Provocative propositions


In the previous section, you have created a variety of ‘I wonder…’ statements that are grounded in the aspects of the professional learning that caught your attention, you value, and are sustainable because they are connected explicitly with your practice and the context in which you are working. You may find you generate more of these statements throughout the rest of the process, therefore creating multiple possibilities of new practices to explore, hence the reason that the appreciative cycle, can’t be considered a linear process.  

Blue and red swirly colours, which looks a bit like smoke, with the colours merging in places.

For now, we are going to focus on innovating from the ‘I wonder…’ statements you have. To do so requires an open, relaxed, creative stance, and therefore you may need to choose carefully when you do this next activity. If you are focusing on an event or events that have had multiple foci, you may have a series of what seem to be unrelated ‘I wonder….’ statements from your stories. At this point you may wish to focus on a few that are more obviously connected or that particularly grab your attention, but don’t lose sight of the other statements. You may find they integrate with your emerging ideas later, or you may want to do this activity multiple times using different ‘I wonder…’ statements.  

To move us from ‘I wonder’ to innovating, we will write a provocative proposition. This is a short statement which clearly contains the values (the positive core) that underpins the innovation and explains what you are aiming towards (Cooperrider et al. 2008). The following example is from a group of lecturers who identified a collective ‘I wonder…’ as being; 

 ‘We wonder if we could establish a regular writing group to support each other?’ 

Having considered their initial stories and wondered about their statement, they developed this proposition; 

The writing space will be one in which participants can write individually but in community with others. It will be a space where creativity and dialogue are actively encouraged in ways that nourish and encourage the writing of one another. 

       Activity: Making action happen (15 mins) 

Using your ‘I wonder….’ statement(s), can you write a ‘provocative proposition’ that best captures an ‘imagined future’? Your proposition will shift your statement from an ‘I wonder….’ imagining, to a statement describing the new or different practice in the future.

Your provocative proposition is useful not only in driving forward your actions towards it, but as a story to explain to others what it is you are aiming to do, and bring them on board. In the next activity you are going to spend some time innovating and generating actions that will help you towards your individual or collective goal.  


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Last modified: Wednesday, 14 February 2024, 10:40 AM