The Solutionist Group

The Solutionist Group is a family owned, independent consultancy that offers advanced problem solving and dispute resolution services to individual, commercial, professional and family business clients. We are based in Melbourne, Australia and work throughout Australia and overseas. The Group comprises:

  • The Solutionist Group (including Family Business Strategies). Strategic problem solving, expert advice, facilitation services and best practice solutions for families in business – from small private companies to large, multi-generational dynasties.
    Also:  business facilitation and strategic planning services for professional practices and commercial entities.
  • Family Business Strategies. Strategic problem solving, expert advice, facilitation services and best practice solutions for families in business – from small private companies to large, multi-generational dynasties.
  • Dispute Solutions ( Expert conflict management and dispute resolution services, including: arbitration and mediation; dispute management and conflict systems design.

Dispute Solutions was established in 1994 to provide practical and cost-effective dispute resolution and conflict management services to individuals, businesses, professional practices and other organisations.

Family business advice became the centre of our universe around the turn of the millennium, and rapidly became the Group’s major specialisation.  Dispute resolution morphed into strategic problem solving;  Solutionism was conceived as a response to family business needs, and The Solutionist Group was born.  Family Business Strategies followed, as host to our Family Business Best Practice Process Model.

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jonJon Kenfield – LLB, CA,  FRI, FFBI, MBO

Founder and Master Solutionist:  The Solutionist Group.

Founder and Chair:  Family Business Institute

Arbitrator, Mediator and Dispute Resolver:  Dispute Solutions.

Family Business Adviser:  Family Business Strategies.

Author:  “The Solutionist Guide to Family Business” (the leading Australian text: 350 pages).

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Qualifications & Experience

Jon is a Master Solutionist.

He has an honours degree in law, and has been a chartered accountant for over 30 years, including senior positions as a principal/director in two of the “Big 4” firms.  He’s a Grade 1 Commercial Arbitrator and is one of Australia’s most experienced Mediators and Family Business Advisers.  Jon is also a qualified teacher, scuba diving instructor and oil rig diver.

Jon has been involved in professional training for many years and has developed workshops on many topics including:  communication, negotiation, facilitation, mediation; values & visioning;  problem solving & decision making;  succession planning & business continuity;  leadership and family business best practice.

After obtaining a law degree, Jon worked as a scuba instructor and safari guide in the Red Sea; as an adventure travel and wildlife photo-journalist based in London; as a developer and promoter of worldwide adventure travel programs, and as an underwater photographer on the oil rigs of the North and Java Seas.

Not quite being satisfied that he had done enough, he returned to England and qualified as a chartered accountant, then promptly went overseas to work for Deloitte in Africa (Zambia and Zimbabwe).

In 1985, with wife Sara and 1.6 children, he migrated to Australia, settled in Perth, re-joined Deloitte, and established Australia’s first major forensic accounting and dispute resolution practice.  He transferred to Melbourne in 1992 to establish a national forensic practice, later joining Ernst & Young.

Seeking more freedom to provide clients with the processes and outcomes he believed they really needed, Jon left EY in 1994 to establish his own boutique practice:  Dispute Solutions.  His aim was to provide innovative conflict management processes for clients who wanted practical solutions without pitched battles and enormous fees.

In 2000, he spawned The Solutionist Group (“TSG”) to reflect the changed nature of his work: broadening the focus from innovative and fundamentally reactive dispute resolution to more proactive problem solving.  Dispute Solutions remains a leader in the dispute resolution field, while TSG is the leader for creative problem solving.

In the late 1990’s, Australian Family Businesses started coming out of the closet.  Jon made sure he was there to greet and encourage them, initially as a uniquely well-qualified dispute resolver, specialising in managing meltdown family conflicts, and later as an accredited adviser, helping families to avoid getting into conflict in the first place by implementing best practice strategies, structures and systems.

His major focus has been on the family business sector for many years.

He recently brought all of this together, with the help of a small specialist faculty,  to create the Family Business institute – training other family business advisers to be more effective in this highly complex area of practice.

Jon’s book, “The Solutionist Guide to Family Business”, is regarded as the definitive Australian “how to” text for business families who want to enjoy having long term, sustainable family businesses.

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Interests & Pastimes

Jon’s interests include reading, writing and films. jon-interests

His main passions (outside work and family) are fly fishing, travel and underwater photography, which provides plenty of scope for an ever-expanding bucket list of things to do.

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