Whole-System Transformation case studies: delivered by

our world class team of FLI researchers, facilitators and event designers


FLI is a proud founding partner of AIM2Flourish. AIM2Flourish celebrates and catalyzes business innovation as part of a global learning challenge. We are inspiring the next generation of business leaders to build a better world by discovering new ways of doing business that are both profitable and progressive: Businesses that do good and do well.


AIM2Flourish is the world’s first student-led global learning platform, showcasing business innovations that solve humanity’s greatest challenges. Business students in more than 30 countries are using Appreciative Inquiry (strength-based interviews) and the UN Global Goals for Sustainable 

Development to search out and report on world-changing innovations. 

"Students are on fire. They become what they are studying, developing a sense of noble purpose and that business is a noble profession."

- Dr. David Cooperrider

Two hundred Schuberg Philis colleagues, customers and partners have participated in a three-day summit at Amsterdam, to discuss next steps in the development of Schuberg Philis: Beyond Cupfighting.  By having “the whole system in the room”, all people that together represent the culture of Schuberg Philis, it was possible to jointly develop thoughts and ideas for the future.

The design of the summit was based on the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) methodology, developed by David Cooperrider. He was present to lead this large “roll up your sleeves” interactive summit. Key criterion for the discussions was ‘high purpose’, discovering, considering and implementing new ways of applying talent and

creativity for the betterment of society. Caring for each other is not an empty promise at Schuberg Philis.

“What I really liked about this Summit is the collaborative attitude of management. They could also have said, ‘We will hire a strategist to determine the strategy’,  but they didn’t. Our contribution is really appreciated. That is why this is not a feel good event, it’s really about something concrete. A lot of other companies should follow our example.” 

- Member of the Schuberg Philis Finance team

This summit was led by FLI's Strategic Advisor David L. Cooperrider.  For more writings, reports, or information on this case example feel free to email David at dlc6@case.edu.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
United Nations
US Navy
Fairmount Minerals
Roadway Express
Fathom Digital Marketing
The next level planning group
sustainable cleveland
Fortec Medical
Hal Elrod The Miracle Morning
Case western reserve university fowler center
schuberg philis
dairy management
Saint Thomas Health
front row foundation
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) was seaking to increase their positive world benefit through phenomenal sustainable growth, while continuing to make a profit.


GMCR conducted a 200-person AI summit to focus on the three topics:
1. Profit with a purpose.
2. Shared success for all.
3. Leadership at every level.

GMCR employees engaged in dreaming of what could be.


"This process has personal meaning to me because it allows us to build on what we do well here at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters."

- Bob Stiller, President and CEO

This summit was led by FLI's Strategic Advisor David L. Cooperrider.  For more writings, reports, or information on this case example feel free to email David at dlc6@case.edu.

Optimistic. Bold. Transformational. These are the words people have used to describe the Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit.

The Global Forum is an “Unconference” because it is more like a massive design studio -- engaging, creative and action–oriented -- than a typical convention. The Forum taps into the “whole system of strengths” and uses design tools from the world–renowned Appreciative Inquiry Summit method to enable and inspire individual, team and collective action. What makes the Global Forum such a landmark event for many people is its mantra: “up with design.”

Patrick Cesceau the then CEO of Unilever and Honorary Chair of the first Global Forum along with C.K Prahalad described it as “an epicenter for sustainable innovation.”


"Through this incredible experience the employees and stakeholders developed a strategy to take Fairmount Santrol to the head of the pack in our industries."

- Fairmount Steering Committee

Fairmount was committed to discover their core strengths, dream of a possible future and design a plan to achieve a vision of a new future.
With AI, they strived to exceed standard practices and expectations in sustainable development -- defined during a summit as, "development that is conducted in a manner which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
As a result, the AI summit caused Fairmount to nearly double revenue in 2 years and increase earnings by 40% annually.
In a unprecedented move, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan seeked the Appreciative Inquiry methodology to unite the strengths of markets with the power of universal ideals, and scale up strategic partnerships for eradicating extreme poverty.
As a result, the largest meeting of its kind was held at the UN, including corporate CEOs, heads of state, and NGOs.

Kofi Annan, 7th Secretary General of the UN

“I would like to commend your innovative methodology of Appreciative Inquiry and to thank you for introducing it to the UN. Without this, it would have been very difficult, perhaps even impossible, to constructively engage so many leaders of business, civil society, and government.”

- Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

This summit was led by FLI's Strategic Advisor David L. Cooperrider.  For more writings, reports, or information on this case example feel free to email David at dlc6@case.edu.

