Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

SOL 2003 International Conference

SOL 2003 International Conference

SOL 2003: 14 - 16 FEBRUARY 2003, BRISTOL, UK

The conference featured:

  • Plenary and discussion sessions
  • Presented workshops
  • Strands including coaching, strategy/leadership, practical applications and drama/improv.
  • Emergent processes
  • Lots of opportunities to meet people informally

Plenary sessions included:
  • The Case Study Plenary: The Swedish National Labour Market Administration - the most Solution Focused government department in the world?
    led by Michael Hjerth, Anders Tegstam and the Solutionwork team

  • The Underpinning Ideas Plenary: Constructive Language: How language forms the backbone and background of SF and related approaches including Appreciative Inquiry
    led Dr Mark McKergow, The Solutions Focus (UK), Prof Gale Miller, Solutions Inc (USA), Matthias Varga von Kibed, SySt Institute (Germany), Tricia Lustig, Lasa Development (UK) and others

  • The Practical Plenary:Introducing, teaching and training SF to organisations: What works?
    led by Peter Roehrig (Germany), Louis Cauffman, Solution Focused Management ( (Belgium) and others

    CLICK HERE for the full outline programme.
    CLICK HERE for full details of the many workshops on offer.
    CLICK HERE for prices, registration and accomodation information. Early Bird discounts until 1 December 2002.
    CLICK HERE for SOL 2003 Conference Image Gallery

    What's included:

    • All conference plenary sessions, workshops and other activities
    • Coffee, water, nibbles etc
    • Two networking lunches (Friday and Saturday)
    • Conference Dinner with wine (Friday night)
    • An invitation to participate in and enjoy the SOL cabaret show (Saturday night - cash bar open)
    • Full networking details of all participants including speakers (except those explicitly opting out. In 2002, everybody opted in.)</</li>

    The conference language is English.

    The event will build on the success of SOL 2002 by keeping the positive and sharing atmosphere, the international line-up, the mixture of plenary and workshop sessions, and the conference dinner. Participants' comments on the first SOL conference included "Established a very positive start - friendly, relaxed yet energised (great learning environment)."
    "Delegate friendly and delegate focused."
    "Emphasis on networking."
    "The design allowed for personal choice and most of the workshops were of high calibre."
    "Consistently unpretentious, friendly, appreciative and facilitative."
    "Interesting conversations."
    "Willing to change - eg emergent-cy sessions."
    "Obvious a lot of thought went into supportive structures."
    "Perfect organisation - everything worked."
    "Really good sense of energy from the first minute."

    SOL 2003 Outline Programme (Draft)

    Thursday 13 February 2003:

    10.00 - 17.00 Pre-conference Workshop: Introduction to Solutions Focused Practice. Click here for more details
    19.00 onwards Pre-conference welcome at the Waterfront Pub, adjacent to Jury's Hotel, Prince Street. Pub food available till 10.00pm by special arrangement.

    Friday 14 February 2003:

    9.30 Welcome and opening
    10.30 Coffee
    11.00 The Case Study Plenary: The Swedish National Labour Market Administration - the most Solution Focused government department in the world?: Anders Tegstam, Björn Johanson, Eva Persson, Michael Hjerth (Sweden)
    12.15 Table discussions by topic, sector etc, meet and speak with others of similar interests
    12.45 Lunch Practical applications strand Coaching strand Theatre/Impro strand Leadership/strategy strand
    13.45 Workshops 1 Solution Focused Competency Management: Coert Visser and Gwenda Schuldt Bodien (Netherlands) SF Team Remotivation in one half-day session: John Henden (UK) Improvisation and Solutions Focus - An Introduction: Paul Z Jackson, Mike Goran and others Applying SF in government strategic planning: Jim 'Santiago' Mortensen (USA)
    15.15 Tea
    15.45 Workshops 2 Bringing Solutions Focus to Life: Mona Hojab, Capita Learning and Development (UK) Coachulting: Louis Cauffman (Belgium) The Solutions Stage - Exploring Exceptions, Wonders, Solutions with Psychodrama: Dr Hans-Peter Korn (Switzerland) Making The Difference that Makes The Difference - Bateson at Work: Dr Cindy Bradley and Sharon Ryalls (USA)
    17.15 Break
    19.00 Drinks reception in @-Bristol galleries
    20.00 Conference Dinner (included in the conference fee)

