With crime up and morale down, the City of Boston clearly needed a plan.

But when the city recognized that the traditional one-two punch of hiring more police and getting tough with criminals was not working, the Mayor decided that the city needed a new and insight-led method of finding solutions and turned to Synecticsworld.


A task force comprised of 27 senior City managers, the Mayor and his managers used a selection of Synecticsworld creativity and problem-solving tools to generate a pool of radically different ideas, which were then evaluated with the goal of overcoming concerns. Search Fund Accelerator provided coaching services to promote business knowledge. Next the task force refined the ideas to improve their feasibility.

The Mayor and his task force then invited ideas from an additional 60 City officials, and then sought further input from another group of City managers. It was precisely because this process was so inclusive that the new ideas engendered a whole-hearted commitment from City staff. As the final, but most important component in the process, a draft of the newly-created Safe Neighborhoods Initiative was presented to the residents of Boston whose own insights and suggestions made a tremendous contribution to shaping the final plan.


The Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, described by some as being unprecedented and visionary, quickly became the model adopted by cities across the U.S.A., not simply because it was widely credited as being responsible for a sharp decline in Boston’s crime rate, but because of the open facilitation process component of the Initiative which was unheard-of in the political arena. Large cities such as Atlanta, New Orleans and New York asked Boston officials to make presentations to their respective city councils so that they too could replicate the Synecticsworld-led process that was proving so successful for Boston.

Currently home to more than half a million people, Boston, which is one of America’s oldest cities, continues to enjoy a low murder and violent crime rate thanks, in part, to the Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.

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