Sense-Making 101 Knowledge Base

Frameworks & Methodologies

There are many technologies that help us make sense of the world around us. Here are a few:

Cynefin (meaning habitat in Welsh) is a decision-making framework created by Dave Snowden in 1999. Cynefin offers five decision-making contexts or “domains”—clear, complicated, complex, chaotic, and confused—that help managers to identify how they perceive situations and make sense of their own and other people’s behavior. The framework draws on research into systems theory, complexity theory, network theory and learning theories.


“The OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) is a four-step approach to decision-making that focuses on filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision while also understanding that changes can be made as more data becomes available.”


Polarity Practice like that through Polarity Partnerships is a useful sense-making practice. Polarities are always present, ancient (Lao Tzu and 7 hermetic laws), and evident in both simple and complex systems. 

“In today’s world of increasing interdependency and complexity, it is vital to utilize problem solving AND both/and thinking to address your most strategic challenges and opportunities. The research is clear – leaders, teams and organizations that leverage Polarities well outperform those that don’t.” (Polarity Partnerships)


See also: heuristics and knowledge management


OODA Loop (accessed February 2021)

Polarity Partnerships (accessed February 2021)