Leaders gather for conference planning sessions

Plans for a summit to develop a vision for Cleveland’s future got underway on Thursday, Dec. 13, with a working session that David Cooperrider, a professor at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, called a “cooperative and inclusive effort to help build trust and develop a shared vision for Cleveland’s future.”

The session — attended by about 80 people active in the Cleveland area’s public, civic and business sectors — and a session Friday, Dec. 14, are expected to produce a plan for a broader summit of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people sometime in the middle of 2019.

Cooperrider and his CWRU colleague Ronald Fry are leading the session using a technique developed at CWRU called appreciative inquiry, or AI, which is a way of planning change at a large scale. Cooperrider told the group the approach has been used at the United Nations, in the U.S. Navy and at many business organizations to engage large groups to plan by learning from their successes instead of from the mistakes of the past. At businesses, for example, workers from every sector of a company, from the shop floor to the executive suite, come together to plan the company’s future.

According to Cooperrider, when a group uses AI to “break through the barriers of race and class and sector and business and society, there is so much we are capable of as human beings.”

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