Howell is a great believer in Appreciative Inquiry (AI), first developed by David Cooperrider in the 1980s and now a well-established approach in thinking about change. Practitioners of AI think that focusing on what is working well in a team or organisation creates energy for dealing with whatever challenges they face. It strengthens relationships, psychological safety, mutual support and confidence. Of course all organisations have problems and it is important to deal with them, but concentrating on them to the exclusion of what is working well can become draining and debilitating.
Howell’s work in AI has focused on nursing teams during the first Covid wave. It led to some very helpful conclusions about what the teams valued in each other and how best to prepare themselves for the next shifts.