welcome to the make sense academy

this academy was born out of a strong belief that people are first and foremost human beings with complex emotions, not walking wallets or slaves for businesses, marketeers, and advertisers to use and abuse – as it happens much too often in today’s world. 

we quickly realized that the reason why people are treated in this way is because they are repeatedly looked at as statistics, demographics, grouped profiles, revenue brackets… not as people, but just numbers, forecasts, and targets. which can give the impression that they are rational beings we can easily understand and, thus, predict and control.

if you live by the homo economicus theory, that makes sense. but based on our lifetime of interactions with other humans and on what science says, it absolutely does not.

we felt we wanted to understand people better. so we started to dig into neuromarketing. which got us to discover the beauty of neuroscience and the permanent fight between our instinct, emotions and reason for the control of our decisions. when we combined it with some basic psychology and cultural sociology, it all started to make much more sense.  

we learned. and learned. and learned some more. we read. we observed people around us. people interacting with each other. reacting to one another. we asked questions and we shared experiences. we dug deeper. we discussed. we debated. and talked some more. we drew ideas, concepts and patterns. we tested them. we shared them and listened back. we adapted and learned some more.

the more we learned, the more we got hooked. before we knew it, we had designed sense-making theories, human-centered brand frameworks, cross-cultural communication tactics, and models to predict and analyze irrationality. this ended up looking a lot like a science of its own. that is how we called it “sense-ology“.

so what began as a simple blog quickly evolved into something bigger. first, professional workshops. then coaching sessions. all aiming to help individuals, non-profits, start-ups and businesses tailor their strategies to human oddity – building brand strategies and adapting stories to connect more deeply with people’s hearts and minds.

and here we are. but what’s next?
let’s start with some sense-ology?

our sense hackers

Vincent Joris
founder, head of cultural sociology content;
making relative sense since 1983.

originally from Belgium, now living in the US, our geeky Vincent has been resident in five countries on three continents, and fluently speaks three languages with introductions to six others using four different alphabets. his obsession with cultural differences, linguistic logics, and cross-cultural strategies has been engraved in his heart and mind throughout most of his adult life.

he has worked in sales, marketing, brand management and communications most of his career from non-profits to big corporations, at the local, national, international and global level – while sharing his knowledge with start-ups, small businesses, students and more through workshops and trainings at universities or through education and training NGOs.

he often reminds people that brand strategy and neuroscience are actual hobbies of his.

one of the sentences he uses the most is “I hope this makes sense” – which actually inspired the name of our academy.

Daniela Dandes
head of organizational and neuroscientific content;
attempting sanity since 1991. #gettingthere

Daniela is the academy’s interdisciplinary brain, usually going between science and arts, facts and fiction, the emotional and the rational, thus connecting the dots in the hopes of uncovering deeper meanings about people and the world. her modus operandi makes sense when you find out that she comes from Romania (a land of sharp contrasts), has lived in 5 countries (so far), speaks 3 languages fluently and getting there with 2 others, has worked with people from the whole cultural spectrum, and has experimented with different sides of the branding and marketing branch.

it also helps that she majored in language, culture, and literature, which gives her an advantage in recognizing, deconstructing, and constructing narratives.

her current favorite quote is: “what you have, anyone can have. but who you are, no one else can be.” also, her angle on things in general follows the Neminem Resideo principle (from Latin) – meaning that everybody in good-faith plays an important role within the ecosystem. her current challenge is working with scientists to help them communicate better.

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