an agile sensemaking framework

Agile sensemaking could be described as how we make sense of complex challenges by interacting with others and sharing knowledge. More diverse and open knowledge flows enable more rapid sensemaking. I discussed the idea of agile sensemaking in 2018 and later created a sensemaking model (framework). This week on Twitter [yes, it’s still there], Ismael Peña-López shared how the framework resonates for him.

"Every time I revisit @hjarche's Agile Sensemaking Model I find it equally beautiful. " —Ismael Peña-López M'encanta. Lliga tan bé les tres esferes! Els dona un sentit total. D'aquelles coses que quan les veus les trobes més que òbvies de tan ben pensades que estan. Translated from Catalan: I love it. Tie the three spheres so well! It makes total sense to them. One of those things that when you see them you find them more than obvious because of how well thought out they are.

In 2020 I incorporated parts of the Cynefin framework and how the framework adapts for Ordered and Unordered domains. Specifically that the Complex Unordered Domain requires connecting to more open knowledge networks, more informal communities, and structuring as temporary, negotiated hierarchies. These have to be in place before facing highly complex challenges, such as a pandemic or global climate change.

PKM with a cynefin lens

Learning in the complex domain

More recently, the framework has been informed by Strategic Doing and Asset-based Community Development. I find that an approach of strategic doing through agile sensemaking maintains awareness of the larger context, connects and promotes communities where alternatives can be tested, and takes informed action from a servant leadership perspective of honesty & humility. Processes such as asset mapping and value network analysis provide snapshots of the current situation.

The current agile sensemaking framework incorporates several other frameworks but it is designed to be as a simple as possible and flexible enough to adapt to new knowledge. Sensemaking in our connected world means engaging in professional social networks and finding communities of practice/interest. These can inform the work-to-be-done in our teams. Without these connections, from every worker, then our teams are blind. We have witnessed this in recent years with widespread leadership in chaos.

the agile sensemaking framework 2022

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