Thanks for visiting Censemaking.

This blog is a labour of love and started as a vehicle for helping others learn a little more about what I do, how I do it, and the issues that define the contexts in which I work, live and play.

It turns out there are a lot of us self-described nerdy weirdos who are wrestling with complexity in our work, want better feedback mechanisms (and tools to generate the right data to make decisions), are struggling to share what we know and learn from others, and are eager to design ways to better adapt to a changing world and wrestle with wicked problems.

That’s what Censemaking is all about.

Do’s and Dont’s

I love to get feedback, hear your thoughts and engage in productive discussion. Do comment and add your perspective to mine — even if you disagree with what I say. I approve all comments before they are posted and accept comments that are not spam, are constructive, and are coherent.

I don’t like spammers, marketers or unhelpful self-promoters no matter what it is you do, sell, make or promote. This blog is not a marketing arm for others, even good causes. All the opinions expressed here are my own (see below for more).

I get many requests to endorse products, write about them and link to other websites and will not entertain such invitations on principle. If I say I like something here, I really do like it. I don’t mind sharing the neat things I learn, tools I use, or links to things I believe might be useful to those who take the time to read this blog. You have given me your time and I respect that and will not waste it with more advertising disguised as opinion or worse, research. I take Seth Godin’s approach to blogging to heart and write all of my own content. Any guest posts — if that comes — will be labeled as such.

My comments are, whenever possible, backed by research and the experience of working in public health, psychology and health promotion for two decades…, but not always. Social innovation is always tricky to write on because of its novelty and very often there is little good research to reflect its impact. Whenever possible I will link to evidence to support my points, but that isn’t always possible. Use your critical thinking skills and knowledge that there are many other perspectives to the one that I am taking.

Posts balance vernacular with academic language. I want this to be read by innovators, researchers and evaluators, policy makers, programmers and anyone interested in complexity, innovation, health, and design. Thus, I try to offer links to scientific articles (original content), trustworthy secondary sources (e.g., digital magazines, news providers), and other blogs at the same time. This may not satisfy every scientist or layman for different reasons, but I hope that I’ve found the right balance in this and, as mentioned above, welcome your thoughts on how to make it better.


This is a space for sharing my thoughts and is not designed (or intended) to represent crystal-clear, polished content on every occasion. Sometimes I am trying ideas out (which is why I love to get feedback). I find that writing helps me to think things through and work with content in ways that can’t be done just in the mind or through writing out bullet points. My ideas come from interactions with other people, reading, my research, and practice. I constantly scour the Internet, print media and my experience for new insights on the world around me.

I am the Principal and President of Cense and thus, my perspective can probably safely reflect that of my company on many issues – although this blog is not meant to be a shill for Cense, despite the common name shared between them. Some of what I write about has little to do with how I make a living and that’s OK. I do write about my work, but do not write about my clients, partners or prospects unless given permission to or unless the particular information is in the public domain. My posts are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the perspective of those who work for me or with Cense as Associates or collaborators.

I am also an adjunct faculty member at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and Lecturer at the OCAD University. All of the content shared and opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect either of those institutions or the programs that I am affiliated with. Likewise, I serve with numerous other organizations and networks and do not represent them in my communications through this blog.

Content from others

Occasionally, I will repost something from another WordPress blog I follow. That re-post is to be taken just like a link and thus is the responsibility of the originator and is not my work, nor am I intending to take credit for it. Heck, I might not even agree with what I re-post, but I’ll note when something is re-posted so you know it’s not mine.

I use images throughout my blog. I make every effort to post images that provide Creative Commons License, have license options that permit sharing, are paid-for images, or are my original photos. On some occasions, I will (with note) use an image under Fair Use for artistic or educational purposes. I do not make money from this blog and thus all works are done for either of these purposes and not for commercial intent.

Thanks for visiting and I hope I continue to provide you with good reading value for your time. Have fun, be creative and make the difference you want to see in your life and the world right now, because that’s the only time you have.

Warm wishes,

— Cameron


  1. HI, I posted this note on

    Building underlying evidence and planning to the vision of “Theory of Change:” Vancouver homelessness research on multi-organizational care provides measures and nitty-gritty steps and measures.
    Post New Topic
    Bill Dare Bill Dare Bill Dare is online. Click for Member Snapshot.
    Active User / Utilisateur actif
    2 minutes ago
    Cameron Norman in his recent blog post gives a great critic of social innovation dreamers and suggests a more systematic and evaluative approach is the way to go in order to address the complexity of change.
    See link:…ointing-to-the-moon/

    The Homelessness Hub recently released a highly readable and practical report on intersectoral collaboration that shines an implementation lens for dreamers. It can be read and acted upon on a frontline basis, from the multiple perspectives of: client, worker, manager, system planner, and perhaps political leaders as well as across the sectors involved, providing super benchmarks and process’.
    Link to report:…alysis-intersectoral

    Reading this report has helped to kick me to dream a little more by taking…STEPS where ever I am, in “the system.”

    Bill Dare, Ottawa, ON, liked your post, fyi


    1. Hi Bill,

      Thanks for the comment and the references; I’m glad this sparked something for you and I will look at that Hub report. We are fortunate that there are many stories to share and that people are doing that and I’m trying to emphasize that the next step is to do the kind of critical, roll-up-our-sleeves, get-out-the-micro (and macro)-scope kind of work to explore what we’re doing in more detail, because the devil (and angels?) lay there. Glad you’re thinking about this stuff and placing yourself in the system — no matter where that might be.


  2. Blanca Pérez Lozano May 18, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Hi Cameron,

    nice explanation for what DE is..I love it; however, I don´t finish seeing the different between the DE and a good monitoring system (MS) when ideally and correctly implemented.

    From my point of view (and the way I try to design them), a correct MS should also integrate indicators on behavioural change (as well as other “more traditional” indicators), feedback and learning integration process, right? As well as other partners can participate in the data gathering process.

    I undestand that innovation process themself are particular (with goes and backs) and, therefore, evaluation plans are to be rethought.

    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and experiences.



    1. Bianca,

      Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate your thoughts and agree with your point about an MS incorporating some form of behaviour change indicators into them — ideally, anyway.

      One thing that DE does is make that change aspect more explicit, rather than assumed, because I agree that a good MS should have that included in it. The problem is that I think too many evaluators forget that and, because it’s not often made explicit in the design. Perhaps the lesson is that we need to make this part of our work more explicit. From my point of view, whatever models and methods help create the conversations about evaluation and how it can be used constructively to develop programs more wisely are ones we ought to pay attention to.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.