The combination between active learning via empowerment, literacy and navigational choices are at the core of the framework.


We firmly believe that everything can be learned. No matter what the competency, it has been acquired via practice. Our approach is to enable learning for oneself via pointers in interesting directions. By nature, that process is highly individual. For each set of skills though there are sets of practices which speed up the process because the skillset lends itself to certain behaviours. In our workshops, every participant learns for themselves along a common path. 


As complex contexts are often so different from one another that transferring knowledge has its limits, they have regularities or patterns which can be seen if one knows where to look. Our approach is more akin to learning a language or learning how to read than it is to math class or history lessons. What can help a lot is nudges towards where to look and how to interpret signals, which is part of our training. The skills acquired make it quicker and easier to adapt to any new context. 



Complex contexts with their ever-changing nature require decision making on a different level. The decisions necessary are more akin to wayfinding in open terrain than they are to choosing between preexisting options. 


We chose the framing metaphor of navigation to highlight a central aspect of agile action: It requires a style of planning which is highly flexible, but yet remains a plan. That balance is delicate and needs continuous calibration. There are proven heuristics about when to change course, when to change direction and when to push through. However, it ultimately remains a choice in the moment. Focusing on navigation highlights the importance of solid decision skills when dealing with complexity.


Complex contexts need equally complex solutions

Prototyping - again.

 Complex contexts need equally complex solutions. These can be very simple, but the process of finding them cannot be determined in advance. That is one of the main differences between complexity and a complicated place, where solutions can and should be predetermined via calculation. 

Everything is a test 

Since trial and error doesn't give the same answer every time, due to the complexity of the context, learning from multiple sources is necessary. 




We see ourselves as a practical sensemaking approach. In order to do sensemaking in a complex context, skills and practices have proven useful which allow you to check and evaluate what you know. Our focus is on language. Spoken language contains several layers, which mix factual with relational and structural information. In order to do sensemaking in moments of discovery, it's useful to be able to strip content of the relational and situational layers. Basically, to access the mechanics underneath. Once you have that, you can start to think. On the other hand, once you have a good idea, it's necessary to clad it with appropriate layers of storytelling to make it connect with the people in the situations you target. For both, being able to understand language at the layer of culture helps. 


However, you can't always do that, as you don't have the vantage point to gather all the necessary information. That's where the participatory approach comes in. It was developed to access and make use of what they call "local knowledge". That is the same as experience in any context, the nonverbal layers. As this information cannot be fully extracted, working together with knowledge owners or experts in the decision making process is crucial. Furthermore, making decisions is needed for some types of intuitive experiential knowledge to surface, as it is stored contextually and not in abstract form. It is not subject to the will of the owner. 


// Distributed cognition?


Participatory Approach

Complex contexts cannot be done "right". There are too many aspects which contradict and complement each other to consider. The key lies in continuous decision making appropriate to the situation at hand. The problem in true complex context which are new is that "decision" does not mean, selecting between options. It implies the very process by which "options" are identified. If you get to select between predefined options, other frameworks and practices apply. We call that "navigation" to differentiate the decision making layers. 

How does one find options? You have to be able to learn quickly. Our approach is to support using local knowledgee 

Das Problem

Es gibt eine Lücke zwischen klassischer Research und Design Thinking.

Die Methoden

Ethnographische Methoden sind tief aber produzieren lange Texte. Fragebögen sind beschränkt und schwierig. Daten haben ihre eigenen Probleme. 

Es gibt ein Methodenset das als Werkzeugkasten die Lücke schließen kann.  Zusammen mit Prinzipien und Vorgehensweisen ("Framework") kann damit in kurzer Zeit ....

Ein Modell

Um effektiv zu funktionieren brauchen die Methoden Orientierung. Dafür haben wir einen interdisziplinären Ansatz um ein praktisch nützliches Kontextmodell erarbeitet, um Anwendern Orientierung zu bieten. 


Statt einem festen Vorgehen oder Framework setzt Context Navigator auf Heuristiken, Prinzipien und Praktiken. 



Frame Game