Relational Power, Meaningful Learning, and Real Utopias: Insights from Scholar-Practitioner Ignacio Pavez

Ignacio is an Assistant Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, with a joint position between the Business School and the Institute for Sustainable Development. His research focuses on the foundations and practices of appreciative organization development and change, the study of teams in organizations, the integration of sustainability into the business strategy of a firm, and the potential of inter-organizational collaboration to tackle grand challenges. As a consultant, he has specialized in implementing appreciative approaches; embedding sustainability as a way to create competitive advantage; and developing value-based cultural transformation programs. He shares with us his discovery of Appreciative Inquiry, his inspiration and work  to shift the educational paradigm in Chile, and the impacts of some of his consulting work and research. 

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Episode Highlights:

  • Ignacio shares how he was inspired by Martin Seligman and the World Positive Education Accelerator to create change in his own country of Chile
  • His work with the Fundación Nueva Educación (New Education Foundation) encourages a paradigm shift in the way we educate from an individualistic focus to a relational focus.
  • Ignacio introduces us to the power of real utopias to discover what is possible and motivate us to believe in our own capacities.
  • The appreciative process can help students create meaningful project-based learning.
  • Using an appreciative approach, Ignacio witnessed a school for indigenous children identify important success factors to their learning experience that resulted in an increase in school enrollments and an improvement in grades.
  • Ignacio has developed an appreciative (or generative) organizing scale that focuses on team dynamics. This work earned him a grant from the Chilean government.
  • His advice to anyone new to AI? Start practicing immediately!
We think that the purpose of education… is to prepare students to progress… to improve the technological and the economical conditions of society. We have seen a lot of progress over the last 70 years..But also we have seen systematic degradation of nature and the systematic degradation of some societal conditions. And so now we think that the purpose of education should be to learn how to live a good life.

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