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Appreciating David Cooperrider

Appreciative Inquiry has left its mark at Axiom News — and so has David Cooperrider personally

The first time I met David Cooperrider I shared how Appreciative Inquiry helped us understand why Generative Journalism was creating constructive change for our clients, and how it deepened our practice. We’ve been framing our inquires and stories with the help of AI for over 10 years. In that moment he invited me to write a chapter in an upcoming book. His readiness to expand the circle and be inclusive was inspiring.

In years since David has supported ongoing storytelling as an element of post-summit infrastructure. In Cincinnati I was stunned by his ability to allow a design team of 50 or so people to completely stall and stay in their inquiry. I thought I was watching a disaster. I asked David if a change of strategy might be in order: rather than coming up with a system-changing calling question, maybe we ought to start with enlivening the independent strengths in the room. While pensively watching the room struggle he shared with me how a community needs a point outside of its current reality to bring those strengths into motion and collaboration. We’ve been conscious of the use of ‘points outside the system’ in our inquiries ever since.

Over lunch one day, a day in which David was incredibly generous with his time, we were discussing the work of discovering strengths in people, organizations and systems as an approach to constructive journalism. He said, it’s about even more than discovering strengths these days, it’s about discovering where the energy is in a system. Another clinker. Where is the energy in the system? In this story? In our inquiries and questions?

We’re no United Nations, we are a small firm focussed on grassroots stories. David has made his mark even in the small places like this one and he’s done so directly.

When I heard that Champlain College was opening a centre for Appreciative Inquiry I couldn’t help but be appreciative.

You can comment on this blog below, or e-mail peter(at)axiomnews.com.

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Peter
Pula

Peter Pula has been exploring the pathways to social evolution since founding the Grassroots Review in his hometown of Peterborough in 1992. Since then he has served on the boards of civil society and arts organizations and served as board president on two of them.

He has been actively involved in federal politics and led a corporate communications firm. Axiom News was incorporated under his leadership in 2009 and went on to establish the practice of Generative Journalism in an international arena.
 
In 2015, Axiom News founded and funded the Peterborough Dialogues in its hometown. The Peterborough Dialogues hosted over 350 deep community dialogues, established and refined hosting arts, and has had lasting impact in the Peterborough community. For this work in community, Peter was awarded the 2017 Brian L. Desbiens Community Service Award by Fleming College after being nominated by his peers and members of the community.

In 2018, also in Peterborough, Electric City Magazine was acquired to marry local media capacity with citizen-led dialogue. Peter is now gently cultivating dialogue and media collaboratives.

Peter works in support of deep democracy and passionately but lightly-held spaces for citizen-led community development. He believes that artfully hosted dialogue and generative media making are together a necessary social innovation for cultivating local-living abundance.

Peter is an artful dialogue host, newsroom director, team leader, mentor, trainer, and consultant. He can be a supportive force in the cultivation of initiatives in your community, network, or organization.

He has been invited to host dialogues, summits, workshops, and learning circles in Canada, the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and most recently in France.

If you would like to enjoy an exploratory conversation about engaging Peter in appropriate ways to enliven or enlighten your initiatives, you can reach him directly by writing to peter@axiomnews.com.

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