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Masterclass: Sense-making with narrative

*COVID-19 and the Masterclasses *

Our Masterclasses will now be available online! Details to be published shortly.

If you are interested to join an Online Masterclass, please send us a mail. We will let you know once the details are available.




What are the stories people tell? What do they mean, and how do we move beyond them? Narratives are a powerful way of communicating strategy, heuristics and culture. Unravel the plot and characters of your own narratives to use a time-tested method of managing and using knowledge. 

In Cognitive Edge, we have more than 20 years of experience with sense-making with narrative, and developed a rich collection of unique approaches and methods for working with narrative. 

This Masterclass looks at the wider context and methods of narrative and includes a basic introduction to SenseMaker®.  


  • Approach the complexity of narrative by understanding its power as the most ancient form of effective communication, as knowledge creation and storage, and as narrative research. Understand the balance between narrative as a form of knowledge storage, a research tool, and the more conventional use for communication.
  • Discover tools you can immediately put to practice for communication, such as metaphor, parable, and heuristics.
  • The use of archetypes, a long-standing Cynefin method, has been updated and extended. Here you will get a chance to learn and practice them in a multi-medial environment that goes beyond words and traditional learning.
  • Understand what an organisational application of narrative can do and how to use true-to-life learning stories as a way to talk about your values without resorting to prescriptive and cliched mission statements. Use the multiplicity of story to discover new things or points of view.


Dave Snowden divides his time between two roles – founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge and the founder and head of the Cynefin Centre. Dave’s work is international in nature and covers government and industry looking at complex issues relating to strategy, organisational decision making and decision making. He has pioneered a science-based approach to organisations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience and complex adaptive systems theory. His paper with Boone on Leadership was the cover article for the Harvard Business Review in November 2007 and also won the Academy of Management award for the best practitioner paper in the same year. He has previously won a special award from the Academy for originality in his work on knowledge management. During his tenure at IBM, he was selected as one of the six on-demand thinkers for w worldwide advertising campaign His company Cognitive Edge exists to integrate academic thinking with practice in organisations throughout the world and operates on a network model working with Academics, Government, Commercial Organisations, NGOs and Independent Consultants. He is also the main designer of the SenseMaker® software suite, originally developed in the field of counter-terrorism and now being actively deployed in both Government and Industry to handle issues of impact measurement, customer/ employee insight, narrative-based knowledge management, strategic foresight and risk management

*COVID-19 and the Masterclasses *
Many are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their activities. We would like to let all of you know that this masterclass remains unaffected by the outbreak. After consideration of the options, we made the decision to continue as planned.
We will be monitoring the situation and taking notice of national advice in all our event locations and we hope no changes will need to be made. At the moment, travel or trade restrictions are not recommended. If absolutely necessary, the masterclass might be postponed with alternative dates offered, rather than cancelled.


Cognitive Edge reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule the offered session. In the event of cancellation or rescheduling, a full refund of course fees will be processed within 10 business days of cancellation or rescheduling notice. Cancellations by registrants are only permitted with a minimum of 3 weeks notice ahead of course delivery date with refunds provided less a 10% processing fee. Substitutions are permitted at any time as well as rescheduling attendance to an alternate session within a 12 month period.

Explanation of ticket discount options below. PLEASE NOTE the discount changes from 2019 bolded in (2).

  1. Premium Members get 5% discount on Cynefin Retreats, Explorations/Masterclasses and 15% for Online courses and CE managed Foundations courses (Discounts apply only to Standard priced tickets). Sign up for the Network here: Cognitive Edge network registration for a Basic membership. When you’ve done that you’ll be directed to the Network Dashboard page, click on the upgrade option to pay to become a Premium member and then use the provided discount code.
  2. Discounts cannot be used cumulatively with Network Membership discounts.


May 6 – May 7


8:00 am – 5:00 pm