Here are the step-by-step instructions to a creative exercise for expanding your vision.
Everybody knows who the stakeholders are for their company or project. That seems obvious, but is it?
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned from conducting stakeholder mapping workshops is how different everyone’s perspective is on whom their stakeholders are. Everyone brings a different perspective to the issue, depending on his or her role within the organization. A true 360° view comes from soliciting insight and opinions from multiple perspectives.
The importance of having a 360° view on your project is that it is a critical tool for framing, positioning and developing a solid strategy for your brand or project. Plus, it guarantees that everyone feels included — which is crucial to getting everyone’s buy-in to the proposition— and provides a launching pad for expanding your view as wide as possible.
To get started with stakeholder mapping, you’ll need:
- A big whiteboard
- Markers of several colors
- Sticky notes
- The ability to draw a stick figure, a thought bubble and arrows
- At least three small groups of participants from three diverse areas within your organization. For example, someone from marketing, someone from finance and a C-level executive.
Step 1: Divide the room
Separate the group into subgroups with different perspectives. I’ve found this can work with groups as small as one person or as large as three. The ideal number of groups is 3-4.
Step 2: Provide materials
Give each group a large whiteboard or one of those mega-stickies to draw on along with a stack of sticky notes and three markers of different colors.
Step 3: Demonstrate figure icons
Draw simple icons that identify people. For example, if you’re drawing a doctor, draw a tiny stethoscope around their neck. Start out by drawing the figure icons on sticky notes so they can be easily repositioned. Draw as many as you think are needed.
Step 4: Demonstrate thought bubbles
Have your teams draw a thought bubble next to each person icon. The thought bubble should be filled with that person’s perspective or motivations. For example, the doctor’s thought bubble could say “I want to help people get better.” Each stakeholder gets one thought bubble for each person icon.
Step 5: Demonstrate relationship lines
Have your team group its people icons into sections and draw lines around those groups. Then, draw arrows between groups to show how they are related to one another. For example, group the doctors, nurses and patients in a circle. Then draw an arrow to another circle that contains insurance provider employees. Perhaps you’re showing the process of how a claim is filed.
Step 6: Create a time limit
Have each group spend 10 minutes working on their own stakeholder map.
Step 7: Presentations
Have each group explain their stakeholder map.
Step 8: Facilitate discussion and co-author a full stakeholder map
With even three to four different perspectives, you’ll find that a combined stakeholder map will provide a complete, 360° view of your initiative or project.
Step 9: Document
Create a formal document of the stakeholder map, taking time to edit and expand as needed.
Step 10: Share
Share the document with all team members so they can see how their input directly shaped things.
The stakeholder mapping exercise is something I learned through the Luma Institute for Human Centered Design. I’ve used it with many clients and internal projects already, and it has proven to be invaluable in the strategic process. Once you widen your view of who a project truly impacts, you can consider it from every angle; thus making the outcome a better experience for everyone and your project more successful.
In 2002, Tina founded Yellowfin Design Studio in Austin spent 12 years design great brand strategies, marketing campaigns, and mobile interfaces that allow customers to better engage with their favorite businesses. In 2014, her team joined Ascend.
Tina Schweiger has the perfect, fine-tuned blend of business brain and creative brain. An artist at heart, Tina learned to marry her need for expression with her need to make a living. A full scholarship swimmer and Cum Laude graduate from the University of Texas with a BFA in Graphic Design, Tina has spent her career honing her skills as a brand strategist and creative director. Tina’s gift is helping business professionals access their own creative side, build consensus among teams, and bring simplicity to the inherently complex business expression.