Making meaning out of apparent noise

April 5, 2011

We talk a lot about sense making and we use it to understand patterns within apparent noise. I want to take a minute to tease apart sense making and meaning making.

What are the elements of sense making:
– a perception
– a category – signifying
– the interaction which produces a mental or physical awareness (a pattern)

What are the elements of meaning making:
– an object – formerly the pattern
– a framework
– a relationship or association between them

My conclusion is that we need both, that meaning is a higher order than sensing, and that the quality of sense making is a function of how well you observe and the richness of your library of categories. And the quality of meaning making is a function of the quality of your sense making and the richness of your library of frameworks.

Thus the “expert” may be overlaying a framework that might not exist for the narrator of the data set, and would change the meaning of the information. Meaning occurs when, as practitioners, we make meaning of the sense making using a relevant framework.

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