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Narrate, Clophill, MK45 4BE
Recent Activity
After many years blogging on this site, Narrate has recently updated its website and the blog and news has now moved. The Narrate blog can now be found here. We're also publishing some of the bigger articles on Medium here. The material here has been moved across - all the posts are available on the new site. This will remain up and accessible for a while longer, but will not be updated. If you're interested in Narrative, Complexity and Change - please join us over at And thank you Typepad for being our home for the past decade or... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2017 at partum intelligendo
Nice article today on the WorldBank and its behavioural change aims - my favourite piece was this: Toilets, for example. Nowhere is open defecation more prominent than in India, where more than 600 million people have no access to a toilet. But even where proper sanitation has been installed, “people tend not to want to use latrines,” says Gauri. It is a difficult habit to break, exacerbated by issues such as India’s caste system. The team at Gini will be helping the Indian government work out how to meet its target to eliminate open defecation by 2019, measuring the success... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2016 at partum intelligendo
There's more to come on the results of the recent Fragments of Impact event in Istanbul - the current plan is to write the projects up properly as soon as we can a) find people who can write effectively on this topic or b) find the time ourselves to sit and write. (Volunteers welcome...) But. On Friday I got an email from one participant who had headed straight from the third day of the workshop, when we were working on how to develop conclusions with multiple stakeholder groups and build interventions, to Ecuador to work with the people involved in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2016 at partum intelligendo
Back in June 2015, we began the Fragments of Impact programme, partnering with UNDP, to explore how to use SenseMaker® in monitoring and evaluation. This week we’re back in Istanbul, with all the various participants to teach and explore the data and what to do next - in terms of interventions, in terms of monitoring and in terms of advocacy. The programme, open to any NGO organisation, was joined by UNDP teams, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), VECO and UNICEF. (Next time, I hope we’ll see more smaller NGOs joining, but one step at a time.) At our initial June... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2016 at partum intelligendo
This week I'm in Singapore at the International Risk and Horizon Scanning Symposium - working with governments to connect Foresight, Policy and Practice. Sometimes that's about increasing scanning capacity to help with strategic shock, sometimes it's about looking at underlying trends. We're running some live experiments - if you're reading this on 7th/8th July join in now with one at: Over the past few weeks the Cognitive Edge team have also been running a new approach with the Singapore government called CrowdSensor. They've been collecting micro-scenarios (what people think might happen) on various topics. The sites and the issues... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at partum intelligendo
Just a brief one ahead of upcoming travels for anyone who wants to meet up. I'm teaching courses and working on projects in July in Singapore and Melbourne: Introduction to SenseMaker®, Singapore - 13-14th July Complex facilitation techniques, Singapore - 16-17th July Introduction to SenseMaker®, Melbourne - 20-21st July Complex facilitation techniques, Melbourne - 23-24th July I've got some time to meet up in Singapore (Friday 10th July, Wednesday 15th July) and Melbourne (Wednesday 22nd July). And I'll probably be in Kuala Lumpur in mid-late August - so drop me a note (but expect a reply from my colleague Lisa!) Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at partum intelligendo
The National Health Service in Northern Ireland are among the earliest users of SenseMaker®, working with network member Anne McMurray to explore multiple health-focussed issues. Early examples included work around bereavement in families, allowing local teams to improve and adapt the support they provide - a report from that project is here. Most recently, the excellent 10,000 Voices programme has been gathering thousands of patient experiences from the region - and it was recognised by Sir Liam Donaldson, the ex-Chief Medical Officer for the UK, in his recent report into the state of healthcare in Northern Ireland. Here's what he... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2015 at partum intelligendo
Cognitive Edge and UNDP are together launching a unique initiative to engage with new ways of working on difficult problems in complex and fast-changing situations. The programme will last six months and a limited number of participants are being invited from across a variety of NGO and government groups. Sign up now - email Anna Hanchar (Cognitive Edge) or Milica Begovic (UNDP Europe and CIS) The new Fragments of Impact initiative will explore the boundaries of using Cognitive Edge’s SenseMaker® software to work on intractable problems in uncertain, culturally-specific environments. The initiative is focused on: generating fast feedback loops capturing... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2015 at partum intelligendo
