Day Three at the International Positive Education Network’s (IPEN) Festival of Positive Education was focused on the Design phase of the Appreciative Inquiry Process: Co-creating the future, rapid prototyping and, ultimately, building a legacy so that future generations can thrive.

Our day started with an introduction and speech by David Cooperrider, Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University. As the conference room turned into a design studio, Cooperrider instructed us to take the following into consideration:

– Design is about legacy leadership – we live in designs that others created.

– Design is not just about “crazy” creativity. It’s also detailed execution. Constraints are invited and should be seen as opportunities to spark creativity.

– Have an opposable mind, one that is liquid and crystal.

– Designing is collaborative.

– Say yes to mess, and be okay with uncertainty.

After brainstorming in an identified theme area, we categorized and decided which ideas to prototype.  Small groups presented to each other and one idea advanced to the larger group. A few ideas that our team shared:

1) A prototype for taking all existing positive education resources and evaluating them through an equity lens. We worked with an administrator, a psychologist, and a teacher to think about what criteria makes the most sense for ensuring equity.

2) A prototype for a national summit for accelerating positive education in America, sharing our “toolkit” and roadmap with other countries to benefit from.

3) A “perma-mid” prototype for higher education, taking a whole-university approach to supporting a campus culture of flourishing and wellbeing.

Bringing Student Voices Into The Conversation about Positive Education

Students are already glowing underneath. Shine a light to help them actualize who they really are.

We had the pleasure of hearing from some amazing students who are both advocates of – and testaments to – positive education at work.

Words we heard from the students:

“Having this principal see me as I was gave me the confidence to speak my mind and be myself”

“The framework of positive ed helped me help myself, begged me to ask the question of what was right with me, not what was wrong.”

“[Positive ed] allowed me to find success not just in the world, but in my own skin.”

“Kids feel safe, and when kids feel safe, they are more likely to communicate with one another.”

“My acting teacher not only let me explore my creativity, but also my confidence.”

“I believe that talent nurtured through study, failure, success, and a resilient nature gives someone a storehouse of wealth valuable enough to be cherished but only truly enjoyed when given away as a gift in service toward the happiness of others.”- David France


David France delivered a motivating and inspiring speech regarding his calling to be a violinist and the uphill battle that he faced while chasing his dream. Turning to the great legends such as Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi, he conceptualized what made their impact everlasting with the term POIL: Problem, Opportunity, Intersection, Legacy.

In case you missed our Day One and Day Two recaps, click here and here.