SenseMaker® for Research

Participant and action-centering research across methodological and disciplinary divides

Integrating qualitative and quantitative methods

Dense micro-narratives give you the material for in-depth understanding. Quantitative meta-data allow participants to add their own analyzable layer of interpretation. SenseMaker® combines them, allowing you to carry out research at unparalleled scales without sacrificing context and subtlety.

Working with the system as a whole

Approach complex systems as they deserve to be approached. Visualize patterns, see shifts and uncover connections that go beyond simplistic assumptions. Explore the human dynamics of human systems.

Stimulating interdisciplinarity

Use systemic overview and variable levels of abstraction to build connections beyond your own discipline and approach. Become part of a community of practitioners through the Cynefin Institute’s Programmes and Membership.

Uncertainty without paralysis

Look beyond the boundaries of your knowledge and connect elements in unprecedented ways. As an abductive technique, SenseMaker® allows you to generate coherent avenues for exploration without requiring absolute certainty.

From research to action

Discover the tracks, pathways and tendencies that will let you affect the real world in tangible ways. Communicate the results of your research by combining the powers of data and stories. Join existing research that has been applied in areas from health systems to humanitarian crises.


Below is a selection of academic articles that looks at SenseMaker as research methodology.

There is growing interest in studying processes of human sensemaking, as this strongly influences human and organizational behavior as well as complex system dynamics due to the diverse lenses people use to interpret and act in the world. The Cognitive Edge SenseMaker® tool is one method for capturing and making sense of people’s attitudes, perceptions, and experiences. It is used for monitoring and evaluation; mapping ideas, mind-sets, and attitudes; and detecting trends and weak signals. However, academic literature describing the tool-set and method is lacking. This introduction aims to guide researchers in choosing when to use SenseMaker and to facilitate understanding of its execution and limitations. SenseMaker can provide nuanced insight into system-level patterns of human sensemaking that can provide insight to nudge systems towards more desirable futures, and enable researchers to measure beyond what they know.

Systems 2019, 7(2), 25;

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