Mapping which organizations and/or individuals have a stake in your products and services is a powerful way to understand the wider scope of needs, and who you have to satisfy. Not only the user is affected by your outcomes. Not all of them have the same priorities. Collectively mapping them is a form of wider empathy, and helps to identify possible compromises and trade offs that you may have to make to satisfy all stakeholders.

what is it

A Stakeholder Map is a visual tool that identifies and prioritizes the importance of all stakeholders.

why is it important

There are many stakeholders that need to be satisfied e.g. shareholders; local authority; professional organizations; wider public; investors; directors; employees;
and of course users. Designing for just one e.g. the user, may satisfy that group greatly, but it is important to make sure that the other stakeholders are considered.
Knowing what will make each group happy identifies the wider scope of delivery that needs to be considered.

how to do it

  1. Use the Stakeholder Map tool and post-it notes for each of the design team
  2. Individually, and silently, ask each team member to silently brainstorm the stakeholders they think are involved, using a marker pen on post-it notes, one stakeholder per post-it. Use only enough words for other team members to understand
  3. When each team member has completed their individual list, place the post-its on the Stakeholder Map, starting with the most important stakeholder in the centre (usually the user) and positioning the others in the outer circles. The more important the stakeholder, the closer to the centre they should be positioned. As each post-it is positioned explain why it is felt that they should be positioned
    where they are on the map
  4. When all team members have completed task 3 group together the post-it notes of the same stakeholders and remove duplicates
  5. As the map develops write down key insights and notes about the stakeholders on post-its, one insight per note, and position them in a separate area of the map for later reference
  6. The completed map is a collective and shared visual reference that clarifies who is at the heart of your design challenge, and leads into the later Stakeholder Value Mapping activity within the ideation phase of the design thinking process.
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