CHAPTER 12

DISCOVERING GIFTS, CAPACITIES, AND POSSIBILITIES

In the second edition of this book at the turn of the century, what was new in the discovery phase were the whole-system methodologies described in Chapter Eleven. Since then, probably the most interesting new development in discovery is the growing interest in looking at a system’s gifts, capacities, and possibilities. This approach is used in addition to, or sometimes in contrast to, looking at problems—their causes and their solutions.

This approach goes under many names: asset-based community development, positive deviance, positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, future search, and more. Each of these is based on the premise that looking at what in our history we want to preserve, ...

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