Understanding the Context

Stakeholder feedback as a basis for action

A newly appointed HR Director from a major University was seeking fast and accurate feedback from every faculty, academic. administrative staff and students on their views of the effectiveness of the human resource department as part of a major cultural change process.  The HR staff of the university were to engage in the same process as a point of comparison and to check for levels of shared understanding.

The Cynefin® framework provided the ideal vehicle for a cost-effective data collection and sense-making process, with aggregation across the workshops.

In an elapsed time of 10 days, 2 consultants using a combination of 4 complex methods, facilitated 8 workshops that engaged over 300 people.  An identical complex facilitation process was used which started with capturing the experiences of those attending answering the prompting question

“  thinking about the experiences you have had with the HR department in the past 12 -18 months.  What would you share? “

Each 3-hour workshop generated data, made sense through clustering and finding themes, mapped the themes onto the Cynefin® framework, established priorities, and from their perspectives, set priorities for action.

The aggregation of the all of the workshop outcomes onto a combined framework, with colour coding for different cohorts, provided the decision-makers with a visual map of the different perspectives, common themes and outliers, and very clear direction for ‘where to next’.

The aggregation was shared with all participants as part of the feedback process.

The complex methods:
anecdote circles, sense-making, pattern identification, categorisation,

The principles:
descriptive self-awareness, granularity, radical, transparency

Scalability is critical. So is transparency.  This process demonstrates how large numbers of people can be engaged in a short space of time at the level of granularity that is relevant to their experience – and provide decision support information at multiple levels.



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