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Stakeholder mapping identifies stakeholders in the space and how we should engage them.
Stakeholder maps help us to identify important stakeholders in the space and how we should engage them. In a social innovation lab context, stakeholder mapping is crucial, because you want to make sure that as you work with stakeholders, you are working with the ‘right’ ones and that the engagement is at least as valuable to them as it is to you.
Actor maps are often the first step to stakeholder maps. They show which individuals and/or organizations are key players in the space and how they are connected. Actor maps are graphs representing the system of actors with their mutual relations. They provide a systemic view of the service and of its context. Actor maps help us to:
- Better understand current actors and their roles in the system.
- Diagnose the level of engagement and strength of connections among actors.
- Identify opportunities to build new relationships and explore other parts of the system.
- Identify potential points of intervention and levers of change.
Example of creating an actor map.
1) Setup Use flipchart or craft paper to draw your actor map based on the templates attached.
2) Individual brainstorm Individually, take 5 minutes to brainstorm the key actors in your challenge. Write one per sticky note. Share with your team.
3) Mapping As a team, map the actors for your challenge onto the actor map, using the suggested domains (Non-profit, Business, Government, Academia/ Experts and Other). Place them closer towards the centre the more interested/involved they are with your challenge.
4) Team discussion Discuss what patterns you see in your actor map, and what this might tell you about your challenge.
An influence-interest stakeholder map is an approach, which allows you to map your stakeholders onto a matrix demonstrating their potential influence, and interest in getting involved. By doing so, you can identify to what extent you should work with them:
- Inform: Here stakeholders have both little influence or interest in your challenge. You can keep them informed of your work.
- Consult: Stakeholders have high interest in your challenge, but little influence to bring about change (perhaps as junior members of a key organization). You can consult with them, but they will likely not be key in bringing about change.
- Involve/ Engage: Stakeholders have high influence, but little interest in your challenge. You can involve/ engage them to foster interest.
- Partner: These stakeholders have both high interest and high influence in bringing about change on your complex problem. These are the stakeholders you should partner with.
Example of conducting an influence-interest stakeholder map.
1) Setup Use an empty sheet of paper to draw out the matrix from the attached template
2) Identify key stakeholders Identify the key individuals from the Actor Map that you would need to work with.
3) Map onto the matrix Add these key stakeholders to the matrix.
4) Discuss Discuss what patterns you see in your Influence-Interest matrix, and what this might tell you about how to work your stakeholders. In the context of a lab, what you just did is also a hypothesis – ie. you think that you need to engage people this way, based on a set of assumptions. As you move forward, a simple experiment or check you can do to make sure that you haven’t missed anyone important or put them in the wrong quadrant is to talk to others who can validate your assumptions. Build into your engagement activities ways to check to make sure that you have the right people on board.
This model of stakeholder mapping includes urgency of the stakeholders claim on the challenge. This is especially useful when considering your lab as a process or journey that will span several years.
Dormant Stakeholders - Possess power to impose their will through coercive, utilitarian or symbolic means, but have little or no interaction/ involvement as they lack legitimacy or urgency.
Discretionary Stakeholders - Likely to be recipients of corporate philanthropy. No pressure on managers to engage with this group, but they may choose to do so. Examples are beneficiaries of charity.
Demanding Stakeholders - Those with urgent claims, but no legitimacy or power. Irritants for management, but not worth considering. Examples are people with unjustified grudges, serial complainers or low return customers.
Dominant Stakeholders - The group that many theories position as the only stakeholders of an organization or project. Likely to have a formal mechanism in place acknowledging the relationship with the organization or project, e.g. boards of directors, HR departments, public relations.
Dangerous Stakeholders – Those with powerful and urgent claims will be coercive and possibly violent. For example: employee sabotage or coercive/unlawful tactics used by activists.
Dependent Stakeholders – Stakeholders who are dependent on others to carry out their will, because they lack the power to enforce their stake. For example, local residents and animals impacted by the BP oil spill. Advocacy of their interests by dominant stakeholders can make them definitive stakeholders.
Definitive Stakeholders - An expectant stakeholder who gains the relevant missing attribute. Often dominant stakeholders with an urgent issue, or dependent groups with powerful legal support. Finally, those classed as dangerous could gain legitimacy, e.g. democratic legitimacy achieved by a nationalist party.
The administrative management of your stakeholders is important to the organization and planning of your project. With your project team, pull together a list of individuals that should be engaged from the various organization you previously identified. After you have a list of individuals, consider prioritizing their engagement by assigning them to a tier.
Tier 1 individuals are usually those that you would like to engage right now (invite to an interview/workshop).
Tier 2 individuals are usually those that would be engaged right after Tier 1 to account for any declines of participation.
Tier 3 individuals are considered those that you might inform or reach out to in a second phase of the project.
Consider structuring your stakeholder list in excel using the column headings listed below: