The Poetic Principle

As mentioned in our previous post about Appreciative Inquiry, the Constructionist Principle deals with the stories we are inspired to tell about our lives, our organisations or our communities.

The Poetic Principle builds on this by saying that we are also constantly rewriting and reinterpreting those stories.

For example imagine a school in which most of the students struggle with reading and writing.

One teacher’s story might be that life’s possibilities for these young people are limited and that teaching them is a struggle.

Another teacher may share a different story about passion for seeing students succeed and focusing on their strengths and resilience.

Everyone in that school has a choice about which story they want to adopt or tell.

The Poetic Principle also says any organisation will have a ‘collective story’ that is influenced by all the different stories and interpretations of the individuals within  it.

And just as we can appreciate the richness of different interpretations of a poem or book, we can also appreciate the value of each person’s interpretation of our organisation or community story.

Changing the collective story involves freeing our imaginations and the imaginations of those around us. And rewriting our stories gives us the opportunity to create positive change.

How open are you to rewriting the story you tell about your organisation?


Footnote: Next Appreciative Inquiry post: The Simultaneity Principle

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