The second Leap program will begin on October 10, 2024. It will expand on the Learning and experience of Cohort 1 to help you understand the theory, experience the practice, and construct a sample application. You and your team will learn how to use an innovative software system and a powerful and practical theory base to see, understand, and influence patterns of experience, insight, and perspective across your community.


Why Active Sensemaking

Leap into Active Sensemaking with the Sensemaking Semester is an immersive workshop designed to deepen your understanding of complexity in today's dynamic world. Led by academic pioneers Glenda Eoyang and CarrieLynn D. Reinhard and supported by Organization Development practitioner Barrett Horne and founder Ajay Reddy, this workshop offers a blend of theoretical insights and practical applications, equipping you with the tools to navigate and make sense of complex environments effectively.

Effectively engaging with human systems and communities requires understanding numerous interconnected elements: social and cultural beliefs, personal experiences and behaviors, and situational affordances and constraints all impact what any person, let alone a collective, will do at any time. The interconnectedness of human systems and ecologies also recognizes that changes in one element produce changes across the entire ecology. Trying to account for and understand these elements, especially from an outsider's perspective, often results in incomplete information and ideas that result in a community engagement that is hard to explain and predict.

Rather than relying on this outsider perspective, an active sensemaking approach seeks to understand communities by locating the patterns of insider perspectives through gathering narratives. People's stories contain their beliefs, feelings, and explanations for what they experience. Active Sensemaking with the platform helps locate patterns in these stories to shape our understanding of events, communities, systems, and overall human ecologies. Focusing on people’s sensemaking can generate sustainable community engagement, leading to transformative change for everyone involved in that ecology.

active sensemaking cycle

What Is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is the process of understanding the meaning of a system's complexities and uncertainties. It involves interpreting information, identifying patterns, and constructing mental models to comprehend the world.

Everyone engages in - sensemaking every day of their lives. This sensemaking may be automatic, where people draw upon experience to make sense of, cope, and deal with a situation, perhaps without spending too much time considering what they are doing. This sensemaking can also be where innovation comes in, as people encounter situations requiring more attention, thought, and feeling to deal with what is before them. Either way, such sensemaking can be captured as the stories about what has happened, is happening, or even could happen.

Narratives of sensemaking are captured on an individual level and then reflected on at a community level to understand patterns of thoughts, feelings, and actions that matter most to that group with shared interests, identities, and goals. As sustainable, transformative change occurs at the community level, Active Sensemaking seeks to measure an individual’s decision-making and action-taking within specific contexts to understand the larger systems and ecologies of human experience.

Sustainable Change in Complex Systems

The 21st Century continuously demonstrates the interconnectedness of human life and community. From the impacts of climate change to social media, daily life and events are replete with examples of how complex human systems and ecologies are. Anyone seeking a profound and fundamental change in the nature of structure of those systems and ecologies needs to incorporate a human-centered focus on change for any transformation to endure.

Sustainability extends beyond traditional concerns of climate and ecology. Ensuring a system's long-term well-being--environmental, technological, social, or economic--- requires considering the balance between present needs and future generations. Such consideration with a human system or ecology requires focusing on the needs, behaviors, and experiences of humans and communities within multiple interconnected networks. Human-centered approaches aim to design solutions or interventions prioritizing human well-being and perspectives to produce change.

An Active Sensemaking approach to understanding communities is a generative approach that aids in the understanding and creation of new ideas, possibilities, or solutions within a system or ecology. The approach involves the community in any generated change, which may be gradual or disruptive, and may impact various aspects of that system or ecology. The result is a transformation of the very nature and structures of that system or ecology that is sustainable as it emerges from working with the community to produce a shift in the behaviors, values, or structures of that community.

The 21st Century showcases the complex nature of humans, communities, and human ecologies. The platform, Active Sensemaking, can help any community understand this complexity, thereby providing the means to generate sustainable, transformative change.

Who Should Attend?

This workshop is ideal for professionals, researchers, evaluators, organization development consultants, and anyone keen on mastering Active Sensemaking--a methodology that powerfully leverages natural human sensemaking.

Gain new insights, enhance your skills, and join a unique community dedicated to confidently navigating complexity.

Active Sensemaking for Sustainable Change

  • How to engage stakeholders and communities to design Active Sensemaking studies
  • Intricacies of designing an Active Sensemaking Research Project
  • How to explore real-life data sets.
  • Colloaboration with hands-on exploration of Active Sensemaking.
  • Power of Stories
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research
  • Practical thinking in navigating complexity with confidence
  • Creative thinking about how to craft unbiased questions and templates that elicit meaningful stories
  • Skills to connect ideas and information among people, fields
  • Confidence to experiment and adapt to changing circumstances

Why Join Us?

Active Sensemaking Case Studies

What you will learn

Meet Your Faculty

Dr. Glenda Eoyang

Dr. Eoyang is a pioneer in the applications of complexity science to human and organizational systems, and developed the concept of human systems dynamics (HSD) based on her theoretical and practical research.
She is founder of The Human Systems Dynamics Institute (HSDI), an organization devoted to developing the theory and practice of human systems dynamic, and helping individuals and organizations cope with complexity and uncertainty.

