How to build and encourage effective narrative research (e.g. SenseMaker) projects

In response to recent requests, Narrate is offering an exclusive training event for those who want to learn about selling and running projects using narrative research and SenseMaker techniques.

Why this workshop

Narrative research – using tools like Cognitive Edge’s SenseMaker software suite – is a revolutionary new approach to helping people change situations and resolve issues like behaviour change, employee engagement, customer loyalty and many more. For complex problems, it offers both high-level patterns and granular examples – making it a powerful tool to use in seeing where change is or isn’t possible and then supporting a directed co-creation process.

If you are looking at Cognitive Edge’s SenseMaker software and wondering where to start getting this into your organisation or your client, this is the workshop for you.

The potential is vast for this work, but the chances to learn the skills to run these projects have been rare. This one-day workshop, with two follow-up group webinars, will teach you the core elements of running a narrative research project.

This new way of listening and exploring organisational culture – using narrative research – can, if done right, open up a world of new understanding and hence better ways to support clients and leaders in transforming organisations.

How can narrative research and SenseMaker make a difference in your organisation?

In our ten years of practising narrative research using SenseMaker in dozens of countries around the world for private and public sector clients, we’ve learned how it can:

  • Show what employees, customers and citizens really feel about an organisation – and more importantly why
  • Illuminate those elements that inspire them and the obstacles that frustrate them
  • Support transformation teams and decision-makers in understanding the possibilities of change in different teams around the world – and measure that change as projects and programmes progress
  • Inspire multiple, exciting and easy-to-deliver actions that give people a sense of empowerment and ownership, aligned with the organisation’s strategic direction
  • Help people to find a positive path to a better future, by giving them real, inspiring examples of the future
  • Identify pain points and obstacles for sales teams, enabling product and brand managers reshape their actions to get better sales results

What you’ll learn

This combination of a one-day workshop and follow-up group webinars will expand your understanding of how to use narrative research effectively: getting buy-in to the process, developing powerful frameworks, developing effective interventions in partnership with clients and their audiences. While that sounds rather head-focused, we’ll be sharing simple, easy-to-run exercises that will both give you practical experience and help you engage clients and colleagues in the potential of these tools.

How to run a narrative research project

We’ll share the key elements in any effective research project and the pitfalls that we’ve learned to avoid.

How to introduce narrative research to the organisation

We’ll highlight some of the different ways that get traction in organisations – from how an organisation benefits and what insights they might win to making the method easy to understand and accept for leaders and staff alike.

How to get effective results with narrative research

You’ll learn how to see the many narrative threads that make up the invisible landscape of the organisation; you’ll see where change isn’t possible today but might be tomorrow; you’ll find out how to use stories and narrative effectively in setting better strategic direction than any set of vision, mission and value statements.

Specifically, you will:

  • Develop an understanding of how SenseMaker works and how to explain it to clients and sponsors
  • Experiment with a real version of narrative research that’s engaging, easy and quick to implement
  • Learn the core elements of an effective narrative research project – and how to avoid common mistakes
  • Explore the possible applications and how it might be tailored to meet your organisational needs – whether you’re using an off-the-shelf Scan or a customised framework
  • Find out how to make the research results engaging and powerful in instigating change in your organisation

Who should attend

This stand-alone program is suitable for anyone who wants to use narrative research tools like SenseMaker to make effective, sustainable change in organisations for their leaders or their clients. It will benefit coaches, consultants and people working in organizational development and communications roles.

For those who have heard of SenseMaker but feel they don’t yet know enough to get a programme up and running, this will give them the confidence, knowledge and examples they need to get started.

For those wanting to take a deeper dive into running narrative research projects, this workshop is the gateway to more advanced sessions – on Designing a Signification Framework and Using narrative data to develop Insights and Actions.


Delivered through a one-day workshop, followed by two hour-long group webinars using the ZOOM platform.

The core trainer will be Tony Quinlan, Narrate’s CEO and Chief Storyteller. With ten years of experience running SenseMaker-based narrative research programmes for UNDP, Cisco, Ericsson, European Commission, Pitney Bowes, Pfizer and Unilever, he’s an expert in getting effective results from these powerful new tools.


The programme is going to be running:

  • a full programme in London (venue to be confirmed) on Thursday 19th September 2019 (early bird prices available until Thursday 25th July 2019)


Read our terms and conditions here.