Strategic Focus: Develop a widely supported 10-year plan for countywide aging services, along with an ongoing process of engagement that will reinforce the plan and assure its successful implementation.
Project Brand: Greeting our Future: A New Approach to Aging
Corporation for Positive Change Services: We designed and facilitated an 18-month inquiry to create communities in which we all age well. Key milestones included:
- Formed and developed a Strategic Vision Leadership Team, whose participants included Boulder, CO county aging services and city senior services staff.
- Fifty-five people, representing a broad range of stakeholder groups (county and city staff, service professionals, elders, caregivers, elected officials, etc.) met for two days to select affirmative topics, draft an appreciative interview guide, and launch a six-month period of outreach and inquiry.
- Engaged broad, diverse local and regional participants through one-on-one interviews and a series of three-hour, locally hosted group inquiry sessions.
- 175 people participated in a two-day Appreciative Inquiry Summit. This gathering forged new partnerships and stimulated ongoing engagement, while articulating strengths and developing a strategic vision. Principles for Aging Well were drafted, then further refined by the Strategic Vision Leadership Team.
- Concrete strategies and priorities were articulated through a series of four-hour, locally hosted community meetings.
Corporation for Positive Change Consultant: Amanda Trosten Bloom
- Widespread community support for the plan, which was adopted by the Boulder County Aging Services Board and Commissioners in July 2006.
- Inclusive structures were created that continue to foster high levels of engagement and integrated action.
- The initiative received local, regional, and national awards:
- Columbine Award (Colorado Parks and Recreation Association, 2008).
- Local Government Innovation Award for Planning with Vision (Denver Regional Council of Governments, 2007).
- Aging Innovations and Achievement Award (National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, 2007).
Testimonials: “The plan has transformed every aspect of our work, from funding to grant-making to staffing and more. Our inclusive process brought the plan to life— made it the real and powerful force for change that we’d hoped it would be.”
Sherry Leach, Aging Services Division Manager
Adapted from The Power of Appreciative Inquiry
Whitney and Trosten-Bloom, p. 259