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Technical Note

Making Sense of Complexity: Using SenseMaker as a Research Tool

Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa
Enterprise Resilience Department, Risk & Sustainability Division, Eskom, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm SE-10691, Sweden
Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
Cognitive Edge, Singapore 048616, Singapore
Cynefin Centre, Bangor University, Bangor LL57 2PZ, UK
Centre for Applied Complexity, University of Wales, Cardiff CF10 3NS, UK
Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Oslo NO-0316, Norway
Mesopartner, Gateshead NE8 2GX, UK
DataSense Consulting, Cape Town 7605, South Africa
More Beyond, Centurion 0169, South Africa
Singapore University of Social Science, Singapore 599494, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Systems 2019, 7(2), 25;
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 21 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 1 May 2019
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: SenseMaker tool; mixed method; complex systems; social complexity; sensemaking SenseMaker tool; mixed method; complex systems; social complexity; sensemaking
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MDPI and ACS Style

Van der Merwe, S.E.; Biggs, R.; Preiser, R.; Cunningham, C.; Snowden, D.J.; O’Brien, K.; Jenal, M.; Vosloo, M.; Blignaut, S.; Goh, Z. Making Sense of Complexity: Using SenseMaker as a Research Tool. Systems 2019, 7, 25.

AMA Style

Van der Merwe SE, Biggs R, Preiser R, Cunningham C, Snowden DJ, O’Brien K, Jenal M, Vosloo M, Blignaut S, Goh Z. Making Sense of Complexity: Using SenseMaker as a Research Tool. Systems. 2019; 7(2):25.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Van der Merwe, Susara E., Reinette Biggs, Rika Preiser, Charmaine Cunningham, David J. Snowden, Karen O’Brien, Marcus Jenal, Marietjie Vosloo, Sonja Blignaut, and Zhen Goh. 2019. "Making Sense of Complexity: Using SenseMaker as a Research Tool" Systems 7, no. 2: 25.

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