Dr. Glenda Eoyang

Dr. CarrieLynn Reinhard

Dr. Reinhard is a Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Dominican University. She studied with Brenda Dervin, creator of the Sense-Making Methodology (SMM), for her doctorate at Ohio State University. She has since used SMM in various research studies, such as understanding the virtual world Second Life to conflicts within fandoms. The latter project was published as Fractured Fandoms: Contentious Communication in Fan Communities (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).

Dr. CarrieLynn Reinhard

Barrett Horne

Barrett Horne has built on a lifetime of insights into human systems internationally. Barrett’s organizational development and management expertise has developed around helping clients access their own unique wisdom, turning those insights into practical actions to achieve the outcomes that are important to them. Since 2011, Barrett has worked with narrative sensemaking as an invaluable method for understanding the current disposition of an organization or community’s situation. In addition to his consulting work, he is an advisor with, having worked to help create this new sensemaking platform. Barrett has a B.A. in Philosophy and History from the University of Prince Edward Island, a M.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Western Kentucky University, and a M.A. in Organizational Management and Development from Fielding Graduate University.

Barrett Horne

Ajay Reddy

Ajay, the founder of, excels in leading sustainable change across various sectors by leveraging Active Sensemaking to harness collective wisdom for decision-making. His innovative approach involves nudging systems toward desired outcomes, embracing diverse ideas, and identifying patterns for strategic actions. Ajay's efforts significantly enhance productivity and foster resilience and innovation within organizations. He specializes in designing collaborative experiments focused on outcomes rather than fixed plans, using narrative sensemaking and oblique strategies to derive meaningful insights for adaptive actions. This approach promotes a learning environment, encouraging experimentation and global and proximal monitoring. Certified as an HSD Professional and an Agility coach, with a Master's in Computer Science from W.P.I specializing in AI, Ajay merges technical expertise with strategies into improving organizational dynamics. This blend allows him to bridge technology with human-centric strategies, tackling complex challenges effectively.

Ajay Reddy


  • Research plan
  • Expert guidance
  • Design guidance
  • Analysis guidance
  • Pattern spotting guidanxe
  • Dashboard guidance
  • 1-year Facilitator account
  • Certificate of completion
  • Community of practice

Exclusive Benefits and Opportunities for Active Sensemaking Semester Participants

  • All teaching materials will be available for participants to use in their own work.
  • Participants will be able to use the platform for their own work for a year.
  • Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a certificate of completion.
  • Participants will be able to join a community of practice to continue their learning and development.
  • Users are required to sign off on a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect the privacy of the data collected on the platform.

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the course blend theoretical insights with practical application?
The Sensemaking Semester is designed to provide a comprehensive learning experience that combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on practice. The course begins with foundational concepts in sensemaking, exploring the work of key theorists like Brenda Dervin and David Snowden. As the course progresses, participants engage in practical exercises using the platform, applying these theories to real-world situations. This blend ensures that participants not only understand the principles of Active Sensemaking but also develop the skills to apply them effectively.
Is this course suitable for beginners, or is it aimed at professionals with prior experience in sensemaking or related fields?
The course is structured to accommodate a wide range of participants, from beginners to seasoned professionals. While having a background in sensemaking, organization development, or a related field can be beneficial, it is not a prerequisite. Beginners will find the course a valuable introduction to the field, while experienced professionals can deepen their existing knowledge and learn new applications and tools, particularly the use of the platform.
How can the learnings from this course be applied in real-world scenarios?
The skills and knowledge gained from the Sensemaking Semester can be applied in various professional contexts, including organizational development, community engagement, policy-making, and research. Participants will learn how to gather and analyze complex data, identify patterns, and make informed decisions. These capabilities are crucial for addressing real-world challenges, developing effective strategies, and driving sustainable change in organizations and communities.
Do participants receive a certificate or any formal recognition after completing the course?
Yes, participants who successfully complete the Sensemaking Semester will receive a certificate of completion. This certificate serves as formal recognition of their knowledge and skills in Active Sensemaking, and can be a valuable addition to their professional credentials.
Is the course accredited by any educational or professional organizations?
The course is not formally accredited by educational institutions or professional organizations. However, the expertise of the instructors and the practical skills gained from the course make it a valuable learning experience for professionals seeking to enhance their capabilities in sensemaking and complex problem-solving.
Are there any technical skills or knowledge required prior to attending?
No specific technical skills are required to attend the course. However, a basic familiarity with data analysis and an openness to learning new software tools will be beneficial. The course is designed to guide participants through the use of the platform, so technical expertise in this specific tool is not a prerequisite.
Will there be practical training on using the platform for Active Sensemaking?
Yes, a significant component of the course involves practical training on the platform. Participants will learn how to use the platform to collect, analyze, and interpret data for Active Sensemaking. This hands-on experience is integral to the course, ensuring that participants are well-equipped to apply these tools in their professional contexts.
Do participants get a complementary account?
Yes, participants will receive a complementary account. This account (Facilitator for individuals) will allow them to use the platform to collect data, analyze patterns, and generate insights. Participants will also be able to use the platform for their own projects and research after the course ends.
More questions?