sensemakers collective

About us

“When all is said and done, the only change that will make a difference is the transformation of the human heart.”

Peter Senge

A little glimpse at history

The term ‘sensemaking’, was originally introduced to organizational studies by the social psychologist, Karl E. Weick in the 1970s, as the process by which people give meaning to experience. In other words, how do we make sense of the world so we can act in it in a transformative way.

Dr Malika Virah-Sawmy, Co-Founder

As a child, my dream was to talk to animals and trees. I left home at 18 to be in the forest and worked as a park ranger, first in Mauritius, my own island, then Seychelles, New Zealand and Madagascar.  I headed the conservation programme of WWF Madagascar for several years. No one working in the sustainability sector had learnt to talk to the trees and animals, nor to indigenous cultures, I discovered then.

To get closer to my dream, I did my PhD in human-nature conflicts at the University of Oxford. I wanted to learn the minimum standard of sustainability, that is to reduce conflict especially in the agriculture and mining sector. After my PhD, I worked for 15 years in international development, sustainable production and consumption, natural resource management, and climate adaptation, as a sustainability practitioner and systems scientist across the world from Asia, Australia, Africa to South America.

A few years ago, I listened to my original dream again and now founded Sensemakers Collective to support facilitation of systems change bringing mindfulness, embodiment, systems science, and ancestral wisdom in decision making. I'm still learning - not perhaps to talk to nature but to listen to it more.


Pierre Golbach, MA & MSc, Co-Founder

After having started my career in the European Institutions, German development cooperation and several years of creating peer-learning environments for international and public sector organisations, I was struck by so much motivation, competence and good intentions of the people I worked with.

How could this treasure be better harvested to actually create a world in which organisations thrive as effective and living systems with human beings living up to their full potential, in which we are not afraid of swarm intelligence, but tap into collective intelligence to shape shared values and a shared vision for our world?

Being in love with bold questions, I also am with putting steps one after another until you have walked a beautiful and ambitious hiking trail which - looked at as a whole - might have seemed overwhelming.

This is why, I started to open my senses to participatory and iterative approaches, that would be both bold enough to break down and understand complexities through collective intelligence and to take collective action - whatever the size of the first steps.

On this journey, I could also reconnect to many things that I have learned through theatre play, dancing and many conversations with my family and friends: the gist being that emotional and intuitive intelligence are equally meaningful and valuable as our cognitive abilities when it comes to how we approach and make sense of the world.