Leap with Active Sensemaking 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 Spryng.io founder Ajay Reddy, this workshop offers a blend of theoretical insights and practical application, equipping you with the tools to effectively navigate and make sense of complex environments.
Understanding humans and communities requires understanding numerous interconnected elements: social and cultural beliefs, personal experiences and behaviors, and situational affordances and constraints all impact what any one person -- let alone a collective -- will do at any time. The interconnectedness of human systems and ecologies also recognizes that changes in one element produces changes across the entire ecology. Trying to account for and understand all of these elements, especially from an outsider perspective, often results in incomplete information and ideas that result in a community engagement that is hard to explain and predict.
Rather than rely on this outsider perspective, an Active Sensemaking approach seeks to understand communities by locating the patterns of insider perspectives through gathering narratives. The stories told by people share their beliefs, feelings, and explanations for what they experience, and Active Sensemaking with the Spryng.io platform helps locate patterns in these stories to shape our understanding of events, communities, systems, and overall human ecologies. A focus on people’s sensemaking can generate sustainable community engagement that can lead to transformative change for everyone involved in that ecology.
What Is Sensemaking?
Sensemaking is the process of creating meaning out of the complexities and uncertainties within a system. It involves interpreting information, identifying patterns, and constructing mental models to comprehend the world.
Everyone engages in such sensemaking everyday of their lives. This sensemaking may be automatic, where people draw upon past experience to make sense of, cope and deal with a situation, perhaps without even spending too much time considering what they are doing. This sensemaking can also be where innovation comes in, as people encounter situations that require more of their attention, thought and feeling to deal with what is before them. Either way, such sensemaking can be captured as the stories told 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.
What Is Sustainable Transformative Change?
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 climate and ecology. Ensuring the long-term well-being of a system -- whether it's environmental, social, or economic -- requires considering the balance between present needs and future generations. With a human system or ecology, such consideration requires focusing on the needs, behaviors, and experiences of the humans and communities within such interconnected networks. Human-centered approaches aim to design solutions or interventions that prioritize 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 has laid bare the complex nature of humans, communities, and human ecologies. Active Sensemaking, through the Spryng.io platform, helps any community understand this complexity, thereby providing the means by which to generate sustainable transformative change.
Who Should Attend?
This workshop is ideal for professionals, researchers, evaluators, organization development consultants, and anyone keen on mastering the art of sensemaking in complex environments.
Transform your understanding, enhance your skills, and be a part of a unique community dedicated to navigating complexity with confidence.
Active Sensemaking for Sustainable Transformative Change
Learning how to
Interact with individuals and communities to better serve, help, understand, communicate.
Dive into the intricacies of complexity and sensemaking.
Engage in participatory narrative inquiry and explore real-life applications of sensemaking tools.
Embark on a collaborative journey with a hands-on exploration of Spryng.io.
Appreciating the value of
Complexity of the goals of your job, field, discipline
Complexity of oneself and others
Practical thinking about how to study people in a complex way using the Spryng.io platform
Creative thinking about how to study and understands people in a complex way
Connectioons in ideas and information among people, fields
Confidence to experiment and adapt to changing circumstances
Why Join Us?
Learn from thought leaders in the field.
Apply theory to real-world scenarios.
Work alongside peers and mentors.
Gain access to Spryng.io and a wealth of educational materials.
We begin with Inquiring. Simply signing up to join us in the workshop is the first step for Inquiring. Here we focus on recognizing the challenges, appreciating the confusions, and developing the questions we have about humans, communities, systems and ecologies. We begin with an understanding of what we hope to accomplish, and we develop an open mind to begin the journey to discovery and understanding.
