SenseMaker® for Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact White Paper

October 3, 2023

Thank you both, Beth Smith and Rhiannon Davies, for your outstanding contributions to the White Paper.

In a world that constantly generates data at an unprecedented pace, making sense of it all can be a daunting task. This is true whether you are monitoring and evaluating the impact of initiatives, projects, programmes or interventions. SenseMaker® offers an innovative and inclusive approach to collecting, interpreting and acting upon your data. SenseMaker® is used for monitoring and evaluation in a variety of contexts including in the commercial sector, healthcare, impact investment, education, public services, philanthropy, international development and more.

What is Sensemaker® Software?
SenseMaker® is a pioneering way to gather qualitative and quantitative data about people’s observations and experiences. What’s remarkable is that the people taking part analyse their own responses. So, we get authentic analyses of real experiences, rather than external interpretations of them. Results are demonstrated using simple graphics that make it easy to spot patterns and themes. This perspective can reveal things we might, ordinarily, have missed. Or perhaps not even looked for. The result? We can make sense of what’s really happening and determine the next steps or actions.

How SenseMaker® Software Works?
The essence of SenseMaker® lies in its ability to gather narratives through custom-built or ‘off the shelf’ questionnaires. Participants share their experiences in their own words, allowing for a rich collection of qualitative data. Participants then reflect on their experiences and analyse their own responses in a structured and meaningful way. The software then aggregated the stories and metrics to allow for a collective analysis and categorisation of these narratives, identifying themes, patterns, and connections.

This process enables a nuanced analysis of individual and collective perceptions, offering a multifaceted view of the impact being assessed. The Benefits of SenseMaker® Software in Monitoring and Evaluation:

1. Rich and Contextual Insights:
SenseMaker® allows for the collection of rich, contextualised data directly from the participants. By sharing their experiences in their own words, a deeper understanding of the impact, including the nuances and cultural differences is gained.

2. Real-time Analysis:
The software provides real-time analysis of the collected narratives, offering quick insights for timely decision-making. This agility is crucial in dynamic environments where rapid adjustments and refinements may be necessary, and tracking change over time (see vector theory of change).

3. Identifying Patterns and Trends:
SenseMaker® ‘s analytical capabilities help in identifying patterns, trends, and outliers within the narratives. This assists in recognising recurring themes and understanding the factors that contribute to or hinder the desired impact.

4. Visual Representation of Data:
SenseMaker® translates otherwise ‘messy’ qualitative data into visual representations such as graphs and charts, making it easier to communicate findings to stakeholders. Visualisations offer a clear and concise way to present information, aiding in informed decision-making and tracking systemic change over time.

5. Stakeholder Engagement and Alignment:
Involving stakeholders in the sensemaking process fosters engagement and aligns understanding. By including their perspectives and insights, it ensures that the evaluation is comprehensive and accurately represents the various stakeholders’ viewpoints in a culturally appropriate way (see Citizen Engagement White paper).

Gain immediate access to our exclusive White Paper by simply completing the form, and the download link will be in your inbox within minutes. 

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About the Cynefin Company

The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

Cognitive Edge Ltd. & Cognitive Edge Pte. trading as The Cynefin Company and The Cynefin Centre.


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