Appreciative Problem Solving

Publication: Research - peer-reviewArticle in proceedings – Annual report year: 2012


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Many industrial production work systems have increased in complexity, and their new business model scompete on innovation, rather than low cost.At a medical device production facility committed to Lean Production, a research project was carried out to use Appreciative Inquiry to better engage employee strengths in continuou simprovements of the work system. The research question was: “How can Lean problem solving and Appreciative Inquiry be combined for optimized work system innovation?”
The research project was carried out as a co-creation process with close cooperation between researcher and participants and was documented by qualitative methods.
This paper presents an academic literature review on Appreciative Inquiry and problem solving for continuous improvements that did not reveal successful attempts in combining the two.Both the literature and the empirical study showed one of the main challenges to be to connect the two different thinking modes in the daily practice.The empirical study found both approaches useful for creating continuous improvements ofthework systemand identified different practices of combining them. From the empirical study, the paper identifies three approaches to work system innovation and discusses how Appreciative Inquiry, Problem Solving, and the combination ‘Appreciative Problem Solving’ can be used to optimize continuous work system innovation.These findings add to the theoretical foundation of the
emerging field of Strength-based Lean.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBinder paper submissions 2012 WAIC
Number of pages17
Publication date2012
StatePublished - 2012
Event2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference - Ghent, Belgium


Conference2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference
LocationInternational Conference Center Ghent
Internet address


  • Appreciative Problem Solving, Appreciative Inquiry, Problem Solving, Strength-based Lean, Work System Innovation, Success Expansion
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ID: 12504284