Meaningful Transformation througha Short Appreciative Inquiry Summit
About myself:• Aijan Isakova• Budget and Operations Manager at the VDC• Joined the team in 2009• MBA, Umass Boston• BS in International Business, Arnhem BusinessSchool
Venture Development Center• University-based business incubator for early-stagebusiness, academic, and social entrepreneurs seekingstrategic growth opportunities• Provides professional and experienced mentoring,connections to valuable industry resources, capitalfunding, and university resources• Educates and serves the entire University Communityby providing educational programming on the subject ofinnovation• Places UMass students in paid internships with VCfunded, high tech startups• Incubates 19 ventures and placed over 70 students
Appreciative Inquiry Workshop at the VDCTopic:“The VDC Vision 2012: Our Future begins with Our Strengths”workshop with the goals of understanding the center’s signaturestrengths, reaching out to the VDC partners and the UMasscommunity to discuss the potential they see in the center, andamplifying those strengths across the operations.
Appreciative Inquiry Workshop at the VDCThe preparation - two monthsWhole Group Participants: 12 peopleDuration - 3.5 hoursContent - brief introduction to AI, the VDC application,10 short discussion sessions, 2 short breaksLogistics - the larger group of 12 was divided into 4and later 3 discussion groups. Each discussion sessionwas followed by short creative presentations to thelarger group.
Results• Identified signature strength from all sides• Identified how the whole system sees the VDC future• Developed slogans that would reflect those strengths
Results Application• Revision of mission and vision statements• The VDC growth model was developed along withnew strategic goals and initiatives• The VDC upgraded its networks, installed newservers, and signed a contract with Amazon to provideAmazon Web Services, focusing on computing in thecloud• Web site update• Partner Handbook• Marketing Campaign• Networking events• SBIR workshop, business competition, open houses
New Insights and Lessons Learned• Pitching AI to your team• Who is you Whole System?• Careful consideration of the people to invite• Develop a sound communication plan with participants• Clear understanding of what the goals of theworkshop were before developing the workshopconcept and workbook• Time flexibility and note keeping during the workshop• Plan for the post-workshop actions
Deliverables• Appreciative Inquiry workbook “The VDC Vision 2012:Our Future begins with Our Strengths” andpresentation• Full summary of the workshop• Strategic note (not included due to confidentialitymatters)• The workshop plan• Appreciative Inquiry invitations, emails introducingparticipants to AI , and post workshop emails that weresent to participants