Whether it is used in research, as a journaling system or to present material for mass interpretation, SenseMaker® empowers the respondent to own their own material. Unlike longitudinal research it can both scale and provide real time feedback mechanisms. Unlike tagging systems the only bias is that of the respondent. Unlike many big data tools it puts humans at the front and humans at the back. Technology augmenting human intelligence.


A new and exciting use of SenseMaker® is currently being implemented which allows whole populations of citizens or employees to form part of a human sensor network. These networks have the potential to replace traditional research tools, polling and focus groups. They also create networks for ordinary purposes that can be activated for extra-ordinary need. During a crisis this can be invaluable, but it also enables an entirely new approach to evidence based policy under conditions of uncertainty.


The output of SenseMaker® is statistical data backed up by explanatory narrative. This means that advocacy is an integral part of the system. Numbers on their own appear objective but are not persuasive, anecdotes on their own may be persuasive but are not objective. SenseMaker® puts the two together and provides a powerful means of persuasion. It also enables action. “Instead of asking, “How do we create a culture of X?” we ask “How do we create more stories like this and fewer stories like that?”  Then as actions are initiated we see the impact in real time.

Cases & Examples


This project, commissioned by the GirlHub (Nike Foundation), ran a pilot SenseMaker® study to study the impact of their 12+ Young Empowerment Programme in Rwanda. This study uses SenseMaker®’s iOS app in the field, which greatly enhances field capture capabilities in a developing country. Capture is still on-going, along with monitoring and evaluation.

See the full report here

KPMG: Taking the Investor Perspective

Emerging from the 2008 global crisis the Russian government made the economic development of its regions a strategic priority. But amidst the usual top-down planning discussions senior dissenting voices were beginning to be heard. “Investment in our regions will not increase until we improve the attractiveness of their business climates,” argued the Chief Economic Advisor to the President in 2012, “but we will not improve those business climates until we start looking at them through the eyes of investors we need to attract.”

KPMG and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) used SenseMaker® to take on this ‘bottom-up’ challenge in its bi-annual report looking at the state of Russia’s regions. ‘Taking the Investor Perspective’ explored the reality on the ground by looking through the eyes of those foreign investors (who have greater choice about where to invest) with business in Russia’s regions. The final report – released in 2013 at an all-Russia round table headed by the Prime Minister – described the real challenges the regions face and the issues they needed to address.

The project was led by Marcus Guest, Narrative Insights.

See the full report here

Making Sense of Safety

An electric utility organisation in Canada used SenseMaker® to address issues concerning a less than satisfactory safety performance record despite nurturing a culture oriented to incident prevention, and the approach enabled Management to rationalise its return on investments in safety.

See the full report here

Pfizer: Using Stories to Increase Sales

Narrate worked on a sales improvement project that used Cognitive Edge methods and SenseMaker® to understand and engage the European salesforce of Pfizer. The project was a resounding success, driving a major company event and a series of different activities to support the sales reps.

Melcrum’s Strategic Communications Management magazine recently featured the project with an in-depth case study, written by Pfizer communications director Nigel Edwards. As he says in the article, SenseMaker® and anecdote circles gave them insight into the problem that no other method could have given them.

See the full report here

IPS Prism: Governance in 2022

The Institute of Policy Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore commissioned Cognitive Edge to use its narrative research methods and SenseMaker® software to understand this of Singapore’s citizens: ‘How will we govern ourselves in 2022?’

The over-arching question asked of respondents was ‘Tell us a story about what your life might be in ten years’ time’. This approach using CE’s methods and software enabled the project team to probe deeper into perspectives about ‘good governance’, how the government should play its role and the value of the vote, amongst other issues.

See the full report here

Wales Audit Office

This is a Wales Audit Office project which applied SenseMaker® to engage its staff to better understand their perceptions of working for the WAO. Staff across various roles shared 151 stories. Patterns gathered were explored using SenseMaker® Explorer and the observations made during the analysis is presented in this report.

The WAO very kindly made public the final report which can be found here.

