2016 Cognitive Edge trainings announced - Cynefin, SenseMaker and online courses available
Tony Quinlan

Cynefin and SenseMaker® courses in 2016 – new thinking, practical exercises and great discussion

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As we head into 2016, we’re announcing our timetable of new courses for the first half of the year.  The second half of the year will see some changes – particularly to the ground-breaking Cynefin and Sense-Making courses – so if you’re determined to get to hear Dave Snowden teaching throughout the course, book early for one of the three CSM courses!

Here you’ll find details of the core courses we’ve got coming up in the first half of 2016:

  • Cynefin and Sense-Making thought leadership courses
    • Recommended for anyone dealing with complex changing problems and finding routes through uncertain environments
  • Introduction to Running SenseMaker® courses, including How to Build and Test SenseMaker® Frameworks
    • Recommended for people unhappy with current surveys and polls and looking to explore using SenseMaker® as an alternative research/monitoring method
  • Complex Facilitation Techniques
    • Recommended for facilitators and trainers looking to expand their toolkit with complexity-focused exercises
  • Online SenseMaker® design and environment courses
    • Recommended for people who can’t make face-to-face courses but want to learn more about how to use SenseMaker® for narrative research
  • Tailored courses

Cynefin and Sense-Making courses

Only three chances left in 2016 for ground-breaking theory, exercises and examples from Dave Snowden.

Still the course to go on, these four day-long courses offer the latest thinking on complexity, narrative and application of this thinking to organisations.  After packed houses in Auckland, London, Zurich and San Francisco in 2015, there are three opportunities in the first half of 2016 before the course teachers change:

New York – 8 Feb-11 Feb 2016.  Details are here

  • Book now – Early Bird discount ends on 18th January, with savings of up to $499

Sydney – 18 April-21 April 2016.  Details are here

  • Book with Early Bird discount and save up to AUD550

Amsterdam – 9 May-12 May 2016.  Details are here

  • Book with Early Bird discount and save up to €435

The four courses feature Dave Snowden, newly minted Honorary Professor at the Centre for Applied Complexity at Bangor University and cover:

  • Day 1: Understanding Complexity – an excellent introduction to understanding the differences between simple, complicated and complex issues, including the different approaches needed for each.

  • Day 2: The Cynefin Framework – getting deeper into tools to help people understand and act on big difficult problems.  Building on the Harvard Business Review article, this day teaches tools that have been used in organisations as diverse as the European Commission, multinational telecoms companies and R&D departments of FMCG companies to bring diverse teams together in pursuit of corporate objectives.

  • Day 3: The Organisation and Knowledge – from the science of how we make decisions to the social nature of knowledge-sharing, this day covers the practicalities of understanding what key elements of knowledge exist in the organisation and how to gain better advantage from them.  Practical exercises extend to breaking silo mentalities and using complex facilitation techniques in all sorts of organisations.

  • Day 4: The Use of Narrative – Understanding current narratives, shaping future ones and using narrative tools is an effective way of engaging with audiences, dealing with culture, customer experience and public engagement. This day is key for anyone whose job is communicating with audiences and changing behaviours.

The Cynefin and Sense-Making courses are our thought-leading courses, constantly-evolving, taught wherever possible by Dave Snowden. The cluster of four one-day courses continues to feature new thinking with a strong emphasis on bringing academic research and theory on complexity and related disciplines and applying them to organisational problems.

Introduction to Running SenseMaker® projects, including How to Build and Test SenseMaker® Frameworks

From not knowing anything about SenseMaker® to having a draft framework and project plan in just two days – this course will help you understand the theory, design a project and build a framework.

You can expect to get a good insight from this course into what it takes to run a successful SenseMaker® project – how to set it up, gather material and feed it back to stakeholders.  With a body of theory and past practice, this two-day course will show you what is needed in a SenseMaker® framework, how you go about designing and building one, how to test it in field and how to implement it to resolve your most complex problems.

Three opportunities early this year to take this highly recommended course (recommended by participants, not just by us):

  • Luton, London – 23-24 February 2016.  Details are here
    • Book now – Early Bird discount of £100 runs out on 26 January 2016
  • Portland, Oregon – 17-18 March 2016.  Details are here
    • Relax – the Early Bird discount, saving US$135, doesn’t run out until 18 February.  But spaces might…
  • Washington, DC – 27-28 June 2016.  Details are here

Typically, attendees have left Day 2 with frameworks 90% ready for field testing – starting from nothing on Day 1.

We plan to announce more of these SenseMaker® courses – specifically in Australasia and Europe – in the coming months.

Complex facilitation techniques

A theory-light course that equips you on how to build healthier, more effective working environments through pragmatic methods and exercises.  Through the course you can leverage Cognitive Edge’s complex facilitation techniques applicable to the domains of knowledge management, transformational change, customer and employee engagement, and risk management.

  • Seattle, Washington – 14-15 March 2016.  Details are here

Online SenseMaker® Signification Design

Don’t have the time to attend a course – try the online course instead

For those who prefer online learning or who can’t wait for the live course to reach them, this is an excellent facilitator-guided course introducing SenseMaker® signification design, run by Laurie Webster.

The course covers the nuts and bolts of designing a collection instrument – whether online web collection or app-based.

Made up of four “live” online session, the course will feature lead facilitator Laurie Webster, with sessions from either Michael Cheveldave or Tony Quinlan, all of whom are experienced in running SenseMaker® projects in different environments.

The course runs from 1-29 February 2016 and booking is online [Link]

Course cost is $475

SenseMaker® Environment Online Learning

A self-led online course introducing the key concepts of SenseMaker®.  The course starts whenever you want it and takes approximately three months to complete.

Available now at only $199 here


As in previous years, there are discounts for groups attending the courses (book three people and a fourth can attend free), for academics, NGOs and premium network members.  Contact us for more details and discount codes.

Tailored courses

What does your organisation need to know?

We also realise that some organisations may want the skills provided by these courses, but applied in a specific environment dealing with sensitive or confidential information. If you would prefer an in-house confidential training, contact us.

Recent in-house courses have covered the basics of Cynefin, Complex Facilitation Techniques and elements of SenseMaker® projects for tech manufacturers, agile coaches, digital marketing experts, aid and development organisations and more.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on the courses old and new.  And bring friends – help them get ahead of the pack too!