Logging onto the new Cognitive Edge proved a challenge to me last week - and I've had three people ask about it today, so it's reassuring that I'm not alone... Here's what I found: Go to the "Lost Password" page here Enter your email address, go back to your Inbox and wait When the email comes through, click on the link and change your password - but here's the crunch: Your username is also included in that email - just above the link to change the password Your username is not the email address you were using - it's in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2015 at partum intelligendo
In December 2012, I flew to Bratislava with Dave Snowden where we met with a roomful of smart, enthusiastic UNDPers (led by the redoubtable Milica Begovic) for a two-day event based around SenseMaker®. In two days, we moved from an introduction to narrative and self-signification to identifying half a dozen projects and then to developing frameworks. By the end of the second day, we had frameworks ready for testing and translation. In the following months, projects moved at different paces and in different ways - a couple falling by the wayside, other succeeding beyond all expectations. And in May 2013... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2015 at partum intelligendo
As promised, here are the slides from last week's presentation at the Partnership for Peace base in Ankara. The usual caveats apply - I'm not sure how much sense these make without my discussion over the top... Download 001 StratCom narrative presentation - March 2015 Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2015 at partum intelligendo
This afternoon I’m headed for a meeting near Leatherhead and find myself reminiscing on a train through stations, names and suburban landscape that 35 years ago was very familiar. Trains in this part of South West London were a daily part of life - to school, to friends and to scouts. And the interwoven lines were a network that offered options that a teenager had to weigh up carefully. The dominant trip was easy - a single train from Sutton to Wimbledon five or six days a week, through stations that even now I can rattle off by heart. My... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at partum intelligendo
A great morning at QCon in London today - speaking on using SenseMaker® to understand user requirements better. I had to rush out the door, so didn’t get to hear Chris Matts and Shane Hastie in the afternoon. As promised, the slides are here: Download 001 SenseMaker® frameworks For those who want to know more about Cynefin, SenseMaker and using complexity and narrative, Michael Cheveldave will be running a one-day workshop in New York as an adjunct to the Lean UX conference - the course details will be here next week - book next week and get $50 off. I’d... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2015 at partum intelligendo
If you're thinking about running a project exploring complex issues like culture, there's another chance to kick start a project with the SenseMaker® trainings in Seattle from 11-13th March 2015. As many people know, I've been using SenseMaker® software to understand populations and design and monitor programmes for the past six years. In recent years, more and more people are exploring it - but it can be a daunting beast to start with. So earlier this year, I started running new courses specifically designed to help people run SenseMaker® projects - the subjects have been as varied as culture change,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at partum intelligendo
I'm spending a chunk of today working up a new framework for a new SenseMaker® project. These days it's a task that takes time and thought, but I still remember the first time I had to build one - it was for this Pfizer project. Even with the help of Ron Donaldson and Ruth Needham - two smart colleagues - it was a daunting task. Since then, it's got less frightening - and with the increase in people wanting to run SenseMaker® projects, it's time to share the experience - so next week sees the first of a new series... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2015 at partum intelligendo
Last week saw the last Cynefin and Sense-Making (CSM) courses of the year, Dave and I sharing the presenting/facilitating duties. A full room of different backgrounds and nationalities, which kept everything interesting - lessons and applications getting swapped across sectors and countries. Following up is always a challenge - so much intense material often needs some time to settle. And I'm a big believer in putting some of the exercises to use to discover how best to use them - as I said last week, I can give some examples and indications but there are always more... For practitioners and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at partum intelligendo
