State of Sensemaking 2020

This report is our first output from our ongoing efforts to map the ecosystem in which we exist. The ecosystem is still emerging and ill-defined. Reflecting this there is no clear name for it and we have settled, not entirely happily on the “state of sensemaking”.

We emphasize our research here is clearly highly preliminary and was limited by both resources and our own knowledge. Based on snowball sampling starting from our contacts it necessarily and obviously display clear biases e.g. geographically to Europe and UK versus the rest of the world, thematically in terms of areas chosen etc.

But we have to start somewhere and we wanted to publish our work so far in the hope it will both be of value to others and aid in the ongoing discovery process.

The ecosystem as we have mapped it is quite broad – even disparate. However there are commonalities. Emerging organisations and individuals are opting towards ‘teal’ style collaboration and community building in order to maximise resources as a generalist, lateral way of operating comes into view as a more effective way of tackling systemic problems.

There is a focus on systems, emergence, coherence, sovereignty, sensemaking as buzzwords, along with activism, governance, and regenerative culture. This is characterised by a strong lean towards spirituality (mindfulness) and the relationship between inner and outer life. At a higher level, we have identified three core thematic areas which tie together the varied groups in the space: collectivism, (w)holism and counterculturalism and culture-making. We will expand on these in the report.

Beyond this thematic overlap we have identified four major areas of activity: physical spaces, research, media/publishing and events. Nonetheless, it has been notable that many organisations have shifted to multi-channel working across a number of these (e.g. producing media content as well as running retreats and events).

Download the full report below to read our analysis, and find out more about selected organisations in the ecosystem.


Our overview map from our preliminary research. To explore the diagram in more detail visit the full interactive version on coggle.


Please cite this report as:

State of Sensemaking, Life Itself (Theo Cox & Rufus Pollock), 2020