Collective Sensemaking is a conversational event where people intentionally come together for the purpose of using their varied perspectives and cognitive abilities to make sense of an issue or problem they are mutually facing.
Organizations are facing increasingly complex issues, as a result of globalization and technological change – issues so complex that they demand entirely new approaches. There is a growing recognition that no one person has the sensemaking capacity needed to deal with truly complex issues.
What is needed is the ability to draw on, not only the knowledge, but also the sensemaking capability of organizational members. By bringing together cognitively diverse employees in structured conversations, new perspectives are brought to bear on the issues.
There are three situations in which collective sensemaking makes a significant impact:
In all of these situations collective sensemaking works to produce a system-wide view of issues, make each part aware of the whole, and creates an awareness of the assets of other parts of the organization.