This website contains thoughts, material and guidance on sense-making that all are outcomes of a PhD project on strategic environmental assessment.
I hope you will be inspired by reading the pages and that you will send me your thoughts and comments on the relation between impact assessment and sense-making
The site is updated November 9 2011 with descriptions of sense-making theory and its implications for impact assessment.


Slides from my PhD defence
Friday, February 17th, I defended my PhD thesis. You can find my slides as hand-outs by clicking here.

Updated poster on Sense-making and IA!
Some members of the IA community have asked me for examples of sense-making in practice and elaboration between theory and practice. For the Nordic Research Day, I have updated the Geneva-poster with these aspects. You can find it in the publication list.

What do I mean by "sense-making"?

Karl Weick's writing on sense-making is my main source of inspiration. Weick emphasises the social processes of making sense, and within his framework I am most interested in how people notice and bracket cues and signals as part of creating meaning on the flux they are faced with:

"When people in an ongoing social setting experience an interruption, they often enact something, retrospectively notice meaningful cues in what they previously enacted, interpret and retain meaningful versions of what the cues mean for their individual and collective identity, and apply or alter these plausible meanings in subsequent enactment and retrospective noticing." (Weick, 2001, Original emphasis)

For elaboration see this page.

Why sense-making and impact assessment??

The paradigm for Impact assessment is very different from the world of sense-making - so why combine these two 'worlds'?
I see possibilities within the sense-making theory that may help us be more aware and reflective about our practice on IA. IA is a result of sense-making, a formulated sense, and input to sense-making process among other actors.
What we notice, how we label cues, and how we create a plausible story of impacts determine the quality of IA reports. And sense-making theory focus on precisely these aspects.
Ivar Lyhne