In the two-day workshop, we begin with Inquiring to address your questions, concerns, and expectations, and we use that place of self-discovery to begin inquiring into the communities that we serve. We develop research questions and plans to communicate to ourselves and others what we hope to accomplish in our studies. We learn about the Spryng.io platform to begin considering how its affordances influence our inquiries. When we move on to Community-Engaging, we move into the one-on-one consulting between cohorts and our experts who will guide your work to develop a Spryng survey to understand your community and answer your research questions. Over the course of two months, you will work with your guide to learn how to build your specific survey and engaging with your specific community. During this period, you will actively engage your community to collect their stories that will then be used for the next step.
In Pattern Spotting you will work with your guide to make sense of your community’s sensemaking. Using the pattern recognition tools built into the Spryng.io platform, you will locate, discuss, and share insights you have gained from your community. This step is ongoing and iterative - what is learned from any patterns may lead to new Inquiring, which then informs additional Community-Engaging. In this way, as a key component of this process, Pattern-Finding replicates the interconnectedness and complexity of human systems and ecologies that Active Sensemaking seeks to understand.
Of course, Pattern-Finding may also lead to Decision-Making and Action-Taking among community leaders and policy makers. Throughout the Sensemaking Semester, we will discuss how to utilize patterns to generate such decisions and actions. Our guides will work with your specific cohort to help you utilize the insights you gain from your community from using the Spryng.io platform.
Our goal for you is that you are able to utilize these insights in choosing a course of action and then implementing those strategies within your communities. Also, as reflective of the iterative nature of this process, any Decision-Making and Action-Taking may also result in additional Inquiring and Community-Engaging, with hopefully additional insights emerging from the additional Pattern-Finding.
Ultimately, our hope is that you are able to achieve Culture-Shifting that is both transformational and sustainable. By working with your community to understand their sensemaking, the end result should be changes in norms, behaviors, beliefs, or values within a community that empowers the community to engage in such a transformation -- with the understanding that this process can be returned to, as needed, to reflect upon and make adjustments to ensure that transformation is long-lasting for the benefit of the community.
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. 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).
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 Spryng.io, 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.
Ajay, the founder of Spryng.io, excels in guiding leaders through the design and execution of Active Sensemaking project initiatives. His expertise lies in uncovering larger patterns and meanings from individual voices. He assists consultants in designing research initiatives, facilitating pattern-spotting dialogues, and presenting findings. Ajay is a certified HSD Professional and a recovering Agilist, bringing a unique perspective to his work. He also holds a Master's in Computer Science from W.P.I.
Pattern spotting guidanxe
1-year Facilitator account for individuals
Prize competition entry
Certificate of completion
Community of practice
1-year access to Spryng.io Project account for teams
Exclusive Benefits and Opportunities for Active Sensemaking Semester Participants
One of the teams will win a prize of an Organization Account on Spryng.io for a year announced at the end of the semseter.
All teaching materials will be available for participants to use in their own work.
Participants will be able to use the Spryng.io 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 Spryng.io platform.
Syllabus - What you will learn from this course
Prework (Before Feb 29)
Participants complete the assigned prework activities.
Two-Day Virtual Workshop (Feb 29 - Mar 1)
Day 1 (Feb 29)- Introduction to Sensemaking
Morning and afternoon sessions. 9 am - 5 pm EST
Day 2 (Mar 1)- Deepening Understanding and Application
Morning and afternoon sessions. 9 am - 5 pm EST
Online Learning Cohort (Part 1 -- Mar 2nd - April 13th)
Weeks 1-2 (Mar 2 - Mar 15)- Design and Refine
Various activities including submission and review of papers, design sessions, and launching pilot tester invitations.
Weeks 3-4 (Mar 16 - Mar 29)- Pilot Testing
Activities including refinement of design and virtual workshops.
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 Spryng.io 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 Spryng.io 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 Spryng.io platform, so technical expertise in this specific tool is not a prerequisite.
Will there be practical training on using the Spryng.io platform for Active Sensemaking?
Yes, a significant component of the course involves practical training on the Spryng.io 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 Spryng.io account?
Yes, participants will receive a complementary Spryng.io 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.