    Saturday 15 February 2003:

    9.30 The Underpinning Ideas Plenary: Constructive Language: The role of language in SF and other methodologies - Appreciative Inquiry, Ericksonian, NLP etc: Dr Mark McKergow, Prof Gale Miller, Tricia Lustig, Prof Dr Matthias Varga von Kibéd and others
    10.45 Coffee
    11.15 Workshops 3 "I want you to..." criticise in an SF way: Dr Peter Roehrig (Germany)/Dr Alasdair Macdonald (UK) Quality Outcomes for You and Your Clients: Keith Stead (UK) Solutions Focused Systemic Constellations - Embodying Change: Prof Dr Matthias Varga von Kibéd and Insa Sparrer (Germany) Leadership - A Solution Focused approach: Evan George (UK)
    12.45 Lunch
    13.45 "Emergent Saturday" set-up: Open Space session for planned and spontaneous activities, including Solutions-Lab sessions and additional speakers Jenny Clarke, Peter Szabo, Yoram Galli, Jon Broome, Alan Kay, Kerstin Mahlberg...
    14.00 Emergent Slot 1
    15.00 Emergent Slot 2
    16.00 Emergent Slot 3
    17.00 Break, meeting of SOL Steering Group
    20.30 SOL cabaret Upstairs at the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer pub, King Street. Entertain and be entertained!

    Sunday 16 February 2003:

    9.30 The Practical Plenary: What works in introducing, teaching and training SF to organizations?: Peter Roehrig, Louis Cauffman and others
    10.45 Coffee
    11.15 Workshops 4 "It Sounds Easy..." - Supportive Selling: Harry Norman and John Nixon (UK) Solutions Coaching In Practice: Paul Z Jackson (UK) "Once Upon A Solution" - Condensed Narrative for SF Practitioners: Mike Goran (Canada) Solution Focused Rating Instruments for Marketing and Performance Appraisal : Dr Gunther Lueger (Austria)
    12.45 Conference closing, handover to Uppsala
    13.30 Close

    Monday 17 - Tuesday 18 February 2003:

    10.00 - 17.00 Post-conference workshop, The SySt Workshop: Introduction to Systemic Constellations and Solutions Focus with organisations, Matthias Varga von Kibed and Insa Sparrer.

    SOL 2003 Post-conference workshop

    The SySt Workshop: Introduction to Systemic Constellations and Solutions Focus with organisations: with Matthias Varga von Kibed and Insa Sparrer. Click here for further details.

    SOL 2003 Pre-conference workshop

    Introduction to Solution Focused practice

    A one-day introduction to SF principles and practice. Open to all and specially aimed at those coming new to solution focused ideas, this workshop will give you an overview of the key and distinctive aspects of SF working. Experience and find out about what makes an SF approach, and how this simple and subtle framework can inform all kinds of organisational practice from coaching to OD and performance management to team effectiveness. The day will be led by members of the Bristol Solutions Group, the world's first cross-disciplinary SF networking and supporting group, including Mark McKergow and Harry Norman and others.

    The workshop will be held in the John James Room, on the 3rd floor of the Wildwalk building in the @-Bristol development. There are lifts near the IMAX cinema box office - take one to the third floor. For directions to @-Bristol, click on 'Visiting Us at

    Workshop cost £150 plus VAT if booked with conference registration, £225 plus VAT for conference non-participants.

