Positive Organization Developement: Innovation Inspired Change in a New Economy and Ecology of Strengths



Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship, October (4th Quarter/Autumn) 2011


This article presents a framework for Innovation-inspired Positive Organization Development (IPOD). IPOD is presented as both a radical break from the problem solving approaches that have come to dominate the field, as well as a homecoming to OD’s original affirmative spirit. The converging fields that inform the theory and practice of IPOD are detailed: Appreciative Inquiry, positive organizational scholarship, positive psychology, design theory, and the rise of sustainable enterprises. The theory of change underlying IPOD is articulated, including the three stages in creating strengths-based organizational innovation: 1) the elevation-and-extension of strengths, 2) the broaden-and-building of capacity, and 3) the establishment of the new-and-eclipsing of the old. Recent work from Fairmount Minerals and the Green City on a Blue Lake initiative in Cleveland, Ohio illustrate how these stages unfold. The article concludes with an agenda for evolving the field of IPOD, calling for a focus on designing positive institutions that refract and magnify our highest human strengths outward into society

David Cooperrider

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Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University

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