Using Appreciative Inquiry, the city and residents of Dubuque, Iowa formulated a $20 million plan address housing, community and economic development issues that plagued the town.
In the fall of 1998 the City of Dubuque, Iowa began a 1 ½ year process to strengthen and improve contentious relationships with citizens and to achieve a community-wide consensus on public policy. The process created a consolidated plan for Housing, Community and Economic Development for 2000-2005 that set priorities for investing $20 million in the city.
The Dubuque appreciative inquiry project was based on the “4-I” concept or Appreciative Inquiry—Inquire, Imagine, Innovate, and Implement. This project engaged as many stakeholdersas possible in Appreciative Interviews, dialogue, and planning for the future.
Consultants completed approximately 220 interviews, held a Dubuque Housing Summit to discover shared values, and created task forces for citizens to explore issues at greater depths. Instead of asking citizens to identify problems, organizers asked questions about what was working: