Applying the sense-making approach for better decision making

The EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative recently held its second Pledger sense-making session. This was a dynamic Pledger gathering, the aim of which was to reflect, review, and collect perspectives so the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative is able to adapt its work and bring the most valuable experience within the Initiative. The session was also a great opportunity for Pledgers to engage within the community and get to know each other better.

What is the sense-making framework?

Sensemaking is a process through which people give meaning to their individual, collective and organisational experiences.

Sensemaking refers to a structured social process of observation, reflection, synthesis, analysis, pattern finding and insight generation to produce intelligence that enables decision making.

The classical evaluation approach to projects is usually assessing the final results of the project or it mid-terms stage development. In our rapidly changing world and complex environment we need additional effective tools to support us in monitoring the project and making sense of its development as it goes. Sensemaking has shown itself as an effective and agile tool to capture the change, to capture the learnings of the project and to embed them back to the project development.

The sense-making approach helps to structure thoughts, find patterns and work more efficiently. However, success depends on active participation by all, with sessions taking from one hour to two days.

The Sensemaking Session is structured according to a “WHAT – SO WHAT – NOW WHAT” logic chain.

Starting from inputs (data, activities, projects), then sharing reflections and opening discussion so to extract some insights and learnings that help to understand better the contexts and how to interact with its complexity by defining problem spaces and positions

The first part related to the question “WHAT” has three stages:

  • Sharing – A set of ‘storytellers’ share their successes, difficulties and challenges, which then served as a basis for the discussion and help shape the reflection part. In this session, the storytellers were four Pledgers.
  • Questions – A set of ‘listeners’ is assigned one storyteller, and then invited to ask clarification questions of them
  • Insights – A set of observers, or ‘harvesters’ analyse the insights shared to offer a first lens of perspective

This is followed a reflection period, where patterns and similarities across the stories and insights are discussed, and a final “So what?” section which helps transfer the reflections into actions.


Following the initial sharing, questions and insights stage with contributions from our Pledgers and a period of individual and collective reflection, participants agreed that it had been an fruitful discussion that observed a concrete structure for all presenters looking for learners in deep tech, AI, and green transport.

While attracting talent to training programmes is very positive, there was a further discussion around correlating programmes to the clear industry needs, along with the importance of setting up stakeholder meetings, and listening to those stakeholders to improve implementation of project strategy and training programmes.

Participants also noted that there is a growing number of education suppliers, leading to a proliferation of a small number of performers, i.e., training providers, at the top of the tree are earning where supply meets demand, however, the majority are not. Which raised the questions:

  • How do you stand out as a supplier?
  • As a learner, how do you choose a training provider?

The biggest reflection is that everyone needs to be a life-long learner. However, in the context of the Initiative, the following common challenges were also identified, and the need for these to be addressed by the Pledger Community was highlighted:

  • How to attract more learners into the deep tech programmes?
  • How to make sure the deep tech training offer is aligned to the actual job market demands
  • How to answer the actual needs of society in time of hyper-evolution in technological and sociological fields

What actions need to be taken?

After reflecting, there was a further chance for Pledgers to collaborate and answer the five questions that helped turn the discussion into action points.

  • What is bringing us forward?
  • What is drawing us back?
  • What are we learning from it?
  • How can we adapt our approach?
  • What are our next steps?

Become a Pledger

If you are interested in shaping the discussion, click here to join the Pledge.

Take part in the next sense-making session

Our next sense-making session will take place in September.

June 27 session presenters: