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Sensemaking Assistant
Workshop
In this weekend workshop, you’ll learn the concepts, skills, and tools you need to be able to safely and privately support someone in making sense of things in their life and world.
What does it mean to be a personal sensemaking assistant?
An essential part of sensemaking requires you to understand and articulate what you want or need to make sense of, and then translate that into productive lines of inquiry to explore for insights.
This essential step can be difficult to do for one’s self. It takes a mind to manage a mind throughout the process of sensemaking. Doing both roles for yourself can be done, but it requires extra energy and determination.
Further, even someone who knows how to do this for themselves can easily find themselves too overwhelmed or fatigued to do both these roles for themselves, creating a barrier to doing sensemaking on one’s own, often when they need it the most.
A Sensemaking Assistant solves this by helping a person articulate what they want to make sense of and translating that into clear topics that the person can explore productively and privately either in real time or on their own using the Inqwire sensemaking software.
The Workshop Experience
The Sensemaking Assistant Workshop takes place online over 2 days. You will be getting trained to become a sensemaking assistant within a small cohort with plenty of opportunities for direct support by trainers to address any questions or challenges.
The workshop is highly experiential, with lots of time to practice the sensemaking assisting with others. By the end of the weekend, you’ll have everything you need to begin practicing assisting others with sensemaking on your own.
After the workshop you will be part of a sensemaking community where you can continue to practice sensemaking assisting.
What You’ll Learn:
  • How to support a person in moving from rumination to sensemaking.
  • How to follow and support another person’s mind in their sensemaking process.
  • How to not interfere with or undermine a person’s sensemaking process.
  • How to identify meaningful topics for exploration in a person’s language without introducing biases.
  • How to use Inqwire’s sensemaking technology to help you guide clients through custom thought experiments and questions in real time, or offline as self-guided solitary exercises.

Register for an Upcoming Workshop

Thank you for you interest. Sign up to be notified when the next Sensemaking Assistant Workshop will be offered.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What kinds of things can I make sense of?

You can work on just about anything you can think of. They can be small things, big things, things in your personal life, or things happening in the world.

Some examples are:

  • Navigating Challenging Life Circumstances
  • Dealing with Painful Emotional States
  • Getting Over The Past
  • Making Difficult Life Decisions
  • Resolving Things that are Bothering You or Feel Unresolved in Your Life
  • Working On Things That Are Holding You Back
  • Working on Relationships
  • Increasing What You Want and Decreasing What You Don't Want in Your Life
  • Making Difficult Behavior Changes
  • Getting Through Quarter-Life or Mid-Life Crises
  • Integrating Your Identities and Who You Are
  • Seeking Meaning and Purpose in Life
How does collective sensemaking compare the many other group formats out there?

Many group formats have been developed to address circumstances where there is a failure of sensemaking, such as conflicts, disconnection, animosity between groups, misunderstandings, failures to solve shared problems and navigate shared challenges, lack of engagement in group learning, as well as numerous symptoms of failures in personal sensemaking.

But sensemaking is like a chemical reaction that needs everything to go write for it to happen. Without addressing all the barriers to sensemaking, the reaction doesn’t go. Unless a group format fully addresses and removes the barriers to the brain’s native sensemaking abilities, the format cannot reach the desired resolutions, insights, solutions, learning or other outcomes. Additionally, a group format that does not fully address the barriers to sensemaking is at risk of doing more harm than good.

Collective sensemaking sessions are unique in systematically addressing all the barriers to sensemaking, such as lack of inclusion, imposing biases, allowing confabulation, imposing time pressure on complex cognitive tasks, the wrong environment, not managing minds effectively, and safety. It’s because of this that people are surprised by their experience in the groups, how something that seems so simple can be so effective.

Do I need the Inqwire Software to host my own collective sensemaking sessions?

In order to ensure your collective sensemaking session is successful, safe, inclusive, and productive, it’s crucial to run the session according to specific guidelines and to engage minds in a way that invokes native sensemaking.

Inqwire's sensemaking technology takes all the guesswork out of running a successful session every time. The app will walk you through each step, give you in-context coaching, tell you exactly what to say, automatically generate the right kinds of high quality, unbiased questions around whatever topic you choose, and give you an extensive and growing library of over 1000 pre-formulated topics for a wide range of scenarios.

Additionally, the app makes it possible for you to send out links for participants to continue exploring the topic on their own and exchange or submit their written answers asynchronously, which can be essential for cases where you need participants to continue sensemaking on their own and share their reasoning, such as in classroom or team scenarios.

Why do people feel better after doing collective sensemaking?

When participants tracked how they felt across measures of connection, empowerment, hope, safety, purpose, and self-worth, all participants felt better after a single collective sensemaking session.

This isn’t surprising because the collective sensemaking format ensures that people focus on things they care about. When people make sense of things they care about, their world becomes more navigable, it makes more sense. So this means that people are closer to being able to fundamentally navigate away from threat and towards what they value. That is why the sense that a person’s world makes sense correlates with virtually every measure of well-being.

How is collective sensemaking radically inclusive?

The collective sensemaking format enforces that everyone participating can be equally heard and that every perspective from a person’s direct experiences is valued. This makes collective sensemaking radically inclusive. If anyone in a group, community, team, workforce, family has direct experience that is relevant to the topic of a collective sensemaking session, their contribution is highly valuable to include.

What makes the sessions feel uniquely safe?

One of the most common barriers to sensemaking that group formats commonly fail to establish the safety required for sensemaking.

A group format may lack safety if you feel pressured into participating, if you feel a sense of ‘group think’ where there is an expectation that you conform to the group or subordinate to an authority, if you feel pressured into crossing boundaries or doing things you’re uncomfortable with, if you feel pressured into revealing personal information, if you are getting unwanted feedback or advice, if you are being told that your experience of reality is wrong, if you are being analyzed or diagnosed, if you are being compared to others, if you are being excluded, singled out, ganged up on or talked down to.

Collective sensemaking participants consistently report that this was the safest they’ve felt in a group experience. How is this possible? The collective sensemaking format is removes all possibility for unsafe social dynamics. Participation is always optional, all answers are restricted to direct experience only, no input, advice, criticism, or feedback is allowed, and participants are instructed to protect their privacy when sharing. These and other constraints create a truly safe social environment even when bringing together people with very different cultures and beliefs.

Self Application

The following questions are here to help you determine for yourself if The Sensemaking Intensive is a good fit right now. Each question is optional, just consider any that seem helpful.
  1. What do you think has been holding you back from making sense of things? Do you think this program addresses that? Do you know of anything else that could address it or address it better?
  2. Are you at a time in your life when you really want to make sense things, or do you think there will be a better time later?
  3. Do you have time and energy to learn and practice a new skill? If not, you may find it difficult to stick with the program as soon as you are stressed for time or energy. If you aren't sure, are there any ways you can ensure you have the time and energy required to practice a new skill?
  4. What do you imagine feeling more clear about life would be like?
  5. Can you imagine any ways your life would be different if you could make sense of things easier or faster?
  6. Can you imagine any ways that feeling more clear about life might significantly influence your relationships with anyone or anything?
  7. Can you imagine how feeling more clear about life might significantly influence your experience within any cultures or groups? Would you be treated differently?
  8. Does the person you are now, a person you've been in the past, or the person you imagine being someday, have anything important to say to you about spending time to do this program at this point in your life?
  9. What do you imagine your life will be like if you never take the time to learn the skills of sensemaking ?
If you still aren't sure, and have more questions, you can contact us and someone from the team will respond.
Or if it's clear that this is right for you and you're ready for it, you can sign up to be notified when our next Intensive starts.