On Tuesday June 25th David Cooperrider, Faculty Director of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, delivered the Keynote address at the "Happiness and its Causes 2019" conference in Sydney, Australia. In this keynote David Cooperrider explored the proposition that the quest for a flourishing earth is the most significant positive psychology and workplace happiness opportunity of the 21st century—and that when people in organizations work toward building a sustainable future and flourishing world they too are poised to thrive in ways that elevate innovation, their own and others flourishing, and workplace well- being. Put another way, corporate citizenship or doing good “out there” is not only about satisfying external stakeholders, it is core to individual flourishing and organizational success inside the workplace. Shared value creation and shared well-being might well reinforce and work reciprocally, which then raises a far-reaching exploration: what is the link between advancing sustainability for a flourishing Earth, with the interdependent flourishing of the human side of enterprise? And how might the new scholarship on “positive institutions” shed light on this important but under-researched dynamic? How, precisely, might an organization’s quest for sustainable value bring out the best not just on the outside—helping to advance a better society or world—but also bring out the best on the “inside”--in the happiness of people, the finer quality of relationships, their health and well-being, their performance, and their capacity for growth, resilience, and positive change in their lives?
Using data from over 2,000 appreciative inquiry interviews into “business as an agent of world benefit” and tools from the Cooperrider-Godwin new 8-stage P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E change model, David shared a myriad of rich and powerful stories but with just one overarching conclusion: there is nothing that brings out the best in the human side of enterprise faster, more consistently, or powerfully than calling a whole organization to design “bright green” and “net positive” solutions to humanity’s greatest social and environmental challenges.
About David Cooperrider:
David L. Cooperrider, PhD, is Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University and holds two chaired professorships: Char and Chuck Fowler Professor of Business as an Agent of World Benefit and the Fairmount Santrol - David L. Cooperrider Professorship in Appreciative Inquiry, both at the Weatherhead School of Management. David is the faculty Founder and Director of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit and is also the Honorary Chairman of Champlain College's David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at the Robert P. Stiller School of Business. Last year, David received "The Lifetime Achievement Award"--the highest honor in his field of Organization Development—for his work on the discovery and design of positive institutions and his advancement of our understanding of “the organization dimensions of global change.”
David is best known for his original theoretical articulation of "AI" or Appreciative Inquiry with his mentor Suresh Srivastva. Today AI's approach to strengths-inspired, instead of problematizing change, is being practiced everywhere: the corporate world, the world of public service, of economics, of education, of faith, of philanthropy, and social science scholarship-it is affecting them all. Jane Nelson, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Leadership recently wrote, "David Cooperrider is one of the outstanding scholar-practitioners of our generation."
David has served as advisor to prominent leaders in business and society, including projects with five Presidents and/or Nobel Laureates such as William Jefferson Clinton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan, and Jimmy Carter. David advises a wide variety of corporations including Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Verizon, Hunter Douglas, Cleveland Clinic, National Grid, Smuckers, Clarke, Fairmount Minerals, McKinsey, Parker, Dealer Tire, Webasto, and Wal-Mart as well as the Navy, Red Cross, United Way of America, USAID, United Nations, the Global Compact, and hundreds of international private voluntary organizations (the GEM project.) David is also a founding Board Member of the International Association of Positive Psychology, the Taos Institute, and a Fellow of the World Business Academy. Early in the growth of the UN Global Compact David was called upon by Secretary General Kofi Annan to facilitate (using Appreciative Inquiry) the largest summit in history between business CEOs and leaders of government and civil society. It was one of the high point moments in David’s career with reverberations that continue around the world.
David has published 25 books and authored over 100 articles and book chapters. He has served as editor of both the Journal of Corporate Citizenship with Ron Fry and the current academic research 4-volume series on Advances for Appreciative Inquiry, with Michel Avital. In 2010 David was honored with the Peter F. Drucker Distinguished Fellow award. David's books include Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change (with Diana Whitney); The Organization Dimensions of Global Change (with Jane Dutton); Handbook of Transformative Cooperation (Stanford Press) Organizational Courage and Executive Wisdom (with Suresh Srivastva); and The Strengths-based Leadership Handbook (with Brun & Ejsing.) David's work has received numerous awards including Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning by ASTD; the Porter Award for Best writing in the field of Organization Development and the Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer Award in the domain of Sustainable Development. In 2016 David was named as one of the nation's top thought leaders by Trust Across America, and honored as one of "AACSB's Most Influential Leaders in the Field of Management."
In perhaps the highest recognition, Champlain College's Stiller School of Business honored David's impact with an academic center in his name. Opened in 2014 it is called the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, and David serves as its Honorary Chair. For the center's dedication Professor Marty Seligman, the father of the positive psychology movement wrote: "David Cooperrider is a giant: a giant of discovery, a giant of dissemination, and a giant of generosity." Likewise, Jane Dutton, University of Michigan thought leader and former President of the Academy of Management said:
"David Cooperrider is changing the world with his ideas and who he is as a person. There are few who combine such insight, inspiration and energy."
David is the founder of the Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit—it was launched in partnership with the UN Global Compact and with the Academy of Management. Its mission: a world where business can excel, all people can flourish, and nature can thrive. David’s most recent research study focuses on “The History of Business and Human Well-being.”