Working in Complexity – SenseMaker, Decisions and Cynefin – Wednesday 7 March 2018



In complex, uncertain and dynamically changing situations, there is a need for good, context-heavy and up-to-date information which decision-makers can access fast. The traditional approaches – such as questionnaires, citizen polling, employment engagement surveys and patient focus groups – have all had limited success in meeting that need, and they are failing to support decision-makers with appropriate strategies to deal with the inherent uncertainty of complexity.

This NetIKX seminar session will give attendees the opportunity take part in experimenting with a number of tools and analytical approaches that have been used to good effect in dealing with intractable, complex problems. In particular we will look at:

  • SenseMaker® narrative research methods, and the software tools that support them;

  • the Cynefin framework for analysing complexity;

  • ways of co-creating projects to address these issues.

The afternoon will be interactive from the beginning – including an ‘acoustic SenseMaker®’ exercise, along with examples from various organisations; an explanation of the underlying principles; and how to make best use of these methods to intervene in evolving situations and to obtain desirable outcomes.

Time allowing, the afternoon will also include discussion and exercises around how this approach can be combined with the Cynefin framework to improve organisational resilience and decision-making.


Tony Quinlan is an independent consultant and a member of the Cognitive Edge network of practitioners founded by Dave Snowden in 2004. As a co-trainer with Dave, Tony has worked internationally, teaching techniques for addressing complexity to a variety of organisations.

Tony has used SenseMaker® in over 50 projects in the past decade, including in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. He has helped organisations such as the European Commission, United Nations Development Programme and various UK government departments work with the Cynefin framework since 2005. This mix gives him a unique combination of theoretical foundations and practical field experience.

Tony blogs at

The Twitter hashtag for this event is #netikx90

A pdf giving details of the meeting is available here.

Provisional Timetable

14:00 - 14:30   Registration (and refreshments)

14:30 - 16.00   Presentations 

16.00 - 16:15   Tea and networking

16:15 - 16:45   Syndicate sessions to explore audience ideas and reactions

16:45 - 17:00   Plenary session and conclusions

17:00 - 18:00   Refreshments and a glass of wine

18:00               Close


The British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS (The nearest London Underground Station is Bond Street)

Seminar Costs

If you are a NetIKX Member or join NetIKX now, there is no charge

Non-members are welcome to attend. Please register below.

Athough the normal rate for non-members is £30, there will be discounts available for returning members and others. For further information, please send an email to web[at]

If you have a problem registering for this meeting, please send an email to web[at]

Price: £30.00