créer sens sensemakers sensemaking rotana ty curation sensemaking knowledge management arts

Sensemaking: Why, What & How

“A fabulous post on the importance of connected, cross-disciplinary sense-makers. Thank you!” 

Anne Marie Rattray

“Save & savour Curation on curation²: an evolution in sensemaking cultivated by @rotanarotana.” 

Jennifer Sertl

“Exceptional curation & synthesis via your exploration of the edges.”

Daniel Durrant
rotana ty curation sensemaking knowledge management arts

Photo courtesy of Bernado Ricci Armani

In March 2013, I visited the exhibition ‘Soleil Froid [Cold Sun]’ at the Palais of Tokyo in Paris. The photo above makes me think of our pattern recognition and sensemaking abilities and practices. How do you make sense of the world and yourself in a hyper-connected world? Hopefully, you can explore and learn some insights and sensemaking practices of genuinely inspirational people. They are already practising them.

Are You an Information & Curation DJ?

“Be an Information DJ like @socialbrain 

It is not so easy to do. It takes efforts, time, skills and resources to do so. Beth Kanter wrote:

“Content curation takes focus and discipline — being “ brains on.”

I also keep in mind why we curate.

“Now I understand the scope and importance of curation. This is performance support for knowledge acquisition.” — Jay Cross

Artful content curation is deeply linked to our unique sensemaking ability.

What is Sensemaking?

“Sense-making is the ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what’s being expressed — and in a world with so much information, it is a critical workplace skill.” — Beth Kanter

Harold Jarche says more about making sense of complexity:

“Sense-making consists of both asking and telling. It’s a continuing series of conversations. We know that conversation is the main way that tacit knowledge gets shared. So we should continuously seek out ideas. We can then have conversations around these ideas to make sense of them. Sharing closes the circle, because being a personal knowledge manager is every professional’s part of the social learning contract. Without effective sense-making at the individual level, social learning at the organizational level is mere noise amplification.”

How do you make sense of the world? How do you develop personal sensemaking routines? It is also about recognizing patterns.

Becoming & Being an Insight Patternist

In 2010, Maria Popova shared her wisdom, artful practices and lessons learned based on her trials and experiences in two interviews on her sensemaking practices.

“Great curation is about pattern-recognition seeing various pieces of culture and spotting similarities across them that paint a cohesive picture of a larger trend.”

She also said:

“looking for patterns across different disciplines, different formats, different time periods — I think patterns are fundamental to the human brain and to how we make sense of the world.”

So it is worthwhile to dive into critical mindsets, attitudes and unique ways to add value to the world. What are the essential elements for the work of a curator?

“To be an effective curator, you need to have the eye of an editor, a sense of taste like a chef, and your own unique Point of View.” — Angela Dunn

Looking for Inspirations from Insight Patternists

How to start? Who are the people who are already doing these sensemaking practices on a high level? Who are the connected and modern sommeliers, and which emergent practices do they develop? Do you curate macro and micro like Jennifer Sertl? Here is what she shared and tweeted during our fun and fast #ideachat on collective learning when we talked about curation:

“here are 2 ways I try to curate macro/micro & #ideachat” — @JenniferSertl

Be inspired and learn from the learning curve and practices of Jennifer Sertl for your practices and learning curves. Other truly inspirational people are also curating the curators. Beth Kanter is curating the curators. Joyce Seitzinger is also paying attention to the practices, shares and conversations of the Curation Explorers’ Twitter list.

In these constant knowledge flows, are you willing to jump in? To become and be a deep water swimmer? Do you know how to swim?

Starting with Attention & Focus

In a blog post, Cameron Norman asked:

“Do we have the systems — organizations and personal — that allow us to take the time and soak this in, share our ideas with others, and be mindful of the world around us enough to learn, not just consume?”

This question made me think a lot when I sometimes revisited this thoughtful post. Why? Our critical thinking and sensemaking are deeply linked to our focus, attention skills and social tools usages. So how do we get on with these first key literacies?

Developing Your Personal Knowledge Mastery

How does one develop mastery in the digital age?

“Personal Knowledge Mastery

Sustainable competitive advantage depends on having people that know how to build relationships, seek information, make sense of observations and share ideas through an intelligent use of new technologies. Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) is a lifelong learning strategy that can help people do just that. It is a method for individuals to take control of their professional development through a continuous process of seeking, sensing-making and sharing.” — Kenneth Mikkelsen

Like I have done, I encourage you to develop this discipline through the Personal Knowledge Mastery online workshop Harold Jarche facilitates.

“The discipline of PKM helps to develop four core work skills, identified by the Institute for the Future:

  1. sense-making

  2. social intelligence

  3. new media literacy

  4. cognitive load management”

Connecting & Engaging with Sensemakers

I engage with inspirational sense-makers who share generously and discuss gems because they are gemologists of signals and conversations on the web. Do you connect to sense-makers? Are you willing to preserve, archive and curate knowledge in a new way?

@rotanarotana: In the abundant knowledge flows of this digital infrastructure we curate connections [+ conversations] and learn socially as a collective.” — @ddrrnt #curation #ci


Knowledge flows captured and shared freely, disappear like steam, if not saved. — @rotanarotana

Just start with values, and by curating interests, try to find out. Start with why. Ask yourself what your intents are and how they create value, as @rossdawson asks. And let serendipity do its magic! Serendipity abounds.

Sensemaking & the Tapestry Book

Did you enjoy this post? Check out the Tapestry Book.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *