Problem Solving

The use of Interest Based Problem Solving (IBPS) as a means to engage employees (and their representatives) in solving business problems is gaining momentum in New Zealand.

Statistics NZ and the PSA  entered into an agreement to use IBPS because “leadership of both parties are seeking to adopt a breakthrough so that this dispute can be resolved”.

Auckland Council’s “The way we work” programme is a “wide-ranging 10 to 15 year vision aimed to create a “high performance, high engagement, high trust organisation” through IBPS”.

Air New Zealand has adopted IBPS as means to achieving high engagement and effective industrial relations through their “High Performance Engagement” initiative.

Outside of New Zealand, Kasier Permanente and Southwest Airlines  have achieved extraordinary results by building Interest Based Problem Solving into the very DNA of their organisations.


So what is Interest Based Problem Solving?

Kasier Permanente’s Labour Management Partnership describe IBPS as:
“a fresh alternative to the old-fashioned ways of trying to solve problems.  Instead of fighting it out, participants work together to reach agreement.  They share information and remain creative and flexible to reach a solution that meets everyone’s interests.”

At it’s heart Interest Based Problem Solving is a form of systemic thinking that provides a structure to a problem solving session where instead of it being “you against me because of the problem” it becomes “you and me against the problem”.  If those phrases sound familiar to you it was originally coined by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt the founder of the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes.  A close inspection of both processes reveals some very strong similarities.

To date the results of Interest Based Problem Solving have been outstanding for those who have been able to build it in to the way they do business.


Experienced High Performance Engagement Facilitator, Coach and Consultant.

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Karl Perry

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