The Heliotropic Principle
Sunflowers in the bud stage move towards what gives them energy and life. At sunrise, the faces of most sunflowers are turned towards the east. Over the course of the day, they follow the sun from east to west, while at night they return to an eastward orientation.
This ‘heliotropic’ principle has been applied to Organisation Development, by an innovative approach to organising called ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ (AI). The idea is that people move towards what gives life and energy.
AI is increasingly being recognised as a positive approach to developing communities and organisations. It is a technique for engendering change by unleashing positive energy amongst people. Research has shown that focussing on what gives life (rather than the problematic) can lead to ‘human floushing’ in communities and organisations alike.
Recriminations have well and truly begun after the recent troubles in our wonderful City. My sense is that we shouldn’t dwell too long on finger pointing and blame. Rather, we need to create a momentum for change by re-imagining community life in our conurbation. We can start by asking what life-giving initiatives can offer hope and help transform our beleaguered communities.
One group of people working for this kind of change is ‘Imagine Chicago’ . I really think they are on to something worth looking at:
a city where…
… young people are leading the way forward … public schools are thriving community learning centers … neighborhoods and institutions work together to share ideas and resources … and all citizens recognize and apply their talents to create a positive future for themselves and their community