It's been an "interesting" few weeks at breakneck pace, so I'm a bit behind in putting things up. So, catching up bit by bit - here are the slides from the ESRC Learning From Incidents seminar at Southampton University on 15th October, along with some reflections from the morning. Download 002 Learning from Incidents - Using SenseMaker® I had to rush away after lunch - missing some sessions that looked particularly interesting that afternoon. But I was particularly struck by a couple of comments in the morning. Firstly, that the toughest element of preventing incidents (by which we're talking power... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at partum intelligendo
As promised, here are the slides from Monday's Health Innovation Network presentation at Guy's Hospital. Download 001 London Health in Innovation - September 2014 For those who wanted to contribute and play with SenseMaker®, here's the website: SenseMaker for Health Innovation - demo site Alternatively, download the app for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch or Android and enter the following activity code: NHSLonDemo Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2014 at partum intelligendo
Early bird discount's finished, but there's still time to book on the upcoming Washington DC Cognitive Edge courses - which would be highly recommended even if I weren't teaching with Michael Cheveldave. (I won't be there for the Narrative day on 2nd October, though - I'll have gone to Ottawa by then to work with Thomas Townsend on the Cynefin and Policy course) The breakdown is: 29 Sept: Understanding Complexity - an excellent introduction to understanding the differences between simple, complicated and complex issues, including the different approaches needed for each. 30 Sept: The Cynefin Framework - getting deeper into... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at partum intelligendo
A brief note - but more trips coming up in the diary. While there're specific activities at each stop to be done, I'm open to any conversations/quick meetings. So the travel plans are: Addis Ababa: 1-5 September 2014 Istanbul: 8-10 September 2014 Kigali: 23-26 September 2014 Washington: 29 September-1 October 2014 Ottawa: 2-3 October 2014 Any good to anyone? Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2014 at partum intelligendo
There's a new course coming up - one relevant for anyone interested in public organisations, government and policy-making in uncertain times. Luckily, I'm getting to support the course - I'll be getting to co-teach with Thomas Townsend in Ottawa in early October. The course will be running at HUB Ottawa 71 Bank Street, 6th Floor Ottawa, Canada on Thurs 2nd October-Fri 3rd October 2014. There are more details here and you can register here. If you are a policy professional looking for new practices that increase impact by using advances in complexity science, sense-making, and resilience thinking this is the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at partum intelligendo
I've added a new podcast to my already-lengthy list. It's another BBC one - this time a short 2-3 minute piece each day, summing up news stories of 100 years ago in the lead up to World War I. A few weeks in, and I've already learned plenty, but it highlights a number of key elements that resonate strongly, including some that came up last week in a conversation with a government group about how to build a bigger national narrative: A grander strategic narrative is best built from smaller pieces that we know have resonance Each day, a number... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at partum intelligendo
The other week I pointed out the initial voting to decide what the topic of the upcoming Longitude Problem was going to be. The six possibilities were: Flight How can we fly without damaging the environment? Water How can we ensure everyone can have access to safe and clean water? Paralysis How can we restore movement to those with paralysis? Food How can we ensure everyone has nutritious, sustainable food? Dementia How can we help people with dementia live independently for longer? Antibiotics The public vote decided that Antibiotics is the one on which to focus: In order to tackle... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at partum intelligendo
A compound in a village near Dhaka, Bangladesh Last week saw a return to BRAC in Bangladesh. Working with IRC again, following on from two successful pilots 18 months ago - one around latrine behaviour change, the other around participation and attitudes to Village Wash Committees. This time we were asked back to start a fresh programme, one that is more than a pilot - planning to design it into ongoing work in Bangladesh. The topic this time is to explore issues around hygiene promotion - specifically to gather material to allow the design of new interventions and to help... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at partum intelligendo
Closing on a great week - four day-long courses with Dave Snowden and a stimulating bunch of people in Paddington, some fascinating side meetings, while projects went to field in the background. And yesterday afternoon back for the third year to speak to the IQPC conference. I promised I'd make my slides available from that: Download 001 IQPC presentation on Measure of Effect - June 2014 And now motor through the list before flying out tomorrow to spend a week designing, setting up and starting a brand new SenseMaker® programme in Bangladesh with BRAC. Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2014 at partum intelligendo