With plans to double in size, Fortec was looking to get engagement throughout their entire company to discover inititatives that will drive their future success.
Using an AI summit, Fortec unleashed the collective wisdom as a whole system by designing and creating their ideal future in 2020 through:
  •   Smarter internal and partner communication.
  •   Elevating training of all employees.
  •   Designing and strategically recognizing excellence.

"We're going to be doubling in the next few years. Figuring out how to draw on our strengths and knit those together is absolutely critical."

- John Voyzey, President & CEO 

In an effort to unite and engage truck drivers, dock workers, executives, teamsters, managers, and customers across a $4 billion trucking company, appreciative inquiry was used to discover the best of what was.
Through the AI process, over 10,000 stakeholders were involved in transforming a culture of entrenched silos into high-performance systems.
As a result, Roadway Express' stock price rose from $14 to $55 per share in 2 years.

looking for an approach beyond traditional problem solving for an incremental improvement, we were looking for some breakthrough improvement that would really differentiate us in the marketplace, and that's what I think appreciative inquiry brings to the table. "

- Cindy Frick, Director of Organizational Development & HR Planning

This summit was led by FLI's Strategic Advisor David L. Cooperrider.  For more writings, reports, or information on this case example feel free to email David at dlc6@case.edu.

An appreciative inquiry summit of over 260 people representing all backgrounds in the Navy was launched to design the future of the U.S. Navy, to improve upon leadership development, and strengthen the bottom line.
The AI summit was used as an application for rapid, collaborative change in the US Navy.
As a result, the high-engagement process improved the Navy's bottom line performance by $2 billion.

"I have been around the Navy for a while and have seen a lot of changes come and go, but this is different. This time all levels were involved, from E1 - O10, so success of the summit is much more guaranteed. We have buy-in at all levels." 

- A Chief Petty Officer

This summit was led by FLI's Strategic Advisor David L. Cooperrider.  For more writings, reports, or information on this case example feel free to email David at dlc6@case.edu.

Looking to continue to inspire transformation throughout all levels of the organization, Fathom seeked to maximize its positive impact to all stakeholders through converting relationships from survival, to delivering unrecognized needs.
An appreciative inquiry summit was applied to discover how Fathom could dramatically and rapidly improve the consistency and execution excellence at critical touch points to turn their client’s into raving fans.

A Fathom team coming together at an offsite AI summit.

"FLI has helped us to install an entirely new "human operating system" as an organization. We started with the radical benefits of a whole system summit, with over 150 employees, plus another 50 external stakeholders in the room (customers, partners, advisors) for 3 days of co-creating our future. Now we benefit from quarterly strategic planning, with over 30 team members collaborating every 90 days, sharpening our annual and quarterly priority and goals."

-Scot Lowry, CEO Fathom

In the healthcare industry, it is natural for a healthcare provider to be so focused on providing the best care for their patients, that they tend to neglect their own personal well being. St. Thomas Health, is re-shifting the focus of their healthcare providers by coming together through an Appreciative Inquiry summit, to elevate the collective & individual well-being of all healthcare providers in its system.
The Appreciative Inquiry summit brought the whole system into the room, from the emergency room to the executive offices, and together they collectively designed the future of wellness for St. Thomas Health. One of the most inspiring results of the summit, is that St. Thomas Health has co-created a future that embeds a new human operating system into its DNA around the framework of Appreciative
Inquiry. The transformational results of the summit did not require additional resources to see them through. The simple, yet powerful impact of a collective shared vision has carried the momentum.

"My mind and my thoughts have been opened to a new possibility as to how to instill change, not only within a small program, but from an institutional standpoint."

-Matt Borkon, Associate Program Director

Cleveland's Mayor Frank Jackson seeked to create an economic engine to empower a green city on a blue lake. In 2009, Cleveland hosted its first sustainable summit guided by the framework of appreciative inquiry. Because of its impact in just one year, Mayor Jackson announced to do an appreciative inquiry summit every year for a "decade of determination".
Sustainable Cleveland is a community of people from every walk of life working together to reshape Cleveland into a vibrant livable city with thriving businesses and a flourishing natural environment.

Over 500 community members coming together at the annual AI summit for Sustainable Cleveland 2019.

"Because of this work, integrating sustainability and economic development is becoming a model of how to prepare for the future, and cities across the country are beginning to adopt this model."

- Mayor Frank Jackson

Clarke was looking to ignite passion and imagination to:

  • Create spaces and systems that empower a fully and euphorically engaged workforce.

  • Establish a community of beliefs that guide our growth, our purpose and our contributions to the world.

  • Illuminate our dynamic and signature strengths to bring the “heart of Clarke” to the world in a manner that inspires and transforms others.​


FLI is a proud supporter of the Clarke Cares Foundation.

"I think this event made the whole company realize that we can be the agent of world health, and I don't think we've thought that big before."

