The world is complicated, with different situations and complex problems calling for a variety of solutions. How can we identify the early signs of social change? Sitra training alumni tested out the SenseMaker tool and searched for answers.


Read more.


SenseMaker is a tool for decision-making in a new kind of world


Welcome to the employment office


In the same and a different boat


Forgive me, my children


Weak discipline and oppression of the poor


Switch your brain off and on again


Professionals in connecting


The most important thing in sport is friends


Listening is a key to success


Cautious tolerance


The SenseMaker survey tool can be used to perceive signs of social change and the potential beginnings of crises, and subsequently search for solutions. The tool is used to collect stories and experiences to which their narrators give a meaning. An analysis of the data provides a more realistic understanding of people’s everyday life and information about their day-to-day reality, while allowing potential crises to be nipped in the bud.

The SenseMaker method has been developed to support societal decision-making by complexity researcher Dave Snowden, who works as the Director of the Cynefin Centre. The centre, at Bangor University in Wales, promotes the use of complexity theory as a support for practical decision-making and leadership. Professor Snowden is a leading researcher in knowledge management and the director of numerous projects.

“We are narrative beings. The truth is hidden in the stories we tell – in the feelings that we feel in our stories,” explained Professor Snowden to Yle News (the Finnish Broadcasting Company).

Where have we got to so far?

The alumni of Sitra’s societal training were given the opportunity to test the SenseMaker questionnaire tool and to learn data collection and decision-making in an age when old truths are no longer valid. Ten Sitra training alumni took part in the experiments, which were carried out using the SenseMaker survey tool at the end of 2017. The results of were published on Sitra’s web pages in April 2018.

The topics for the trials included the following: development trends in society; citizens’ climate actions; employers and the employment of immigrants; appealing non-governmental organisations; brain health; participation; quality of life and meaningful experiences; the future of sport; and creative enterprises and change management.

A total of 1468 stories were collected in the SenseMaker experiments. They form a cross-section of Finnish reality right now. The greatest number of stories were collected by Alma Media (304) and the Finnish Broadcasting Company (258). Everybody learned something and sharing and comparing the experiences was one of the great achievements of the experiment. Further details on the results in the summary.

All the experiments were carried out as part of Sitra training’s alumni activities and as part of Sitra’s 50th anniversary.


Mervi Porevuo

What's this about?