Who has used the Search Conference & Participative Design Workshop and what was the outcome?
Microsoft – Microsoft used the method to facilitate new product development conducting four back to back Search Conference’s which culminated in a meeting for integrating ideas, strategies and action plans. This resulted in a comprehensive strategy for each of the product lines within the division.
Apple – Apple sponsored a Search Conference on the future of customer-supplier relationships in the apps industry in 2003 – inviting their major customers to participate in creating a strategic partnership. The results were impressive.
Google -One plant used the Search Conference to organize work so people would be able to see themselves as owners. The Search Conference was used to bring people together, to make the best choices for a better and more meaningful future.
Motorola- A business unit which designs and produces the newest, smallest semi-conductors for the wireless equipment business used the Search Conference to hold a world-wide strategic planning event in Tokyo. The result: Key programs were established to fill technology voids, markets were expanded, a systems solution approach to customers was begun and the design of new products was shifted to the regions instead of being centrally located.
Ford Electronics -A Canadian facility conducted a Search Conference in 1982 to determine how to survive in their marketplace. The result was a mindset shift. Rather than making parts for Ford they determined to become a learning lab for new technology and management practices that could be exported to other Ford facilities. That led to redesign of the facility, implementation of TQM, winning a prestigious quality award and expansion of the plant from 900 to 1800 people.
Levi Strauss – Levi Strauss in Canada was acclaimed for their innovative management practices. Years ago they outlined the future they now have in place in a Search Conference. The critical shift in mindset was to form a partnership with the union and go forward together to create the future.
Automatic Data Processing -One division confronted major changes in it’s business environment. It used a Search Conference to reposition itself and rewrite the business strategy. Action plans formed around a new marketing focus, a redefinition of pricing and support, a commitment to new product development, together with training and implementation of productivity tools.
Xerox -A Customer Business Unit identified these key business drivers in a Search Conference: We will have fully empowered employees who are accountable and have incentives to meet their customers’ requirements with the only boundary being ethical behavior. We will have an organizational design based on cross-functional work groups to increase profits by 15%, and revenue growth by 20% per year. Bottoms-up planning will be used with all employees and managers as a means for continuous learning and improvement. The CBU will be market driven and recognized as the vendor of choice. Mastery of technology tools that fully support our business needs will exist throughout the organization. Action teams are working to overcome obstacles and make these initiatives happen.
Buurtzorg -A Dutch company has detailed performance metrics on every team visible across the organization. Transparency creates a powerful incentive for peer-to-peer learning and continuous improvement. Buurtzorg’s fifteen thousand workforce is organized into self-managing teams with only two senior directors, including its founder Jos de Blok, Buurtzorg’s founder. Buurtzorg has set new benchmarks in every area of performance. Their substantial lead over their competitors isn’t the result of a brilliant top-down strategy, slavishly applied operating rules, or data-munching algorithms, but rather of an enhancive and tropophilic organizational structure that empowers and equips every employee to be an inspired problem solver and a business-savvy decision maker.
The Search Conference & Participative Design Workshop In Action