We design online and face to face challenges that help leaders problem-solve with their stakeholders

Engage your circles of problem solvers



  • Phil Graham
    Phil Graham
    National Infrastructure Commission
  • Dan Bridge
    Dan Bridge
    Greater London Authority
  • Martin Powell
    Martin Powell
  • Muna Wehbe
    Muna Wehbe
    STARS Foundation
Phil Graham
National Infrastructure Commission

Phil Graham was working in the private office of the Secretary of State for Transport, when the last major review on airport capacity in the South East of England was launched. The review recommended that a second runway be built in Stansted and a third in Heathrow. That was in 2003. Over a decade has passed and London remains with exactly the same number of runways since City Airport was opened in 1987. In the autumn of 2012, just after London’s Summer Olympics, Phil Graham got a call from Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport. Phil Graham was no stranger to politically sensitive large infrastructure projects having just led a two year long review and case for building HS2, a new high speed rail connection between London and Northern England. Being asked to head a study on one of the most controversial projects in British infrastructure history was therefore a natural next step. Phil would act as chief executive of the Airports Commission, which would advise central Government on the necessity to expand airport capacity in the South East of England and if so, where? The commission was chaired by Howard Davies who was supported by four commissioners, Sir John Armitt, Professor Ricky Burdett, Vivienne Cox, and Professor Dame Julia King. It was Phil Graham’s responsibility to design the review process and provide critical evidence to the Commission. With this evidence, the Commissioners would shortlist a number of options that would see increased runway capacity in London.

It’s now December 2013 and with just one week to go before the interim report is published, Phil Graham is asked by the Secretary of State for Transport to review the four options that the Commission wants to put forward to the next stage. The options include, two proposals each with a new runway for Heathrow, one proposal with a new runway for Gatwick and a final proposal, pending further evidence, with a completely new airport in the Thames Estuary promoted by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Your task is to review the evidence and suggest on what grounds certain options should be shortlisted and others dismissed. Does Phil Graham hold the necessary evidence and stakeholder acceptance to put the Commission’s four options forward and face the scrutiny of stakeholders and the media on December 17th?


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Dan Bridge
Greater London Authority

Since 2000, the Greater London Authority has played a key role in steering metropolitan level strategy in sectors such as transport, the environment and economic development. One of the key innovations coming out of the GLA, was its integration of economic and social strategies through a spatial planning approach, mapping out where growth and investment should occur and where economic sectors would most likely become more competitive. From the outset, the Royal Docks were seen as a key part of an eastward growth corridor that had the necessary amount of brownfield land to accommodate new growth in the city. Beyond the market demand, what prevented the development of the area in London’s development boom years was a lack of transport and social infrastructure to transform the site from what used to be one of the world’s bustling dock areas to a liveable part of the city. It is not surprising that without this infrastructure investment successive government agencies such as the London Docklands Development Corporation, English Partnerships and the London Development Agency have, since the 1980’s, been unsuccessful in kick starting development. Could the GLA finally change this?

In 2012, the Mayor in collaboration with Newham Council published a strategy for the area that coincided with the establishment of London’s only Enterprise Zone, to be managed by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP). The vision set out to deliver a vibrant new part of the city following on from the legacy of the King’s Cross development and the Olympic Park development. Both the GLA and Newham Council agreed that this was a great location to house future employment in the city being perfectly aligned with London’s other employment zones along the new Crossrail east-west rail service. Having completed a competitive bidding process to find the right partners to develop the biggest sites in the area, Daniel Bridge had to come up with a list of infrastructure choices to make these developments happen.


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Martin Powell
When Pedro Miranda invited Martin Powell to head Siemens’ long term global engagement with cities, he was certain of one thing. Powell lived and breathed cities having been the Mayoral Advisor on the Environment to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, responsible for policy development for Energy and Climate Change, Adaptation, Water, Air Quality and Waste. Bringing someone that understood the ins and outs of how cities operate would pay great dividends for Siemens. In just four years since its inception, Siemens’ Center of Competence Cities has become one of the most high profile success stories of how a private organisation can become a thought leader in the cities space. Achieving such success has not been easy. Powell has constantly balanced the medium term sales priorities of Siemens’ business divisions with the longer term priorities of the cities that his team engage with.

