Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

SOL Summer University 2006

3 - 9 September 2006, Prague, Czech Republic

The SOL Summer University is a unique learning opportunity for experienced Solutions Focus practitioners.
If the annual SOL conference is the meeting place for the international SF community, then the Summer University is our research and development laboratory. You can join with some of the world's most experienced SF authors, trainers and consultants to extend your knowledge and practice.

We explore a range of questions, issues and experiences as a small group.The activities are intensive, yet the atmosphere is relaxed and collegiate. Each morning the group tackles a prepared topic, with a mixture of presentations, discussions and activities. These topics are selected to be of wide interest and to build the knowledge and experience of the whole group - there are no "right answers" to be taught, but instead experience to be shared and good practice to be built.

Afternoons are open for tutorial groups, coaching sessions, consulting experiments and discussion groups. These will emerge during the event, to allow for all participants to have opportunities to address any specific issues of interest. Whether you want to learn more about how to train SF, or bring your own current work issue, you'll find experienced and willing partners to help you.

In this environment everyone is both a learner and a participant. In line with the SOL charter, the difference between "faculty members" and "participants" is minimal - everyone participates together.

The 2006 participants will be led by:

Organising faculty:

Björn Johansson
(Solutionwork, Sweden)
Dr Mark McKergow
(The Solutions Focus, UK)
Dr Peter Röhrig
Mehlem Institut für
Qualitätsentwicklung, Germany
Dr Peter Szabo (Weiterbildungsforum Basel, Switzerland)

Jenny Clarke (The Solutions Focus, UK, also helping with administration)

Faculty members:

Kirsten Dierolf (Solutions Academy, Germany)

Mike Goran (Corpjesters, Canada)

Felix Hirschburger (Resourcefulsearch, Switzerland)

Paul Z Jackson (The Solutions Focus, UK)

Alan Kay (The Glasgow Group, Canada )

Rob Rave (Solutions Game, UK)

Janine Waldman (The Solutions Focus, UK)


Grammars of Change - different rules for different contexts with Kirsten Dierolf and Mark McKergow

Focus, UK)

Many of the classic SF tools were designed for use in therapeutic contexts. They are intended to "do" things in such contexts, and may not be the best tools to do things in other contexts. Wittgenstein's concept of a "grammar" can help to explore the different unwritten rules and expectations of other contexts, and so help us find different ways to use SF ideas in business and management contexts. This session will provide some practical outputs as well as increased understanding of ways to apply SF ideas in new contexts.

Real Behaviour Change Among 60000 People with Alan Kay and Björn Johansson

This session will explore how SF fits within culture change in large organisations. It's relatively easy to figure out what the change should be, but how and where do you get the organisation moving? A case study of large scale change around the client experience within a major Canadian financial institution will lead to demonstrations and discussions of processes useful in such situations. How can SF be useful at each stage of the change process? And where are the boundaries - how can the organisation's clients and suppliers play a role?

Ten Coaching Conundrums with Paul Z Jackson, Janine Waldman and Peter Szabo

Coaching is a hugely relevant area for the application of SF ideas. The focus on brief change and pragmatism can lead to different kinds of coaching engagement than those familiar from coaching textbooks and long term relationships. This session will explore some of these differences in practical terms. How can you vary the basic SF ideas over the course of a long term coaching relationship? What if the client insists that someone else has to change? How much can you usefully "recall" about a client when you meet them again? These and other issues will be debated and illustrated, to come to some interesting and practical conclusions not just for coaches, but for all organisational SF practitioners.

Find out what works and do more of it... - SF research with Felix Hirschburger and Peter Röhrig

...and if it doesn't work do something different. How the practical and simple SF approach can be developed into evaluations that work efficiently in consulting, training and coaching. This session will give you

  • insights about the effectiveness of different SF projects
  • time to reflect on what we can learn out of that
  • an experience of how resourceful evaluation can work within groups
  • simple tools to evaluate your different services

Evaluating your work in a Solutions Focused way can help you to spread it even further into the company or the client's everyday life. Resourceful evaluation helps all parties involved to make progress and shows potential clients what they can expect when they work with you.

Change inside out - how to change your organisation without permission with Mike Goran, Rob Rave and Mark McKergow

The interactional view is at the heart of the SF approach. This way of looking at organisations, first developed in the 1960s, shows that change can be viewed as happening inbetween people, rather than inside them. This philosophy can be used to explore some unconventional modes of change. Change by rumour and ripple, where a small change in one part of the organisation can be spread and adapted. Change by guerrilla tactics, where anyone in the organisation can take on a decisive role in promoting change. The session will explore how the SF approach points us to some of these unconventional alternatives, and how SF ideas can be used in such situations as key ways to develop and sustain change.

The venue - Amber Hotel Konopiste, near Prague, Czech Republic

The Amber Hotel at Konopiste (
) is located about 50 km from Prague and a ten minute walk from the neo-gothic Konopiste castle. The hotel is on the edge of a small town, with countryside and trees all around. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms. There is a swimming pool, mini-golf, tennis courts, volleyball, gardens and a well-equipped fitness centre (solarium, sauna, gym). Bicycles and horses are available for hire, and some architectural elements of 1970s Eastern block modernity provide a distinctive feel. Check out the hotel website for more pictures.

The SOL Summer University will have sole use of the meeting facilities at the hotel during our stay. A special accommodation price has been negotiated. Bed and breakfast accommodation for six nights (Sunday - Friday inclusive) is included in the total fee of Euros 1169.-

What's included in the fee?

The fee of Euros 1169.- includes:

  • All workshops and SF learning activities during the event
  • Six nights bed and breakfast accommodation in an ensuite room
  • Lunches, coffees and light refreshments every day (Monday to Friday)
  • Four dinners during the week (including a welcome dinner, a barbeque and a farewell gala)
  • Trip into Prague city centre for sightseeing
  • Transfers from Prague airport (this is a really good bonus - Prague taxi-drivers are ruthless overchargers!)

The fee is made up as follows:

Summer University: Euros 749.-

Accomodation: Euros 420.-

Joining the SOL Summer University:

E email Jenny Clarke ( to ask for a booking form. Payment can be made by PayPal, by bank transfer or directly by credit card (Mastercard/Visa). Let us know which you would prefer to use. PayPal is the most convenient for us.

Questions about the SOL Summer University - please email Jenny Clarke at

Biographical Details

Kirsten Dierolf MA holds graduate degrees in theology and linguistics. She is owner and founder of SolutionsAcademy and designs and delivers training and development measures mainly for international corporations in banking, pharmaceutical industry, and IT. Kirsten has spoken on solution focused organisational development and leadership in front of various international audiences and published several articles on solution focused "theory" and practice. She is the proud mother of 3 sons and two tomcats. Find out more about Kirsten at

Mike Goran coaches individuals, teams and organizations to become future flexible in areas of creative problem solving, thinking on their feet and leadership/fellowship. His hybrid background allows him to seamlessly blends theory and practical application. His range of experience includes training within a variety of corporate communities, including advertising, communications & media, health services, several major financial institutions and various national associations. Mike possesses unique and valuable improvisational skills, in which he has instructed many corporations, organizations, private facilities & school boards throughout Ontario. He is currently a Sr. Consultant with Ignite Excellence (

Felix Hirschburger holds a master's degree in economics and is involved in several solution focused projects. He is founder of the Swiss-based company Resourcefulsearch and helps coaches, trainers and organisations to reinforce their success and make it visible. Find out more about Felix at

Paul Z Jackson is an inspirational consultant, who devises and runs training courses and development programmes in strategy, leadership, teamwork, creativity and innovation. His expertise in improvisation, accelerated learning and the solutions focus approach has attracted many clients around the world. A graduate of Oxford University, contributor to scholarly publications and international conferences as keynote speaker and workshop presenter, he lives in St Albans.

Björn Johansson is an experienced consultant, trainer and therapist who, together with his colleagues, runs the Centre for Solution Focused Development in Sweden. He is in the frontline of developing strategies and models for various organisational contexts and has contributed to several evaluated controlled projects in group settings, absence management, behaviour and productivity in industry. Björn is a great enthusiast for finding how SF ideas can facilitate daily work, making it more effective and more fun! Find out more at

Alan Kay consults in corporate strategy and enterprise brand and client experience implementation. Formerly an advertising agency manager, he has been using SF in large organizations for eight years to help speed up strategic and human change. An experienced facilitator, he is an enthusiastic advocate of roundtable discussions. Alan also teaches marketing communications strategy to executive development students at the Schulich School of Business, York University.

Dr Mark McKergow is a consultant, trainer, author and speaker who has played a key role in the adoption of SF ideas by managers and organisational consultants. He is the co-author of "The Solutions Focus", founded SolutionsBooks to publish new work on using SF ideas in organisations, and has spoken about Solutions Focus on every continent except Antarctica. His MBA specialised in creative and HR management. Find out more about Mark at and

Rob Rave is a solutions focused coach by training and by nature. He seeks simplicity and reliability in working with teams and individuals in helping to create results, "flow" and significant change within the business processes and the people involved. His clients include directors, managers and teams in financial and the IT sectors.

Originally a professional tennis coach, he became increasingly interested in wider aspects of coaching through the Inner Game and NLP approaches, and finds that using SF enables him to provide clients with focus, progress and the experience of a "flow state" in the process of solution building.

Dr Peter Röhrig, born 1948, is an SF consultant, trainer and coach in Cologne / Bonn (Germany). His formal education was as an economist and social scientist. Leadership experience in business and family. A member of the SOL steering group from the beginning, he is the inventor of SF quality development in Germany and has a passion for SF leadership training. Peter loves singing and watching emotional movies. Find out more about Peter at

Dr Peter Szabo is founder and director of Weiterbildungsforum Basel the lagest coaching school in Switzerland. He has adopted the solutions-focused approach to coaching and is member of the credentialing team for the International Coach Federation (ICF). In his Brief Coaching practice he works with both individual and corporate clients on business and life coaching issues. He is co-author of "Brief Coaching for Lasting Solutions" with Insoo Kim Berg (WW.Norton Publishers, 2005). Beginning in 2006 he will be offering solutions-focused coach trainings in English through

Janine Waldman is an executive coach, consultant and trainer who has introduced Solutions Focused coaching into numerous organisations in the UK and abroad.Following a master's degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management at the London School of Economics, Janine led organisational development programmes and has coached managers and facilitated workshops for clients in both the public and private sectors. Janine also lectures and teaches at Birkbeck University and Westminster University.

Last updated by Kathryn Lamb Sep 11, 2009.




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