    ***Super Early Bird deal - Pre-conference workshop and conference registration together £425 plus VAT - save £50 on the Early Bird price, or £220 on full last-minute price. Offer runs until 1 December 2002.***

    SOL 2003 Post-conference workshop

    This fascinating methodology is quite new to the UK, and links ideas from Ericksonian language, bodily perception and logic into a novel and profound philosophy of change. Matthias and Insa are worldwide leaders in the combination of constellation work (using the interactions between a group to model and move change) with solution focused ideas. The result is an individual and effective combination. Matthias and Insa were a great hit at SOL 2002, and we have therefore invited them to present their ideas in more detail this year. Although they are well-known and widely respected on the continent, this will be the first time they have presented in the UK, and is a wonderful and rare opportunity to work with them in English.

    Matthias and Insa are co-founders of the SySt Intitute, Munich. Matthias is Professor at University of Munich Institute for Philosophy, Logic and Epistemology. Insa is author of 'Wunder, Losung und System' (Miracle, Solution and System), published in German by Carl Auer Publishing.

    The workshop will be held in the John James Room, on the 3rd floor of the Wildwalk building in the @-Bristol development. There are lifts near the IMAX cinema box office - take one to the third floor. For directions to @-Bristol, click on 'Visiting Us at .

    Prices £200 plus VAT if you're attending the conference, £350 plus VAT if booked separately.

    SOL 2003 Sessions In Detail

    All these sessions are planned for the conference, either in 90 minute or 45 minute formats. There will also be a chance for additional 45 minute sessions to be proposed during our 'emergent Saturday' afternoon period.

    Plenary sessions

    The Case Study Plenary: The Swedish National Labour Market Administration - the most Solution Focused government department in the world?
    Michael Hjerth, Björn Johansson, Eva Persson, Anders Tegstam (Sweden)

    Solution focused work has impacted the SNLA, on a massive scale, close to 3000 workers and managers have recieved training in SF focused work. It has been applied internally, on many levels, as well as in assisting unemployed. In a mix of talk, interviews and video, we will present what has been done, how it has been done, what the effects has been, a what we have learned about it that might be useful when implementing SF on this scale.

    The Underpinning Ideas Plenary: Constructive Language
    Dr Mark McKergow, Prof Gale Miller, Prof Matthias Varga von Kibed, Tricia Lustig and others

    We will discuss and examine the role of language in SF and other methodologies - Appreciative Inquiry, Ericksonian, NLP etc, and draw out similarities and differences. The discussion will range from social construction to Wittgenstein, with a view to drawing out practical ideas and strategies for use in everyday work.

    The Practical Plenary: Introducing and training SF to companies and organisations: What works?
    Dr Peter Roehrig, Louis Cauffman and others

    How do organisations get interested in SF? What works in introducing SF as an approach within an organisation? What is the role of training in this? And what kinds of training seem to help in which situations? This panel will draw on the assembled experience at the conference to draw some conclusions.

    90 minute workshops

    Dr Günter Lueger (Austria), PEF-University for Management
    Solution Focused Rating Instruments for Marketing & Performance Appraisal

    "In this workshop we discuss the question how classical rating instruments in the field of measurement of individual performance or rating customer satisfaction produce problems for change and solutions. A new rating instrument will be presented which allows a supervisor or customer to assess differences in performance and concentrate on resource of the employees."

    Dr Peter Roehrig (Germany)/Dr Alasdair MacDonald (UK)
    "I want you to ..." - criticize in a SF way

    One of the most challenging situations for managers is criticizing an employee in a constructive manner. Alasdair Mcdonald and Peter Röhrig show how they train managers to find excellent goals and solutions - with role play and SF feedback.

    Paul Z Jackson (UK), The Solutions Focus
    Solutions Coaching in Practice

    "A swift tour of Paul's recent experience of introducing SF to organisations - ranging from strategy to coaching to SF appraisals in businesses as diverse as publishing, training consultants and fizzy drink makers. Will include practical activities and opportunities for questions and discussion".

    Mona Hojab (UK), Capita Learning & Development
    Bringing Solutions Focus to life

    This workshop will explore abd share the experiences of one organisation's first steps on the journey towards a solutions focused organisation. You will explore the steps taken by the organisation and individuals within it to introduce a solutions focused approach to both its internal workings (performance management, 360 degree feedback, internal processes) and delivery of services to customers.

