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Start with a key assumption: People always make sense. Consumer behavior can seem baffling, but that’s a sign that we don’t yet understand how they construct meaning.

Sensemaking is a type of free, eclectic thinking. It uncovers surprising, seemingly unrelated connections among people, things, and situations. From it we can create for likely consumer responses.

Abductive Reasoning

Loaded with a rich, ethnographic picture of beliefs, behaviors, and context, abductive reasoning uses skillful intuition to take a creative leap and envision new possibilities.

Abductive reasoning is a kind of inference that moves from “what is” to “what might be.”

It’s creatively stochastic, unlike either the sterile, predictable steps of deduction or the unsupportable jumps of induction.

Unexpected Trumps “Accurate”

To see innovation opportunity, it’s more important to give form to unexpected creative ideas, thoughts and reflections than to be tied down by mere description of current consumer behavior.

Once externalized, an opportunity or solution idea becomes “real”—available for discussion, definition, evaluation, acceptance, or revision.