Design Tools: Stakeholder Mapping

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Dominic Prestifilippo and Heather Nero of andCulture came by the studio to talk about stakeholder mapping. This was an exercise that does what an org chart does not. In stakeholder mapping, people who are relevant to your project are mapped out using an X,Y axis. The two axis can represent different variables, but usually they are labeled interest and influence. This activity helps identify commonalities between stakeholders and how to focus efforts.

After introducing the concept, we put the method to use. Dominic and Heather gave use a scenario to employ stakeholder mapping. The scenario was that a university has hired us to start a recycling program. We needed to map out key stakeholders and explain their influence to the project. Since this was a mock-project, the information was speculative but it was a great way to employ the method. The x axis represented interest in the project while the y axis represented power.

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I worked with Meghan in this stakeholder mapping exercise. We placed university administration members higher along the y axis while students where lower. Outside interest groups were placed to the far right of the x axis while janitorial staff were place toward the origin because new recycling methods would likely increase their work load. Once the map was complete, we had a good idea of where sources of support could be found and who influential people are that need to be considered in the project.

Stakeholder mapping is a useful tool to understand how different people relate to a project. Dominic and Heather also mentioned how a stakeholder map can be brought to the stakeholders for validation. This can then open up discussion in different stakeholders perceive where other parties fall on the map.


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