Initially Appreciative Inquiry (AI) seemed a little too positive for me. I think there is a lot to learn from negative experiences. It seems that a lot of filmmakers are trying new marketing techniques, and many of them are not working, and to know what does not work would save a lot of valuable time and money for other filmmakers. But I am also beginning to see the value of AI. Though some people tend to like to gripe about what is wrong with the system, the ones who are moving forward are the ones who are focusing on the positive. Seeing what is working well, what is working a bit, and seeing how that information can be used to move forward.
In this book it is claimed that AI works because it liberates power, unleashes individual and organizational power, brings out the best in people, encourages them to see and support the best in others, and encourages cooperation and innovation. All of which seems kinda good.
They describe the process as follows:
(I recognise that the DREAM and DESTINY headings seem a bit corny, I’m going to assume they felt it was important to have them all start with D)
Appreciative Inquiry utilizes a cycle of 4 processes focusing on:
- DISCOVER: The identification of organizational processes that work well.
- DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.
- DESIGN: Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.
- DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.
Basically you focus on what works rather than ‘problem solving’. Build on strengths rather than focusing on faults and weaknesses. It also doesn’t stop when things are working well, but rather continues to strive to be even better.
Certainly new technologies are bringing a lot of positive options to independent filmmaking, opening up a range of doors that may help level the playing field between large productions and independent films. Focusing on the doors that are closing doesn’t help indie filmmakers move forward.