Actor tree

From Community Narrations

Aims of the practice and description of participants

When you are going to start a new project that you know affects or may be affected by a number of stakehold- ers and you are aware of the importance of their engage- ment. It should be done at the very beginning to allow you to include them.

Resources, Materials needed

- Worksheets.
- Marker.
- Post-its.
- Flipchart.


45 - 60 minutes.

Step-by-step - what has to be done?

STEP 1. The challenge and the context Take a big piece of paper and draw the tree canvas. The roots account for the network of stakeholders, the trunk for the challenge and the crown for the context. First, write down a brief description of the challenge on one or more sticky notes and put it on the trunk. Bear in mind the rule of thumb: one idea per post-it. Finally, when all the definitions are on the canvas, try to come to a consensus and write a single statement for the problem. Once the problem is defined, write down any features of the context that you consider significant for the stakeholder identification and put them all together on the crown of the tree.

STEP 2. Chunking down into categories With the challenge and the con- text in mind, the following step is to identify categories and subcategories of actors clear- ly represented in the system around your challenge. Draw a new root for each category you identify, and a new root branch for each subcategory.

STEP 3. Closing gaps To finalise the tree, look for those hidden stakeholders: outsiders, groups barely or- ganized and with no skills for self-organization, minorities, etc. If you consider they might come in relevant, factor them into the list and future network.

STEP 4. Debrief Spend some minutes on re-flecting about the outcome you obtained. Some of the questions you might ask are the following: Do you think you have spotted many or few stakeholders? Did you find it difficult to come to a consensus regarding the stakeholders to factor in? Do any of the branches look more relevant than the others, with many more stakeholders? If so, does it reflect the real world or is it a possible bias due to the team background? Do any of the roots have very few stakeholders, even though you are aware that there must be many more? Were there any stakeholders be-longing to different roots at the same time? If so, what did you decide? Did you put them in several roots? Does the big picture of the tree with the context, the cha-llenge and the stakeholders, help you to better understand your needed network.

Learning Outcomes - which skills are addressed?

After having a list of stakeholders you will need to know them better: their needs, expectations and possible reactions. You also need to map them out to make their stances and relations clear. Consequently, you can go on with the stakeholder analysis tools such as the enlarged empathy map or the actors map. In an interconnected world, projects, services and products are no longer standalone outcomes but are strongly tied to a net- work of stakeholders, whether they are potential customers, clients. competitors, allies, etc. There is a lot of evidence that engaging that network in your project from the very beginning, leads to better outcomes; it keeps the project from derailing and builds a sense of ownership and belonging, not only to the outcome but also the process.

How do you check the outcomes are reached?

Validated Stakeholder Tree.

Further Links/Readings id=%2Fpersonal%2Fcristian%5Fmatti%5Fclimate%2Dkic%5Forg%2FDocuments%2F1%5FOnline%20links%2FVisual%20Toolbox28032018%2Epdf&parent=%2Fpersonal%2Fcristian%5Fmatti%5Fclimate%2Dkic%5Forg%2FDocuments%2F1%5FOnline%20links&ga=1