Powered by SenseMaker®

21 February 2019

The growing complexity and volatility in the markets we operate in have led to a greater appreciation for our thinking and theories, and it has also created a shift in demand for our software offerings.  Whereas in the past the market seemed focused on capability, i.e. how we do things, clients are now focused on application – what will it do for me? In response to this shift, we are creating application-based offerings utilising the core capability of SenseMaker® (expressed through open APIs) coupled with linked methods and tools. Our intent is to create packaged offerings (including training and consulting approaches alongside the software) that network members can deliver and sell easily. Our API-based approach will enable network members to create their own branded offerings rather than being locked into a platform.

SenseMaker®: stable, secure and GDPR compliant

SenseMaker® 2.3, with dramatically improved security compliance and stability is a first (and major) step. Deployed on Amazon Web Services, it provides a base for further development.  We are fully aware that there have been reliability issues on the server side over the last few years and this has now been addressed. Getting SenseMaker® through the destruction and other tests (which we passed with flying colours) involved a bottom-up approach to all current code. We took advantage of that process to expose the core APIs at a micro level. This allows us to rapidly modernise established and proven capability rather than start from scratch. We also now have the GDPR certificates in place, which are key for modern software use and increasingly a requirement for procurement departments in governments and large organisations.

Over the next few months you will see a steady cadence of new application-specific releases, leveraging our development partners, agile42’s deep expertise in Agile software development.  Our goal is to release functionality fast, then test and adapt. One of our first priorities will be an easy project set-up tool for those who don’t want the fuller functionality (and training overhead) of Designer.

Making it easier to sell and start projects

We are also aware that, with the growth of the network, we need to make it easier to get started with SenseMaker® projects.  So we are breaking the old pattern that involved lots of design meetings and required people to engage in signifier design on their first project.   You can still do that if you want. However, we now have solid libraries and specialists who can take the input from a simple form and create your first draft signifiers using material that has already been tested. The other big change is to shift from the capture-analyse-report cycle that has characterised SenseMaker® projects so far, to one based on continuous capture (or a series of Pulses) with real-time reporting and a range of intervention methods that themselves generate SenseMaker® data for knowledge sharing.  This will include the pioneering use of trans-generational pairing, which was tested for the first time in our Valleys Project.  The focus will be more and more on the difference and impact SenseMaker® enables you to make rather than the process of data capture.

We will also be taking a successful process that has been called 2:1:2 to date (we are looking for a better name, so please send your suggestions).  This is a mentored process in which an initial two day design workshop with a client, creates up to five experimental SenseMaker® projects, which is then implemented with online support a one day learning workshop in the middle of capture,  followed by a final two day workshop to analyse data, design interventions, and facilitate cross-project learning.  This will have a fixed price and can be led by any trained network member with someone more experienced acting as a mentor.  We’ve run a dozen of these over the years and they have always produced long term sustainable revenue. We therefore want to package it as a supported product and extend it to the network as an offering.

We are also creating a set of offerings around known needs under the generic title of pulse-sense-evolve; that is to say, taking the pulse on a regular basis, making sense of what is happening, and then evolving the system as a whole to a more stable and sustainable state.  These are described later in this update and will be up within weeks for you to play with and sell!

To support this and create appropriate offering packages we’ll be extending the methods, software representation and publications around the Vector Theory of Change (more stories like these, fewer like those).

Finally, we plan to experiment with the introduction of valuable regular clinics to our trainer and member communities.  We will be scheduling three experimental clinics over the next few months, each featuring two or three Cognitive Edge staff or experienced network members. The intent is to answer questions and provide support to our trainer and practitioner networks,  who are running training or attempting to sell and deliver projects. This will be available only to select membership communities. Places will be limited for each event, so keep a lookout for the formal announcement and invitations.

Powered by SenseMaker®

In a recent webinar, we demonstrated agile42’s OrgScan,  the first fully Powered by SenseMaker® offering. OrgScan was jointly designed by agile42 and Cognitive Edge, tested and refined using standard SenseMaker® and, once stable, customised very quickly on agile42’s own platform. We are now integrating agile42’s platform with SenseMaker® 2.3 in order to provide rapid deployment capability for new applications. This includes the demonstrated functionality of real-time, continuous capture and interactive reporting.

The big news here for network members is that you can create your own powered by SenseMaker® applications based around your own ideas and concepts – we are in active discussions with two network members who want to do this utilising their own development teams in collaboration with our own.  Our vision is to offer an open, customised, action-orientated, scalable and resilient capability, not simply a research tool or lock-in platform.

For those who want to offer low-cost, fast and customisable tests we are now happy to license you to use SenseMaker®’s IP in platforms such as Qualtrix, Lime Survey and others.  If you follow our guidelines, those implementations will allow integration with our own analysis and reporting tools and can be part of a wider solution.  We don’t see the need or the point of creating a competitive platform in an established market.


We believe MassSense represents the next evolution of engagement, whether that is the whole of your workforce, customers or even fellow citizens.  The idea here is to present material (infographic, a corporate statement, illustrations) to a distributed network (such as your workforce),  who then responds with their own situational assessment, a micro-scenario about the future and signification in near-real time.  This engages people in decision making rather than being yet another survey, although it can offer similar insights as engagement and other surveys.

Once in place, it can be used to provide dynamic real-time decision support that allows us to find not only dominant perspectives, but also outlier views, i.e. the 17% who could see the gorilla.

24 radiologists were asked to perform a familiar lung nodule detection task.

A picture of a gorilla, 48 times larger than the average nodule, was inserted in the last case.

83% of radiologists did not see the gorilla.

Eye-tracking showed that the majority of the those who missed the gorilla looked directly at it”

–Drew, Vo & Wolfe
Psychol Sci. Sep 2013; 24(9): 1848–1853

This is a really exciting development and can now be implemented with SenseMaker® v2.3. We are also planning automation of workflow to ease the process.


These application-specific offerings will be launched using the new user interfaces provided by the OrgScan development, so if you take a look at that you can get a sense of what is coming You won’t have to wait long, since we will start releasing within a week or two of you getting this newsletter

These will include (released more or less in this order):

  1. Attitudes to Cyber-security
  2. Well-being check
  3. Agility Pulse
  4. Cultural mapping (with multiple variants)
  5. Attitudes to Safety
  6. Measuring Cognitive Diversity

You can also develop and sell your own PSEs: just get in touch to find out how (our partnership with Gaping Void is one example of this). Watch out for each launch, as there will be early bird deals available.  Each of the PSEs will feature an online webinar, which will be developed into training materials and clinics to offer sales support.


We are happy to answer your questions: Office@cognitive-edge.com