Influence and interest mapping

Create a map of which stakeholders are engaged and their relative power

This technique is best used at the start of a project to help determine who to work with. Those chosen are likely to be in the top-left, top-right and bottom-right boxes. Periodically, and especially if there is a significant change in context, revisit the map to test if there are any changes.

It can be used later in projects to help identify key people for helping disseminate the research, but at that stage it does not give newly identified stakeholders an opportunity to contribute to the research.

Ask participants to individually consider the following questions. This can be done for individuals but also by organisation or sector.

  • Who has relevant knowledge?
  • Who will be affected?
  • Who has power to influence? (consider not just decision-making power, but also peers and with the public)
  • Who are potential allies and opponents?
  • Are there people whose voices may not be heard?
  • Are there people are not currently in positions of power or influence, but who are necessary in the solution?
  • Who will be responsible for managing outcomes?
  • Who can facilitate or impede?
  • Who can contribute financial or technical resources?

Ask participants to list individuals and organisations on individual Post-it notes. Compile a list of affected groups and individuals.

Draw up a large interest and influence map on a whiteboard or paper. Discuss where to place each Post-it. Note if any are growing or waning in their influence or interest.

For example, the district's mayor has a lot of power, but the issue is not a priority for her. She goes in the high influence / low interest quadrant.

A local park ranger deals with the issue on a daily basis, but has little ability to influence things.

He goes in low influence / high interest.

Representatives from local iwis have high interest and high influence.

Continue locating people and groups until you run out of names.

Capture and document the completed map and share between the group.

One you have your completed map, you now need to decide exactly who you are going to work with.

For each stakeholder, in your project team consider:

  • Why might they be important for the project?
  • Why might they be interested/not interested?
  • What could the stakeholder bring to (or lose from) the research?
  • What stages of research could they be important for (design and planning, doing, dissemination)?
  • What would be an appropriate degree of involvement (inform, through to collaborate or empower)?
  • Consider, based on what the project is trying to achieve and resources, whether to include or exclude them. If including - What would we need to do to get them involved? If excluding, what are the consequences?

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