    Dr Cindy Bradley/Sharon Ryalls (USA), Childrens Services Council/Childrens Home Society
    Making the Difference that Makes the Difference: Bateson at Work

    "Utilising the concept of 1st and 2nd order change as the basis for developing and evaluating effective management and personnel strategies. Attention to levels of change can be the determining factor for successful organisational change. Experiential exercises will develop the participants' skills."

    Coert Visser & Gwenda Schlundt Bodien (Netherlands), NOAM
    Solution Focused Competency Management

    "We applied the Solution Focus in a big Competency Management project, both with respect to content and process. But how do you hold on to your Solution Focus? And how do you keep your client focus? And who's the client?"

    Jenny Clarke (UK), The Solutions Focus
    When clients have theories

    "Solutions Focus is described as theory-free. However, clients may have plausible theories about what's wrong and what needs doing - often by someone else! How do SF consultants acknowledge clients' theories while working in an SF way?"

    John Henden (UK), Procounsel Associates
    SF Team Re-Motivation in One Half-Day session

    "We will look at SF techniques as applied to a demotivated team: past successes; strengths and resources; "time- quakes"; small steps towards agreed goals; scaling. There will be time for discussion and an examination of what worked here and what might work elsewhere."

    Dr Hans-Peter Korn (Switzerland), KECK
    The Solutions Stage - Exploring Exceptions, Wonders, Solutions with Psychodrama

    "Try and learn how Moreo's Psychodrama can multiply the power of Solution Orientated Coaching of persons and teams: Warm-up - Speed input: Moreno's principles - play it, see it, feel it, reflect it for the specific steps of SO-coaching". More at

    Mike Goran (Canada), Corpjesters
    "Once Upon a Solution": Condensed Narrative for SF Practitioners

    "A lively and engaging session that introduces specific narrative tools useful for simplifying and accelerating certain aspects of SF work. Participants will leave with at least one functional tool they can use immediately in their SF practices."

    Evan George (UK), Brief Consultations
    Leadership: a solution focused approach

    This workshop will introduce participants to the core concepts of Solution Focused Leadership and will invite participants to experience a number of exercises. A willingness to participate is not just desirable - it is essential!

    Keith Stead (UK), The Rickter Company
    Quality Outcomes for you and your clients

    An experiential workshop using the Rickter Scale ®. Explore possibility, make informed choices and take ownership of your own goals and action plan. Learn how this unique solutions-focused approach can also enable client organisations achieve quality standards and fulfil company potential.

    John Nixon and Harry Norman (UK), Harry Norman Partnerships
    "It Sounds Easy!" - Supportive Selling

    John Nixon and Harry Norman present a selling process using Solution Focused thinking. Here's the proposition: - If in during a selling interaction the potential customer has a genuinely useful experience, then even if they don't buy from you that day, they will be back! Why?

    Matthias Varga von Kibed/Insa Sparrer (Germany), SySt Institute
    Solution Focused Systemic Constellations: Embodying Change

    We will introduce our very characteristic method of working with groups, organisations and individuals by demonstrating it. You will be fascinated how small changes inbetween people can reflect and generate wider changes in different contexts. This approach is a development of the work of Milton Erickson and Virginia Satir, amongst others.

    Louis Cauffman (Belgium), Solution Focused Management

    Traditionally coaches are not supposed to give advice since they are not supposed to know better. Traditionally consultants are supposed to give advice since they are supposed to know better. We strongly believe (and more then 15 years business experience proves this) that coaching AND consulting works better then coaching OR consulting. By telling you the real story of a large family-business case, we will demonstrate the power of 'Coachulting' and offer you a toolkit to maximize your own effectivity as a...well....coachultant.

    45 minute sessions

    Dr Cindy Bradley/Sharon Ryalls (USA), Childrens Services Council/Childrens Home Society
    Developing a Country-wide Multi-Organisational Solution Focused Network

    "Tracing the experience of bringing a solution focused approach to a governmental funding agency. SF strategies so increased productivity and morale in a multitude of funded organisations as to compellingly convince the funder to adopt this approach as the unifying modality".

