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Posted 12.30.08

Weatherhead's Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB) is partnering with EU regional governments, businesses, and social profit organizations in Belgium to create a learning network focused on "Individual and Organization Development Based on Talent and Inspiration."

In October, 100 people from more than 50 private, non-profit, social economy, public administration, and educational organizations met to develop ways for organizations to elicit the talents and strengths of their members, and from that, become stronger as a whole. A key leader in the project is Ron Fry, Chair of Weatherhead's Department of Organizational Behavior and Co-Chair of BAWB.

The imagined Learning Network will be open to people in organizations who want to investigate and appreciate individuals' strengths, power, and talent. The Appreciative Inquiry (AI) method—developed at Weatherhead by Fry and David Cooperrider—will be a starting point for action projects.

Moving forward, teams will meet approximately every month with AI coaches. A "design factory" is planned for late January 2009 to accelerate the projects, and another three-day intensive network learning workshop using AI is planned for mid-year, 2009.

"This is an exciting evolution from our AI Certificate Program for Business and Society Benefit," said Fry. "The learning network vision began with wanting to transform how marginal groups might re-enter the work force, but has expanded to create a positive impact on an entire region by discovering and developing strength-based practices to tap into the potential talent and inspiration of all individuals."

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