What could a Discovery interview look like?

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In some ways, it seems a little odd worrying about this ‘detail’ at an early stage.  But I’m finding it difficult to talk about the bigger picture without trying to get a first ‘cut’ of the ‘design’ of the initial interviews.  Using the word ‘design’ reminds me about issues of the ‘design turn‘, which I must come back to in more detail later.  But for now, what do I mean when I say ‘do an AI interview’?

Ludema, Cooperrider and Barrett (2006, 161) provides an appreciative inquiry protocol for a large scale organisational change initiative.

Drawing from that I can make it suitable to a ‘partnership’ level appreciation, rather than just an organisational one.  I’m thinking of ‘partnership’ as working with two or more people from outside of your own organisation and/or usual professional networks.  This may or may not include local people.

So first stab for later improvement

Think of a time in [your experience of partnership working for wellbeing and health] when you have felt most excited, most engaged and most alive.

What were the forces and factors that made it a great experience?

What was it about you, others and [the partnership setting] that made it a peak experience for you?

What do you value most about yourself, your work and [partnership working]?

What are our [best partnership working practices]? (ways we do it, approaches, traditions)

What are the unique aspects of [you and your culture] that most positively affect the spirit, vitality and effectiveness of [partnership working]?

What is the core factor that ‘gives life’ to [our partnership working]?

What are the three most important hopes you have to heighten the health and vitality of [partnership working] for the future?

Adapted from Ludema, Cooperrider and Barrett (2006, 161)

At a ‘raw’ level it seems to translate across quite well – swapping use of organisational terms to partnership terms.  I’ve yet to do more reading about A.I case examples so I am sure to come across more interview protocol examples – but this is at least a start to mull over.


Ludema, J.D., Cooperrider, D.L. & Barrett, F.J., 2006. Appreciative Inquiry: the power of the unconditional positive question. In Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (Ed, 2006) The Handbook of Action Research. London: Sage Publications, pp. 155-165.

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