Combining the objectivity of numbers with the persuasiveness of stories
SenseMaker® is a patented narrative research tool revolutionising traditional approaches to market research, cultural transformation and innovation development. First deployed by Singapore’s government to detect weak signals of potential terrorist threats, today it’s being used globally wherever uncovering the hidden attitudes and perspectives shaping customer and employee behaviour is key to success.
Narratives are the ‘micro-stories’ people share with each other about their daily experiences and that they think others should hear. These may be positive experiences they want friends to enjoy, frustrations they need help with, or warnings about what to avoid. Rather than asking direct questions that elicit rationalised opinions, a SenseMaker project starts by asking a target audience a single ‘open’ question that lets key people share the experiences that matter most to them. Importantly, the person responding decides what you should hear - increasing the possibility of you hearing something new and useful.
Example: Open Question for Employees
Respondents briefly describe their experience (in written, audio or visual forms) on a cloud-hosted webpage via computer, smartphone or app. And they can (anonymously) share as often as they want. They are then asked a very short series of questions about their experience and ‘tag’ their answers. In the example here, the respondent suggests that ‘decisions taken in their story’ were to ‘protect brand prestige’ and ‘develop capabilities'
This is the patented SenseMaker method - designed with insights from cognitive neuroscience to elicit richer answers (by triggering type 2 ‘thinking slow’ responses), whilst reducing ‘gifting and gaming’ (i.e. ‘right’ answers are not obvious). It also provides statistical data to qualitative responses without the need for ‘black box’ algorithms or expensive ‘experts’ interpreting the data, thereby increasing reliability and reducing cost.
Example - Visual Data Outputs:
Data is presented visually - letting decision-makers clearly see and understand what’s really happening. Patterns in the data can be spliced emotionally (e.g. emotional tone, intensity of experience) and rationally (demographic data, location etc.). While the original, unedited, narratives can always be called up to provide evidence and trigger fresh insights.
Turning insights into action then becomes simple - what must you start doing tomorrow to get more (positive) stories like these, and fewer (negative) stories like those.
SenseMaker® is designed for rapid, agile action and is supported by open-source methods that help organisations unlock and accelerate evolutionary potential.