreciative Inquiry Approach follows the whole system approach.


It searches and analyses the positive cores and connecting factors of all conflicting parties or situation rather than dividing factors. This Approach creates inspiring environment for each of the conflicting parties and empowers to pay the values for each other’s’ identity, dignity and strength and invite them all to create the common vision for peace. It values diversities as assets and discovers positive cores of each component of diversities and links them with broader peace. South Asia covers 25% of the world population and it is home to around 40% of poor population of the world.


Likewise, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity is another asset of the region. If we discover the strengths or positive cores of all these diversities, we can find immense opportunities for peace, development and harmony in the region. Peace building needs adequate positive languages and connecting factors at all levels of dialogue. In this regard, Appreciative Inquiry focuses on affirmative language and creates the harmonious and encouraging environment for peace building in the region. It ignores hate speeches and factors contributing to conflict. This approach can help to improve the intergovernmental relationship and extend harmonic relationship among the governmental and non-governmental organization as well.     

4. What is positive organization and how Appreciative Inquiry helps to get the transformative results?  

In South-Asian region we need enough positive organizations. Positive organizations fulfil all legal, social and cultural obligations of a country. They are known as good performing organizations, which can produce the result for social progress. A positive organization challenges the conventional cultures, constraints and beliefs and adopts positive, dynamic, accountable and socially profitable approaches.


The positive organization challenges the traditional mental map and inspires the creation of positive images of the society through their contribution. Due to lack of appropriate approach to unleash the personal potential the organizations’ abundant resources, talents, abilities and strengths are in hibernation in South-Asia. Appreciative Inquiry helps to discover all the positive cores and potential of the person as well as organizations and links them for positive change, which makes positive organizations.


Such unleashed potential produces the great amount of profit for society, organization and person as well, which were never thought before.

5. Who are applying the Appreciative Inquiry Approach?

This approach is getting popular in the west as well as Asian countries. In USA, US Army, UN organizations, airlines management, international non-governmental organizations, philanthropic organizations, business organizations, academic institutions, religious organizations, hotels, restaurants have been applying it. In Asia, this is a growing approach as a management tool. Government and non-governmental organizations, academic and business institutions, philanthropic organizations, community based organization have been applying this approach in their management. Nutrimental food in Brazil has earned 700% profit after application of this approach in their management. In Nepal this is popular in government, non-government, private media houses and civil society organizations.

Dr. Lamichhane is the President, Eastern Research Institute of Positive Science (ERIPS), and Executive Director, Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB). Email: [email protected] Interviewed by: Dipak Acharya, Manager, Community Information Network