Inquiring

Most of my work is based in forms of inquiry that are collaborative and participative that focus on making sense of and learning from experience and action. These inquiries can take a wide range of forms.

The underlying approach, though, has been influenced by the long tradition of action research (more specifically action inquiry), by Edgar Schien’s notion of ‘humble inquiry’ and by the broad-ranging critique of social sciences that has emerged most strongly over the past twenty years.

If we decide to work together I might, for example:

  • Come in and “interview” a number of people to quickly capture their sense of what’s going on in relation to a particular issue or challenge.
  • We might decide to gather staff or customer stories about a particular program, service or issue using using a Participative Narrative Inquiry approach or via a SenseMaker project.
  • Alternatively, you might simply need me to backtrack through a range of documentation or data and then help you to make some sense of it.
  • I might also help you put together an internal team to engage with staff and/or clients and make their own inquiries.

Really, the possibilities are almost endless!

Wherever possible I will work with you to engage and collaborate with others in your organisation, so that the process of inquiry has a developmental possibility embedded in it. Hearing the views of others, especially on issues that are important, is a particularly powerful way for leaders to be drawn out of constraining views about how to make progress.

Most importantly any inquiry work I do with with you will be geared toward helping you work out where to go and what to do next. In more formal terms, to take timely and wise, practical action. I assume that most of the issues and dilemmas and challenges leaders in organisations seek help with aren’t technical problems with known solutions but adaptive challenges that require emergent and ongoing responses.

For more information or to discuss your particular situation please contact me.