What is collective sensemaking?

Collective sensemaking is the process of generating shared understanding among a group of people, often in response to a complex social challenge. It involves the sharing of diverse perspectives and the co-creation of meaning in order to arrive at a common understanding of the challenge at hand.


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Building a shared understanding of opportunities, challenges and ways to move forward. 

There are several ways in which collective sensemaking can be powerful in addressing complex social challenges:

  1. It leverages the wisdom of the crowd: By bringing together a diverse group of individuals with different perspectives and experiences, collective sensemaking can tap into the collective intelligence of the group. This can lead to insights and solutions that may not have been apparent to any one individual.
  2. It promotes collaboration and cooperation: Collective sensemaking requires participants to actively listen to each other and work together to build a shared understanding. This can help build trust and promote collaboration, which can be essential for addressing complex challenges that require the involvement of multiple stakeholders.
  3. It can lead to more inclusive solutions: By including a diverse range of perspectives and experiences, collective sensemaking can help ensure that solutions are more inclusive and take into account the needs and interests of a broader range of stakeholders.
  4. It can help build a shared vision for the future: Through collective sensemaking, participants can work together to develop a shared vision for the future that is grounded in a deep understanding of the challenge at hand. This shared vision can serve as a guiding force for future action.

Collective Sensemaking in Action:

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All Children Thrive

ACT aims to embed community voices into policy, planning, development, and city-wide, cross-sector systems improvements in order to improve all children's health and well-being.

Learn more about ACT
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Data Informed Futures

Community members are brought together to walk through the data we gather. Through this process, patterns are revealed and new partnerships are formed.

Learn more about DIF
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Social Impact Labs

Our Social Impact Labs bring researchers, community leaders and community members together to transform the developmental ecosystems of children.

Learn more about Social Impact Labs