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Moving from Insight to Action with SenseMaker® – Portland, Oregon

Results to Action 
Fast-moving marketplaces, evolving civil situations and complex development problems are the norm these days, in sharp contrast with the times when current best practices were developed.  In these situations, leaders need to make effective, timely decisions using insightful data – avoiding the twin pitfalls of endless analysis and ill-informed but attractive projects.

The nature of most complex problems demands a portfolio of next actions, expert projects and exploratory pilots.  This workshop teaches how to combine facilitation techniques, Cynefin principles and Cognitive Edge’s unique narrative based SenseMaker® data to build effective implementable approaches that can be quickly put into practice and assessed.

Turning insights into action is a powerful part of any SenseMaker® project.  It is not enough to draw insights from SenseMaker®; the important thing is what to do next.

What will I learn?
This two-day course combines theory, exercises and software tools for facilitators and analysts to work together with project stakeholders to generate action plans.  In this course you will learn how to:

  • Ensure diverse perspectives are used constructively to address problems
  • Stimulate problem-solving approaches with micro-narrative patterns and data
  • Develop and test hypotheses before designing interventions and projects
  • Use narrative to build portfolios of actions
  • Exapt previous approaches to take into account local context
  • Monitor the different elements of the action portfolio for early indications of success or failure
  • Use SenseMaker® software tools to inform decision-makers

The course will draw from sample open-source SenseMaker® data and previous project examples.  Where possible, we recommend that participants bring their own dataset(s) with them so that they are able to interpret the results from a field that is relevant and applicable to them.

Who should attend?

This two-day course is recommended for those taking action in complex, fast-moving situations:

  • Programme implementers
  • Customer insight leaders
  • NGO intervention designers
  • Mentors and facilitators for strategic teams

It is also useful for academics and practitioners in the field of participatory action research.

Course overview

  • Principles of SenseMaker® data and projects
  • Complex facilitation techniques to ensure that diverse opinions are gathered and presented
  • Hypothesis-development and testing using SenseMaker® software tools
  • Introduction to the Cynefin framework and its implications for complexity
  • Applying the Cynefin framework to complex problems
  • Facilitation techniques for building and testing portfolios of actions that:
    • include diverse opinions
    • integrate monitoring mechanisms into the action designs
    • address multiple aspects of the problem

Event facilitator

Course tutor Tony Quinlan has extensive experience running SenseMaker® projects for public, private and not-for-profit sector clients in many different environments and countries.  These range from cultural assessments for governments of Middle East countries, to gender attitude monitoring in Africa, and business improvement projects for Pfizer across Europe.  As a regular Cognitive Edge trainer, he brings theory and practice together with examples of the good and bad as well as a sense of humour.

What is SenseMaker®?

SenseMaker® is the only software and methodology licensed to use Cognitive Edge’s patented technique that encourages people to both share authentic experiences and then signify their perception of that experience.  It prevents misinterpretation by (even well-intentioned) experts and allows the quantitative analysis of people’s authentic voice.

SenseMaker® provides a tool that gives equal voice to everyone without prejudice and while reducing researcher bias and as such has been used to:

  • Understand local people’s perspective on their world
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Develop co-created strategies and programmes in the international development world
  • Explore consumers’ underlying attitudes to products and services – and identify opportunities to enrich customer loyalty
  • Engage with citizens on complex policy issues


Cognitive Edge reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule the offered session.  In the event of cancelation 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 the ticket choices above:

1. If you are part of a group of three (3) or more people, each attending three (3) or more days of training, then please email  info@cognitive-edge.com for a group discount.

2. Sign up for the Network here: http://cognitive-edge.com/network/register/ 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 use the 15% discount code.

NOTE: Group discounts cannot be used cumulatively with Network Membership discounts.  If you have further questions, please contact info@cognitive-edge.com



November 19, 2015 – November 20, 2015


9:00 am – 5:00 pm



United States