In August 2002, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) launched what would become a six-year investigation of the three building failures that occurred on September 11, 2001 (9/11): the well-known collapses of the World Trade Center (WTC) Twin Towers that morning and the lesser-known collapse late that afternoon of the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7, which was not struck by an airplane. NIST conducted its investigation based on the stated premise that the “WTC Towers and WTC 7 [were] the only known cases of total structural collapse in high-rise buildings where fires played a significant role.”
Sensemaking is the ongoing process of giving meaning to one's experiences. Or, as Gary Klein and his colleges more formally explain, sensemaking is the "motivated, continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively." Sensemaking is an activity that depends on extracting environmental cues, interpreting their meaning, and then connecting them in a plausible story. It is a vital skill for high-tempo environments.