Organizational Development – a definition


My view of Organizational Development

In 2002, when I did my training as a coach at Adler, the fundamental approach towards our clients was respecting the strength of the individual’s creative power and viewing the individual holistically (as a system). It seemed a natural next step to embrace David Cooperrider and appreciate inquiry and focus on his draft definition of Innovation Inspired Positive Organizational Development as:

“a strengths-based approach to organizational innovation and change that is

(1) appreciative inquiry-driven, searching—in the new action research AI way—for
everything that gives strength and life to the organization and its ecosystem of stakeholders when it is most alive;
(2) innovation inspired, focused on establishing the new and amplifying widespread assets or constellations strengths (systemic positivity) for transformational purposes—positioning an enterprise for distinctive breakthrough leadership in their domain
(3) informed by the theory and technologies of the positive human sciences, especially social constructionist thought
(4) an embodiment of heart of OD values: collaborative designing, the spirit of inquiry, and positive assumptions about human systems,
(5) seeking to build positive institutions that are increasingly exceptional at the elevation of strengths, the connection and magnification of strengths, and the extended refraction of our highest strengths into society;
(6) for the purpose of any important innovation or change agenda including the positive design of new products and services, new business models, organizational cultures, customer and stakeholder relationships, strategic planning, organizational learning, building high engagement workplaces, creating mergers of strength, designing information systems, positive metrics, project start-ups, business model development, alliances and partnerships, benchmarking networks, lean and green operations, starting new industries, building economic regions, and advancing sustainable economies addressing the global, trans-boundary agenda for change—in short, anything in organizational and societal life that can benefit from a strengths-based approach to innovation as change.”

Positive Organization Development:
Innovation-inspired Change in an Economy and Ecology of Strengths
David L. Cooperrider and Lindsey N. Godwin
August 10th, 2010