It is the spring of 2016 and Powell is looking at how best to optimize his engagement with cities and with Siemens’nine divisions. Powell’s engagement with cities currently focuses on thought leadership activities that include major publications on topics that matter to cities and speaking opportunities in conferences across the world. Powell also has at his disposal a series of modelling tools that measure the impact of key Siemens technologies on important municipal indicators such as air quality and greenhouse gases. Finally, through Siemens’ Key Account Management structure, Powell supports over 70 city account managers in Siemens’ largest city markets who act as liaisons  between Siemens’ divisions and the Center of Competence. Powell needs to determine if this is the right structure to achieve the long term aim of turning this engagement into potential business for the company. It is your turn to help him.


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Muna Wehbe
STARS Foundation

Challenge coming soon

A unique methodology that allowed us to tap into the expertise of our key stakeholders in a seamless online and face to face way

— Dan Bridge, Principal Development Manager, Greater London Authority —

See the Case


We'll help you turn your stakeholders into problem solvers


To drive engagement with your stakeholders, our challenges focus on a key leader within your organisation who becomes the protagonist. This may be your CEO or an emerging leader.


We will design and host a dedicated online platform introducing your leader and their challenge to your nominated problem solvers. The platform mixes story telling, rich data and a short film introducing your leader and their challenge.


Once the platform is launched, you can invite problem solvers to take your challenge. Problem solvers may be your own teams allowing you to tap into the collective intelligence of your organisation or external consultants and stakeholders.


Your nominated challenge takers login to the platform individually allowing us to survey them on their key ideas. We also host online webinars and collaboration tools allowing participants to reframe your challenge.


Workshops take the shape of half day or full day hackathons where groups work on the challenge and pitch their solutions to leaders in your organisation.


Challenge Circles will report back to the organisation the key ideas that have emerged in the challenge experience. Results are uploaded on the online platform allowing both the organisation and the challenge takers to have a record of their engagement.

Through a single platform, we are unlocking the collective intelligence inside our organisation as well as engaging with external experts on our most pressing challenges

— Martin Powell, Global Head of Urban Development, Siemens —



13 circles / 24 problem solvers

  • The Challenge

    Dan Bridge is responsible for the regeneration of London’s Royal Docks one of the city’s biggest Mayoral land holdings. For many years, the area has been severed by road and rail and water ways making it difficult for the area to be developed. With over £400 million of guaranteed future business rate revenues, the Mayor can finally start investing in the vital infrastructure to regenerate the area. The question is, what infrastructure should be prioritised first and where?

  • The Circles

    Dan Bridge wanted to put this challenge to both current and future stakeholders in the Royal Docks. Current stakeholders included the local authority and some of London’s key business enablers such as London City Airport and the ExCeL exhibition centre. New stakeholders included the Mayor’s development partners delivering new districts in the Docks. In total, 24 problem solvers from 13 organisations were invited to take the challenge.

  • Solution

    A dedicated platform was built for the challenge and each of the 24 participants were invited to register and hear Dan’s story and take a five minute online survey. The response rate was over 80%. A morning workshop was held in the Royal Docks were participants tested different infrastructure options. The results of the workshop were documented and visualised on the platform and our now used to draw up detailed plans for the area.

Invite your Circles

Invite as many circles of problem solvers for online and face to face challenge sessions


At the core, the Challenge Circles methodology was designed to extract the extensive knowledge that exists in your teams. Organisations would typically nominate employees with a minimum of two years experience to take the challenge.


Open your challenge as a way to develop or improve your current service or product. Challenge Circles provides a structured way to get valuable feedback from customers, whilst positioning your organisation’s leaders closer to your market


Tap into the knowledge of consultants or experts in a quick way. Challenge Circles allows you to scan and compare the ideas of as many consultants in a cost effective way


Is your challenge affecting internal and external stakeholders? From shareholders to groups that you are impacting, Challenge Circles provides a consultation process through the story of your leaders

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