Sensemaking today requires a new approach

I frequently write about the way we are all connected and how everything we do has repercussions that are beyond the ones we can see. Technology plays a key part in this of course because from a practical point of view it is instrumental in driving change forward. But the way we actually think about things is just as important.

Thoughts guide our understanding and help us connect different aspects of our activity. In a way this is how we learn to predict the future but it also helps us understand the present better.

All of this is more than of purely academic interest. When we are analytical we begin to better understand primary principles and how they connect. We can’t of course discuss this at any meaningful level without bringing into it semantic morphology and the way relational values change depending upon the context of the connection itself.

Making sense of the world requires making sense, first of our sense-making approach to it. I know that intuitively you understand this, particularly if you’ve been active in search or marketing for some time, primarily because there, the methodology has been highly structured for some time now.

Those of you who have been following my writing and, by association, the gradual evolution of my own thinking, already know that I am a firm believer in skill transfer from one domain to another and the benefits that this produces. Patterns overlay everything. Understanding those patterns provides us with insights we can use to unlock specific knowledge verticals that might otherwise have remained hidden from us.

This is not how we tend to operate, unfortunately. Usually, in our search for easy answers, we look for more linear approaches. The fact that these do not work shows just how deep-rooted, persistent and complex the underlying problems are. It also convincingly proves that simple solutions cannot successfully tackle complex problems regardless of how many resources we throw at them.

Search (again) showcases some of this but lately it is in the successful applications of real-world problems that we see the most hope. When we begin to treat complex issues with the seriousness they deserve we also begin to accept that simplistic solutions don’t work and we need to rethink our approach.

The world is changing rapidly. Perhaps faster than we can comfortably accommodate change in our thinking. Nevertheless as we move forward we understand that our world is not going to suddenly, somehow, become simpler. The choice we have is to plod on, ignoring what’s required of us or develop the cognitive skillset required to help us make better sense of it all.

I know that the complexity of shopping for the week hasn’t been sufficient to distract you from what you need to do. So right now your pot of coffee is overflowing and you have an ample supply of donuts, croissants, cookies and chocolate cake at hand. Have an awesome Sunday wherever you are.