The InterAction Collection

Using the Solution Focus Strategy Canvas

Aligning Collaborators Around the Future

Jan 30, 2022

Rod Sherwin

Introduced by John Brooker

Adie Shariff and Alison Abington published a case study about the Solution Focused Strategy Canvassing in 2010 in InterAction. You can find the original article here: https://sfwork.com/resources/interaction/s6-Vol2-1-6.pdf

The paper describes the use of SF strategy canvassing as “a way to support managers to develop and implement a strategy in practical and pragmatic ways, so to align people at all levels in the organisation in a collective effort…”.

As the original authors say in their paper: “The types of problems that arise in making strategy happen are what can be termed as “wicked problems” characterised by inter-related extremes of uncertainty, risk, and social complexity (Rittel & Webber, 1973). They are problems that attract, like iron to a magnet, a problem focus and problem talk. The SF strategy canvas is one possible approach for breaking out of the problem orientation of strategy consulting and engendering, albeit in a packaged way, an SF orientation.”

In short, the SF Strategy Canvas provides an alternative to the traditional development of strategy and one which many people in organisations find helpful.

In this video, Rod Sherwin creates a great learning environment, in which he provides a helpful summary of the canvas and its benefits, which you can also download below. He elegantly facilitates a range of practitioners to share their experiences using the SF Canvas in different contexts. He also invites others in the audience to share what surprised them in the session, what they found valuable and how they might experiment with the canvas.

As someone who has used the canvas since first reading the article back in 2010, I was pleased to learn many new ideas on adapting it in different situations and organisations. It is such a versatile tool that you can use with one person or many, in any context at any level in an organisation.

If you want to learn how to use the Strategy Canvas, I suggest you read the original article and, next, spend a valuable hour watching this video. You might also like to read Jason Pascoe’s article: https://www.growthcoaching.com.au/resource/mind-the-gap/ . All this will likely take you 90 minutes. It will be time well spent.

John Brooker

Please find the slides Rod showed in this pdf.

Rod Sherwin
Rod Sherwin
InterAction Contributor, SFiO Contributor

Rod Sherwin is a solutioneer, executive coach, team catalyst, facilitator and professional speaker who uses solution-focused approaches as a direct route to create Business Agility and respectful lasting change for individuals, teams and organisations.

John Brooker
John Brooker
SFiO Reviewed Practitioner
Editor of Interaction
Chapter Head
SFiO Contributor

John has over thirty years experience of leading people to collaborate effectively. He gained his leadership experience as a Senior Vice President in Visa International, working on international projects. Since 2004 he has used his leadership and Solution Focus expertise to enable people in multinational and national organisations to collaborate effectively. He is Co-President of Solution Focus in Organisations, an SFiO Reviewed Practitioner and has an MBA from The Open University in the UK.