A stakeholder map is a visual or physical representation of the various individuals and groups involved with a particular challenge or ‘system’.
Creating a draft for a stakeholder map can help you:
- Identify the core actors you wish to collaborate with
- Understand where the power and influence flows from and to
- Reveal a previously neglected group of stakeholders and allow them to be reconsidered
- Avoid duplicated effort
If you already have a sense of who some of the main stakeholders are you can involve them in the mapping process as a really tangible way to ensure participation and involvement right from the start.
This is a great exercise to do with a team, or a group that represent a number of different views across your organisation. Inviting others to participate helps to challenge assumptions and make the exercise true for different perspectives.
It might take time to bring people together and get them in the same room, so in the meantime you can do a rough draft on your own to see whether insights emerge about who you might need to involve. As there are many different ways to map stakeholders (detailed below), this might also be an opportunity to experiment with a couple of different types of map that might best suit the purpose of your stakeholder map. Your organisation and context will be unique, there is no one right way, some mapping techniques might feel more appropriate than others.
Finally, don’t be afraid to re-do with others, let go of your own assumptions to allow new perspectives and insights to emerge from the collective.