- J. Lyell Clarke, III, CEO


With a vision of elevating their shared sense of purpose, The Next Level Planning Group (TNLPG) hosted an Appreciative Inquiry summit that included clients, prospects, and local business leaders.  The insight and wisdom that emerged from the external stakeholders was beyond anything that TNLPG could have imagined and hoped for.


Since the summit, the team held meetings to integrate both their positive core and images of the future that emerged during the event.  

"As a team, we were stuck in the traditional organizational methodologies—looking for problems and figuring out how to fix them.  We were looking for a dynamic shift—FLI gave us a new perspective and new tools to infuse our culture with strength-based, whole system collaboration. Not only did the engagement with FLI exceed our team's expectations, but the residual effect has led to some of the most important conversations our team has ever had around who we want to be and how we will get there. We are all excited about our next phase of work with FLI as they help us adopt the Appreciative Intelligence Operating System - giving our culture, our day to day interactions, meetings and decisions a whole new advantage." 

-Adam Stock, Founder of The Next Level Planning Group.

A historic moment in the personal empowerment industry, this was a first of its kind summit, where community members were invited to elevate their own lives, while also spending several days co-creating the future of their shared community. Participants were invited into the room to uncover strengths and assets within the community, to dream together about a powerful future, and to design initiatives and opportunities to bring the shared dreams into reality. Most importantly, many participants volunteered to carry the initiatives forward on their own. 


10 Different Initiatives were born at the summit: development of a new app, an online training program, social impact initiatives, structures for self-organizing clubs, live event expansion, development of a scalable coaching and coaches certification offering, deeper integration between the community

and their charity of choice - Front Row Foundation, a new workout program for the community, new ways of capturing and sharing positive stories, and expanding the community into school systems.

"I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first that 200 people could work together and produce results. But after our third session, and seeing the concrete plans that each group came up with for each focus area, my mind was blown. I feel so honored and blessed to have been a part of it." -Kara Benz

The Front Row Foundation transformed a typical board meeting into an appreciative inquiry summit that brought together their whole system – board members, staff, recipients, supporters, and partners. The goal of the summit was to co-create a shared vision of what it means to live life in the front row.
During the summit, one of the working groups came up with an idea that sprouted a miracle. Together, they decided to create a strengths based auction. Where as a collective whole, they brought together their strengths, skills, and assets and auctioned them off for the benefit of the Front Row Foundation. Within 24 hours, a strengths based auction took place and raised over $100k for the Front Row Foundation – wildly exceeding their 
goals. More importantly, this gave 12 people who have critical health challenges the best day of their life.

"I was shocked at how quickly the group came together given the processes that Jon and his team laid out. We were confident coming in that this event was going to be a huge success, but I had no idea of the success that it would actually be 24 hours in."

-Jon Vroman, Co-founder and Executive Director

Another opportunity to facilitate the co-creation of an incredible community - Gobundance. This men's group of high net worth entrepreneurs is centered around Financial Freedom, Age-Defying Health, Authentic Relationships, Extreme Accountability, Bucket List Adventures, and Genuine Contribution.

For 3 days, these men co-create the future of their community. Each morning was spent in activity -- ultimate frisbee, mountain biking, fly fishing and hiking. The evenings are facilitated using Appreciative Inquiry to collaborate and innovate with the whole system represented in the room. We built on the strengths of the group, created a shared vision,

and using the very best design thinking, we brought the future into reality.

"Jon Berghoff and FLI are the only partners who could have pulled this off - bringing together a group of hard charging, high energy, multi-millionaires, and aligning them towards a shared purpose. It was beyond our expectation, and our community members took home profound new wisdom around how they could lead change in their own businesses. We can't wait to have FLI facilitate our 150 person retreat in Whistler, Canada next January."

- Mike McCarthy, CEO 


In 2008, Tom Gallagher, CEO of the trade organization Dairy Management Inc., asked David Cooperrider to facilitate an appreciative inquiry (AI) summit for the entire U.S. dairy industry to kickstart its sustainability efforts. AI acted as the transformative framework for 300 people to collaborate on sustainability, innovation, all while improving business value. 

The initial summit was a launching pad for roughly $287 million in various projects, from enriched soil, to biodigesters, to renewable energy, to educational packages, to measurement systems. The summit also set goals to reduce carbon emissions by 25%,

even as the industry grows to feed a growing population. 

“I definitely think (Appreciative Inquiry) has been a game-changer in our industry,” says director of social and environmental innovation for Dairy Management Inc. Erin Fitzgerald. 

This summit was led by FLI's Strategic Advisor David L. Cooperrider.  For more writings, reports, or information on this case example feel free to email David at dlc6@case.edu.

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