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The Online Journal of Solution Focus in Organisations

Vol 10 – No 2 – January 2019 – Page 2

Noticing Where SF Can Be Found



It is in the nature of SF that it can be found everywhere. Yet it is not shapeless. We can grasp hold of it, know it when we see it, and make what is working grow.  This edition demonstrates some very unique ways of noticing where SF can be found and where noticing takes us.

We start with a bolt out of the blue from Wendy van den Buick who, working with horses, has come to observe that for horses, SF is a way of life. She goes so far as to say that all nature is SF and that if nature isn’t SF it disappears. Wendy is opening up entirely new ground for noticing, giving us more to explore.

A completely different aspect is provided by Sophie Geisler, who invites us to the possibility of using SF for big thinking with unknown ripple effects, describing her work in Mexico City on wars between drug cartels, with other interesting and challenging situations. She asks us to explore whether SF already exists in big thinking and how we might offer SF for the global challenges ahead. We ask you to comment on this article on LinkedIn to stimulate discussion on the topic of SF and big thinking.

Finding what’s working in another place deemed unlikely, is the work of Emma Burns with young offenders in the New Zealand police, who starts with people telling her “he’ll never talk to you – he has never talked to anyone who has tried” and ends with 89% of her 400 cases over 6 years no longer coming to the notice of police. Just as Emma highlights the negative assumptions that exist of offenders, we have a great discussion between Kati Hankovsky and Adam Froerer on the assumptions or, technically, the presuppositions that we use in SF. They explain how we can use presuppositions for positive outcomes in our work.

A completely different piece of noticing comes from Mo Hagar and the burgeoning world of agile. Noticing the synergies between agile principles and SF he brings them to life using the SF clues as the lever.

Inge Nijkamp provides a great example of how social workers in organisations can return to one of the true principles of effective social work by using SF as a reflective process in their highly complex world.

Our treasured article is an extremely practical and elegant use of SF to move teams from conflict to unity laid out with great clarity by Annette Gray. While John Brooker’s article on the SF Question Tree encourages us to notice the purpose of our questioning.

Finally, there is a superb piece of noticing by Mark McKergow, discussing SFBT 2.0, a description of the change he has noticed in how SF is being developed and used since its origins. A landmark piece.

Taking Wendy van den Buick’s idea of SF in nature, this edition suggests that SF is a diamond. Mark McKergow has described how we have become more adept at refining and polishing it and our many contributors have noticed and highlighted many more of its facets.


Carey Glass, Annie Bordeleau and John Brooker – Editorial Team

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