Double the AI, Double the Fun: Appreciative Inquiry and Artificial Intelligence Unite for Brand Success

by Chris Endersby

Find out how we’re blending AI with Appreciative Inquiry to build breakthrough brands.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Last week, I attended a fascinating talk at, facilitated by John Readman, Founder of ASK BOSCO® and Adam Collins, Director of Ignite SEO, who generously gave their insights on AI. It was awesome and got me thinking about the topic. What follows is very off the cuff, so bear with me. 

Like most (if not all) organisations, at Firestarter we’re working out how best to use artificial intelligence (AI) to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment. And to better serve our clients – who tend to be rebel-with-a-cause entrepreneurs and purpose-led businesses – in igniting, fuelling and growing meaningful and magnetic brands. Artificial intelligence has so much to offer, but at Firestarter a whole other  AI – Appreciative Inquiry – is proving crucial in our journey to harness the power of the ‘new’ AI.


So what is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry is a strength-based approach to organisational change developed by David Cooperrider. It focuses on strengths, envisions possibilities, collaboratively designs solutions, and promotes sustainable implementation. As such, it’s an excellent fit for our branding journey, but I suggest it is also relevant for harnessing AI to drive innovation and success. Appreciative Inquiry has four distinct phases, so here’s how we’re combining the two AIs to help us carve our niche at Firestarter.



Discovery: Recognising the Best of What Is

Before integrating AI, we’re assessing our current strengths and capabilities to identify areas where AI can enhance our strengths, add value, and augment what we do and how we do it. We’re trying to avoid implementing another set of technology toolsets ‘just for the sake of it’ and adding more subscriptions to the monthly bill as we go. 

It’s a journey of discovery for us. We learn by doing and celebrate mistakes as we try out what might work best for us. We seek to explore how we can uncover innovative solutions that push the boundaries of what’s possible. As Firestarters, we love to be creative and live to be ingenious, so that’s an excellent fit for us.




Dream: Envisioning What Could Be

We dream of a world where the rewards and delights of entrepreneurial freedom are accessible to all who want them (although we know from our own experience this may need to include the phrase ‘and are willing to work for them’).  So, AI allows us to dream about a future when we’re closer to our vision – where we can travel faster and do more of value. We’re not relying on AI to guide us or paint a rich picture of the future we want to create – but we are asking ourselves, ‘What if…’ in the light of recent technological advances such as AI.

With our best hopes set out, we’re asking ourselves and seeking guidance from others on how AI can assist in making our dreams and those of our clients a reality. What blockers can it remove, what constraints can it liberate, what resources can it add to the mix, and what new opportunities does it unlock?  And yes, we’re learning how to ask these questions of AI in different ways, but as we seek to understand prompt engineering better, we’re also taking some time to dream about what may be possible, free of some of today’s limitations and constraints.




Design: Co-Constructing the Future

For us, design isn’t just about how things look, feel, and sound—it’s rooted in figuring out how to make dreams a reality. We’re rarely the heroes in the story—that is the role we give our clients in their journey. So we’re not just thinking about how AI can make dreams a reality for Firestarter; we’re thinking about what differences it can make for our clients. That said, we don’t believe it’s preferable, or possible, to surrender to AI altogether.

We know that harnessing AI tools to enhance creativity, efficiency, and authenticity in brand development most effectively requires a new mindset and skillset. We know we can’t do this alone, relying on our  ‘business as usual’ ways of working. We’re up for the challenge and opportunity of pattern disruption in our design process.




Destiny: Sustaining the Change

For us, this is all about approaching change with sustainability in mind — evolution, not just revolution; continuously learning, being agile, and adapting as necessary. This means fostering a culture that embraces AI as a tool for ongoing improvement in strategy and operations—not a technical silver bullet. It’s about creating a future-proof business that evolves with technological advancements while staying true to our core identity and unique value.

Transformational teamwork is at the core of what we do. We’re looking for partners and new ways of working to ensure our AI solutions are practical, can be embraced by all, and foster a seamless blend of technology and human insight. For this shift to be sustainable, it’s not going to happen overnight.




We’re approaching AI by living our values of authenticity, ingenuity, playfulness, unity, and courage. We won’t give up our belief that being true to ourselves is the only way to realise our true potential. So, we’re seeking to integrate AI toolsets that not only automate tasks but also do so in a way that aligns with our core values and augments our strengths in providing service to our clients.

By focusing on strengths, envisioning transformative possibilities, collaboratively designing solutions, and ensuring sustainable implementation, we remain on our quest to create highly differentiated and authentic brands that resonate powerfully with their audiences. Appreciative inquiry and artificial intelligence both have their rightful place in that undertaking, and we couldn’t be more curious about where this will take us.


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