The InterAction Collection

SF research initiatives

Upcoming projects in organisational change

May 16, 2021

karen-de-waele, Joe Chan

We met Karen De Waele at the SF in a Large-Scale Context Unconference in December 2019 and she inspired us to start this new section of our InterAction journal, sharing Research Initiatives in organisational contexts. She is calling for your support in connecting her to organisations for her project. Contributor Joe Chan from Singapore also has a research project underway and we include his summary below. If you would like to contact them, please use their email addresses.

Research: What are the small steps to being a great workplace?

Researcher: Karen de Waele (Belgium)

Hi, I’m Karen from Belgium and I first encountered SF during my training to become a psychologist. It’s only about five years ago, in 2015, that I rediscovered the approach during a coaching course. That year, I also grasped the opportunity to become a career coach and ever since, I have coached hundreds of employees to find new positions or workplaces.

Hearing all of their stories about companies and leaders encouraged me to recently start my own company to provide SF coaching and training for organisations that wish to become better workplaces.

It was actually a question one of my coachees asked that sparked me to initiate this new research project. She was disappointed in work and asked whether I could recommend a “genuinely great place to work”, not ones that marketed themselves as great.

Following the SF principle of ‘do more of what works’ and at the same time realizing that ‘every case is different’, I started interviewing organisations that are known to care for their employees.Either because they’ve won an award for it, or because I know someone who works there and is very positive about the employer.

I have started to create a series of good practices and collecting what works with small actions taken towards employees, to show that they really care about them. As I’m from Belgium I started this series with Belgian companies (EASI, Torfs, Netcure, Foreach), but I also interviewed the Benelux branch of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), which is a global company.

My best hope is to create a series of positive examples and inspire other companies to think of the small steps they can take to care more for their employees. I am also hopeful to find a few themes, actions or values that these companies have in common.

I plan to share these with the world and make it easier for other organisations to become great places to work.

Do you have an employer that’s really taking care of you and your colleagues, or do you know companies that do? Feel free to build a bridge and help me get in touch with them. That way I can expand my series of good practices to companies all over the world.

Thank you for reaching out!


Research: How is SF practice operationalised in the context of a social service agency?

Researcher: Joe Chan

While some research has studied the utility and effectiveness of the Solution Focused (SF) Approach, not much has focused on the training, supervision, and implementation process. Especially from the perspective of the youth clientele and workers – as well as their experiences with and perceptions of the SF practice.

Given that SF practice is a competency based model, workers in the agency who are trained or steeped in the approach would be the key research nodes. In this vein, the emphasis is less on the pedagogy or curriculum surrounding SF practice, but how it is experienced and ultimately implemented by the staff members.

Therefore, we hope that through a 3-year systematic and practice research-guided documentation of how SF practice is operationalised in the context of a social service agency in Singapore, REACH Community Services together with The Academy of Solution Focused Training can therefore lay the groundwork for evaluation of its programmes and services and for the sharing of best practices with other agencies. We have started with the training of 18 staff in SFBT Level 1 in Nov 2019 through classroom training and currently they are in the process of going through follow up coaching by the trainer.

We aim to consolidate and share our preliminary findings of this study through qualitative research methods coupled with some quantitative data of their learning and development in the SF approach.

If you have an interest in this research, please contact me.


Joe Chan
Joe Chan
InterAction Contributor
SFiO Contributor

Joe works and collaborates with government agencies, community grassroots organisations, schools, other social service agencies and the corporate sector to bring about changes in people’s lives. He is a Certified Professional Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation and also a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with the Singapore Association of Social Workers.