links micro-narratives with human sense-making to create advanced decision support, research and monitoring capability in both large and small organisations.


SenseMaker® lies at the heart of a range of applications. It has been extensively used in research, providing an quantitative approach to what has traditionally been a qualitative domain. Its origins lie in weak signal detection and understanding the impact of culture on decision making, work that continues to this day. Employee satisfaction, citizen journaling, attitudinal auditing (such as ethics and safety) have all been created using SenseMaker® as the core.

Increasingly SenseMaker® provides decision support capability permitting whole of workforce engagement and the creation of human sensor networks (wisdom of crowds in the popular literature) to enable a whole new approach to evidence based policy under conditions of uncertainty as well as real time decision support. This combines with knowledge management capability ranging from field operations to issues around the ageing workforce.

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Standard Applications

Traditionally SenseMaker® has been used to build project specific capture systems. However a range of standard, low cost systems StrategySCAN, KnowledgeSCAN, CultureSCAN, User Requirements Capture and others are available. Contact us for further details.

Supporting material:

Listen to a description of how SenseMaker® works, or an interview with a Cognitive Edge practitioner using SenseMaker® in the development sector

How does it work?

Through a web or app environment the software allows the capture of pictures, recordings and writing in various combinations to reflect how the respondents are making sense of the world. Human decision making is profoundly influenced by the day to day micro-narratives of the school gate, the water cooler and other social settings. SenseMaker® allows this material to be gathered easily and at low cost. In a patented method the respondent then interprets their own story into a series of abstract constructs that feel more like a game than a survey, but allow profound meaning to emerge. This interpretation adds layers of meaning rather than simply interpreting the story and provides quantitative data which can always be linked back to the original material.


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 a 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 saying “How do we create a culture of X” we say “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.