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PlexusCall: Stories: Sensemaking: A Springboard to Action
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When: Friday, September 26, 2014
1-2pm ET

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Friday, September 26, 2014 1-2 PM Eastern Time
Sensemaking: A Springboard to Action

Guests: Nancy Dixon and Bruce Waltuck

MP3 File


Presentation Slide (pdf)

The way people in an organization think together can create the meaning that leads to decisions and action. As the organizational theorist Karl Weick explains, "Sensemaking is a way station on the road to consensually a constructed, coordinated system of action." Nancy Dixon has researched the processes of sensemaking and helped create the environments where it can flourish. Bruce Waltuck has decades of experience with organizational change. Join this provocative conversation!

Nancy Dixon PhD. is a former academic turned consultant. Before starting her company Common Knowledge Associates in 2002 she was a tenured professor and Department Chair of Administrative Sciences at the George Washington University, and before that a professor at the University of Texas. She has a passionate interest in creating conversations that exploit the collective knowledge of an organization in order to address difficult organizational issues and to spur innovation. Her research has focused creating psychologically safe environments for both large and small group conversations. In her consulting practice she facilitates small and large scale learning events that involve cross-boundary stakeholders who are facing complex issues. She helps organizations move beyond a series of presentations to engage people in active learning processes. She has worked with a wide range of government and non-profit organizations, the US Army, the Defense Intelligence Agency, USAID, United Way World Wide, NASA) as well as corporate clients (Huawai, Bose, ConocoPhillips, Ecopetrol, Netherlands Railroad). Her facilitation skills and processes are able to bring together disparate groups and individuals so that they can find common ground and achieve breakthroughs in performance. Dr. Dixon’s writing includes over 50 articles and eight books including a seminal book on knowledge management, Common Knowledge, How Companies Thrive By Sharing What They Know. Her latest thinking on collective sensemaking can be found in her blog at

Bruce Waltuck is an award-winning change leader, with more than 30 years of experience. Bruce worked 26 years at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), where he co-created the Department's breakthrough system for labor-management partnership and business process improvement. He later created a public-private partnership between the DOL and New Jersey's health care industry, yielding significant improvements in labor law compliance. Bruce has been a presenter to more than 20,000 people throughout the U.S., Canada, and Southeast Asia. He delivered a series of 22 lectures on labor-management collaboration in Brazil, as part of the USIA Speakers Series. Bruce's last Federal position was as Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, where he led improvements in a $3 billion annual grant-making process, and conducted large-scale national dialogues on behavioral health. He has studied, taught, and applied concepts and methods from complex systems science to the work of organizational change. He has taught complexity to doctoral students in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for the past 10 years. He has recently been developing a framework for gathering stories and narratives in organizations. He will be launching a new story-harvest initiative with his colleagues at I-OPEN, where he currently serves as a Director. Bruce is also developing a new Fractal group in Philadelphia, to teach and spread the use of Liberating Structures. Bruce holds a degree in economics from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and a Masters Degree in Complexity from the University of Western Sydney.


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