A stakeholder map is a visual or physical representation of the groups involved with a particular service. By representing staff customers, partner organisations and other stakeholders in this way, the interplay between these various groups can be charted and analysed.
Why is it used?
The overview provided by stakeholder maps is a good way to highlight the issues concerning each stakeholder group. These groups can then be clustered together by their shared interests, allowing the service provider to deploy their resources more effectively when responding to problems and expanding their service. In a similar vein, groups can be categorised according to their importance and influence, with previously neglected groups perhaps being reconsidered once the influence they exert on others is revealed. The maps thus visualise the complex situations surrounding most services, in which many actors have an effect on how well it is received and perceived. A comprehensive but accessible overview of stakeholders is integral to any attempts at improving engagement.
When is it helpful?
Stakeholder Maps help project teams to appreciate the influence of various stakeholders to a particular process, service or problem. This is turn can help prioritise engagement across projects.
How is it applied?
Firstly, a comprehensive list of stakeholders needs to be drawn up. Besides interviews, this will usually involve a fair amount of desk research as the aim of the map is also to highlight stakeholders that the service provider did not mention (or may not even be aware of). In addition, it is important to reveal both the interests and the motivations of each stakeholder, with these also being incorporated into the map.
Once the list is complete the focus switches to how these groups are related to each other, and how they interact with each other. These connections should ideally be highlighted in a visually engaging way, as
the aim throughout this process is to produce an easily accessible overview that can both identify pain points and explore areas of potential opportunity.
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