Sense-Framing & Systems Thinking


Senseframing is a practical method to run decisions impacting systems. The goal is to cultivate Systems Thinking, so it becomes accessible to strategists, product managers, and designers. Together, we’ll run work on reframing a problem concerning the growth of a system. The initial frame (our starting point) will be: creativity is not a skill.

The Untold Story of Sloppy Thinking

"I discovered a great many islands, inhabited by numberless people; and of all, I have taken possession for their Highnesses by proclamation and display of the Royal Standard without opposition" (Letter from Christopher Columbus, 1493)

The story of Columbus is a great example of a broken frame. When discovery turned into a transactional business, it came with many unintended consequences: justification for slavery, exploitation of resources, destruction of ecosystems. Columbus didn't discover a new world. He confirmed a dominating worldview that encouraged the exploitation of people and nature.

Today, we can look back and see that we can interpret the events differently. When we frame history through multiple views, we include our past and don't ignore our experiences. These frames offer some structure, but not all of them do a good job. An inclusive framework requires more than diverse perspectives. We need to be mindful that a lack of balance will make room for unintended consequences. As a result, the impact on society and the planet will be more significant and lasting.

So what can we do differently to achieve more clarity? My answer is that we need to use a new Sense-Framing model. Dealing with complexity and uncertainty is not our biggest challenge. The hardest part is to make a conscious effort to connect with the world and ourselves.

"Sense-Framing is an integrated mental model of how we process information at every stage (from exposure to expression)."

I want to share three insights that are important to consider before making big decisions:

  1. Focus on the Frame instead of the Problem

  2. Sensemaking is not Sense-Framing

  3. Neglecting aspects of Sense-Framing comes with a price

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