Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Case study - Using the SF Approach to find £1.5 billion savings on HS2 (High Speed Train) Programme UK

Solution Focus Case Study

The High Speed 2 rail project (HS1 was the Channel Tunnel project) will be Europe's biggest infrastructure project, if it receives government approval to go ahead. As part of the planning, HS2 Ltd sought to make savings on the projected budget of around £1.5 billion.

The company formed a team to seek these savings through more innovative ways of working, rather than pure cost cutting. Yes! And supported the team, using SF to run 14 workshops in total with people from diverse organisations and disciplines.

Listen to this podcast as John Pelton MBE, now Programme Partner Director (Transcend) on the London Crossrail project,  discusses how Solution Focus and Yes! And helped his team to find the £1.5 billion savings on the Phase 1 project budget. 

HS2 Case Study Podcast

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Learn how Solution Focus can help you engage people, minimise resistance and achieve your targets more quickly.

We apologise for the intermittent "creaks" on this podcast, it was the internal structure of the building in which we recorded the interview, not our joints.

To read a transcript, click here Tough Targets - JP interview transcript. Guaranteed creak free.

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Wow, John! Great piece of SF work! Congratulations. Keep doing what you do - you are great.

Thanks for sharing this. Julia

Very nice example of both "SF applied", and "success story told well" - thank you, John!

The project's content reminds me of an article I co-wrote in 2007 (in German language, alas ...) about the "T5-Agreement", the special working agreement on another big construction site (6bn pounds!): Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. Their approach was not exactly SF, but, instead, rather closely related to something I learned to appreciate under the title "Theory of Constraints" (by Eli Goldratt). Ever since, I wonder how much SF and "CF" ("constraints focus") are indeed complementary views or "maps" on the same "territory"? ...



Hi Klaus, in fact T5 is one of the exemplar projects in the UK, despite it's opening week hiccups it was on time and budget.

There was already a discussion in April 2009 in the SOLUTION-List started by Varecia, see HERE

(You, Klaus, also took part in this discussion)

I think, that Goldratt's TOC in not in line with SF:

The Theory of Constraints, see e.g. is based on the idea, to be able to analyse and understand an - especially organisational - system in a prospective way like a very complicated, but at the end "calculable" system. The title "Theory of Constraints" comes from the contention that any manageable system is limited in achieving more of its goal by a very small number of constraints, and that there is always at least one constraint. The TOC process seeks to identify the constraint and restructure the rest of the organization around it. The underlying assumption of Theory of Constraints is that organizations can be measured and controlled by variations on three measures: Throughput, Operating Expense, and Inventory.

I am sure: This does not work for COMPLEX systems like social systems. 

More about this I tried to write HERE.

And - as I can read in Ivan's first and   Ivan's second reply - TOC arose from the need to better manage production as did TQM, etc. The theoretical bases of these various approaches are usually some way of thinking about systems and how cause and effect works within the systems.

So: TOC fits good (based on Snowden's Cynefin) for simple or complicated systems, but not for complex ones.

SF fits well for complex sytems also.






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