As a chemist - by training - I was taught that a researcher is an observer from outside of the system one studies. Whatever the analytic method one obtains information about the system and one must take care not to disturb the system (often molecules or substances) to enable proper assessment of its chemical or physical properties. This holds even when the system is dynamic, i.e., when there are reactions going on inside the reaction vessel.
While doing experiments and measurements it was always extremely important to prevent the environment to change. Everything had to be kept constant and under control in order not to disturb or influence the reaction or measurement.
All that changed radically when I entered a business environment some 10 years later. Following trends in the market, trying to change ones environment by introduction of new products and services innovation became part of the game.
Around 1997/1998 I first ran into Stafford Beer's work on management cybernetics and his Viable Systems Model. I recommend anyone that never heard about all this to have a look at it.
His work is vast and it is beyond the scope here to even try summarize it. The only three things I will mention here is:
Encountering the VSM was my first experience with organisational diagnosing models. A bit later I discovered Weick's work on organisational sensemaking and then the floodgates opened with Checkland's Soft-System-methodology followed by (selected):
Of these, VSM, Cynefin, CSF and KiF were all sensemaking models: a tool that can help organisations/teams make sense of situations in order to make better decisions. And all - apart from the VSM - were used or useful to work with narrative materials.
Next I wondered what in the VSM was missing from the other four and again I noticed that inside/outside feature. Inspired by that finding between 2010 and last year my colleagues and I gradually developed the Hexagon Sensemaking Canvas using all mentioned models above as inspiration. After some tweets - to test the waters - the HSC was first published last year under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license so that anyone can use it freely and improve it
Its current incarnation is version 2016.6 which features a small set of canvasses for different purposes.
We have used them in a casual café meeting (and the napkin version on an Ibiza beach), in group StoySense sessions and for detailed design/evaluation of a StoryForm in a PNI (Participatory Narrative Inquiry) project.
By sharing it here we hope to help others discover the HSC and get some feedback as it is and will be a work in progress.