Mining Safety: A Business Imperative

This is a Deloitte-commissioned project which applied SenseMaker® to explore the state of mine safety in South Africa using the Cynefin framework. By collecting narrative fragments from a wide range of industry stakeholders, the research aimed to generate new insights into the complex problem of mine safety so that companies could take the next step towards safety breakthroughs.

See the full report here

Children of the World

Working with government, research and cultural organisations, Narrate and Cognitive Edge piloted narrative and SenseMaker-based approaches to understanding different cultures. Students in schools have supplied and collected narratives, giving deep and contextual insights to local cultures as well as indicating possible future projects in those communities.

Philips Lighting

Philips Lighting embarked on a narrative project with Ferro to gain rich insights into the motivations about gardening, in a project on garden light innovation. Narratives about gardens, from all over the world, are captured using the new SenseMakerTM v3.0 Collector and Auditor modules.

For every narrative that was contributed, Ferro and Philips donated one euro to a tree- planting programme.
The project was led by Jochum Stienstra from Ferro.

Kline Group

KlinePulse, a groundbreaking new research initiative designed to gather authentic consumer insights to help companies make crucial decisions about research and marketing efforts, leverages the research methodologies and software of Cognitive Edge.

Its recently released study by Kline & Company reveals surprising insights in how consumers see innovation in the personal care product segment. A press release by Kline outlines some of their study findings and the benefits of using Cognitive Edge’s methods and tools.

National Museums Liverpool

The project was driven by a need at National Museums Liverpool (NML) to carry out large scale qualitative evaluation in order to adapt and develop its schools’ program.

As a result of the My Visit project, figures for learning visits to NML rose by over 400% from Knowsley. Feedback from the site has helped refine or develop over twenty NML learning activities.

Sustainable relationships with teachers in the area have been created. The project has enabled the learning team to concentrate on leading sessions, development work and other evaluation techniques rather than the analysis of data.

The success of the project has also led to the development of an on-gallery web-based questionnaire for visitors to the slavery museum.


A SCAN is a SenseMaker® Online service that has been pre-configured for fast deployment for select areas of narrative inquiry.  Any organization can now quickly deploy a SCAN to gather observations and experiences from their employees or customers providing rich insights into:

More SCANs under development by Cognitive Edge and its partners.


SCAN vs. customized SenseMaker® deployment

Since 2005, CE and trained practitioners have been designing custom SenseMaker®  configurations, in a wide range of applications. This experience has allowed us to see common SenseMaker® design elements that consistently deliver value in several application areas. SCANs package these common design elements into standardized SenseMaker® configurations.  Hence, we can offer SCAN services at a more attractive commercial terms in a quickly deployable form.


Purchasing and launching a SCAN

Once you have decided on a SCAN application, see current options below, the purchasing process is as follows:

  1. ORDER. Complete an on-line SCAN order form providing customization information including a logo and one (1) custom multi-choice question. Your SCAN SenseMaker® site will be setup with your logo and custom question as shown in this SCAN demo site.
  2. REVIEW. Within approximately five (5)  business days of your request, the CE support team will stage your SCAN site and send you a link and app code to review your SCAN and requested customizations.
  3. GO-LIVE. Once you have reviewed and accepted your staged SCAN site, our team will transfer your SCAN to a “go-live” server.  Our team will email you your SCAN URL and app code for you to start narrative collection.


While your SCAN is “live”, you can access your data via instructions and a download link provided.  After your SCAN period ends, we will also send you an overview pattern insight report.  If you’d like to extend the SCAN period, just let your CE support contact know you’d like to extend and procure additional months of SCAN time by selecting “Procure additional time” on a new order.

If you have any questions about the overall process please contact us.

To order a SCAN, select the SCAN application type below to access that SCAN order page.


    By Cognitive Edge

Illuminates cultural patterns reflected in the day to day conversations in an organisation.


    By Cognitive Edge

Helping you understand and shape your safety culture with an authentic and deeper sense of your present reality.



Engages your staff in a new way, offering great insights from the bottom up and challenging any ‘group think’ amongst leadership



Gathers organisational ideas and understand the creativity landscape as it stands.



One of the most widely respected models of developing innovation in organisations.

Got an idea about a SCAN we should set up? Email us with your idea.
Premium Members, interested in creating your own SCAN with revenue sharing? Do get in touch