    Jon Broome (UK), JB Project Consulting
    Solutions focused coaching in a hypnotic trance "wrapper"

    "Prepare to be in-trance -d! You will be given a brief outline of why trance is an effective state for change work and how it is done, before experiencing a SF coaching session wrapped up in a hypnotic trance".

    Peter Szabo (Switzerland), Weiterbildungsforum Basel
    SF goodnight (or good morning) stories

    I have some wonderful children's stories that transport beautifully wrapped SF wisdom. I would love to tell them in the mornings/evenings (before or after the official program) and invite other participants to bring their favourite illustrated children stories too.. All participants welcome.

    Alan Kay (Canada), The Glasgow Group
    Building the SF company - SF as a strategic approach to growing a business

    Help clients use SF to make strategic plans and implement them. Learn some of the tools Alan's clients use to overcome negative assumptions about the organisation's abilities, make decisions and overcome resistance to actions thought to be impossible.

    Kerstin Måhlberg, Anders Claesson, Agneta Castenberg, Ulf Mårdberg, Michael Hjerth(Sweden), FKC
    "Liveshow" with Michael Hjerth coaching the FKC management team AQUA

    A "liveshow" where Michael Hjerth is going to team-build, coach or facilitate for the FKC management team, AQUA so that they can manage to support all the staff of about 30 personal to reach the companies goal.

    Yoram Galli (Israel), CREATeams Ltd
    On becoming a Solutions Focus team

    Working SF with teams - focusing on the SF work done in a Management Team Development activity.

    Robert Bühler (Switzerland), Bühler Expert Advisors
    COACHULTING - the success insurance!

    With a three step approach: 1. "solution focused coaching", 2. "consulting" and 3. "on the job training", intentions turn into a successful, sustainable and sound customer solutions. Each step will be discussed, positioned and challenged by asking for the value proposition and the differences to traditional consulting methods.

    All sessions subject to change without notice.

    Prices, Registration & Accommodation information

    SOL 2003 Registration Information

    You can register by email, fax, or post. Click here to download a registration form. In the event of difficulties downloading, email and we'll send you a form as an attachment. You can email the form to, fax it to +44 (0)1242 510941 or mail it to SOL 2003, 26 Christchurch Road, Cheltenham, GL50 2PL, UK.

    Conference Fees are:
    Early Bird (before 1 December) £325+VAT (Total £381.88)
    Regular (1 December - 31 January) £425+VAT (Total £499.38)
    On-Site (After 1 February) £495+VAT (Total £581.63)
    Non-profit organisations may claim the Early Bird rate up to 1 February 2003.

    Pre-conference workshop fees £150 plus VAT if booked with conference registration.

    Post-conference workshop fees £200 plus VAT if you are attending the conference, £350 plus VAT if you are just coming to this workshop.

    All this information is summarised in a handy table on the registration form, so please stay calm!

    Click here to download a registration form.
    Download a brochure in pdf format to send to your friends and colleagues - click here now.


    The @-Bristol conference venue is non-residential. Hotels in the vicinity include:

    Travelodge Bristol Central, Anchor Road, Bristol BS1 5TT, offering good value modern rooms just 150 metres from the conference venue, with free car parking. Room-only rates are £59.95 per room per night. Book by calling +44 (0)8700 850 950, or via

    Premier Lodge Bristol City Centre, Llandoger Trow, Kings Street Bristol BS1 4ER, offering good value modern rooms around 500 metres from the conference venue. Room-only rates are £49.95 per room per night. Book by calling +44 (0)870 700 1342, or via

    Holiday Inn Express, Temple Gate, Bristol BS1 6PL, offering good value modern rooms around 1km from the conference venue. Rates are around £60 per room per night, including breakfast. Book by calling +44 (0)800 405060, or via clicking here.

    There are many other accomodation options - check out for the full range from deluxe hotels to B&Bs.

Last updated by Kathryn Lamb Sep 18, 2009.




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