In small groups the students create a landscape of possible stakeholders for real, fictive or prospective school projects. They identify their expected motivation for support as well as their assumed contributions and needs to become an active part of the project.
Aims and objectives
- to analyse possible stakeholders of a real or fictive project
- to identify the needs of stakeholders
- to develop ideas how stakeholders can support a project
- Flip chart paper, markers
- 4 red and 4 blue markers (one of each colour for each group)
Prepare the room-setting for 4 small groups (4 tables and chairs), on each table a blank poster, one red and one blue marker, additionally markers in other colours.
Step by step description
- Project choice
Each team chooses one project – real and ongoing, fictive or prospective – which is related to the whole school or the class.
- Stakeholder landscape
Each team reflects on possible stakeholders of the chosen project. This could be interested as well as interesting key organisations or persons in the project environment (parents, management board, school authorities, local government, organisations, companies, universities, media etc.). Stakeholders can influence or support the project in some way and they are in some way or other affected by the objectives and activities of the project.
The students create a kind of landscape on a poster identifying all relevant stakeholders and giving them a place on that map according to their influence (which could be positive, negative or ambivalent).
- Evaluating stakeholders: enthusiastic or phlegmatic?
The groups identify the expected will of support of stakeholders by adding warm red (= very actively involved & interested – “enthusiastic”) or cool blue (= not at all involved/interested – “phlegmatic”) colours with text markers on the poster. This step illustrates the level of engagement right on the poster.
The group discusses the now given picture/impression: “Sahara” or “Ice Age”?’
- Presentation in plenary
All teams present their posters in plenary and pin them on boards (or on the wall). The posters should be visible for all in the further work process.
- Consulting teams: What could the stakeholders contribute?
The teams change projects now: Every team works with the poster of another team and takes on a consulting role. The following task is to add post-its or cards with ideas about what kind of support these stakeholders on the posters could give (money, good relations to …, lobbying, press contacts, support in the form of rooms or materials, knowledge, cheap prints or copies, transport etc.).
All ideas are presented and explained in plenary.
- Selection of one specific stakeholder (group)
The members of the original team (project bringers) look at their poster and choose one stakeholder which seems to be the most important one for the moment.
- Role play: negotiation talk: What do they need to become active?
The next step is a 5 to 10-minutes role play about a fictive appointment between a consulting team of a stakeholder group and the project bringer team.
- The fictive consulting team represents at the same time the most important stakeholder group (which the project bringer team has identified in step 6). The actors are members of the group which has identified prospective contributions of important stakeholders (see step 5).
- The project bringer team plays itself.
- The setting for the role play is prepared (an appointment between both teams). To simulate a negotiation situation, put a table between both groups. Place chairs for 2 groups which sit opposite each other.
- The project bringer team gets the task to find out what the stakeholder group/consulting team would need to support the project group. The consulting team/stakeholder group expresses what comes to their mind, each little idea is welcome, all associations can be valuable.
- The project bringer group asks questions to understand and to clarify what the consultants want to convey. What are their key arguments, which future steps do the stakeholders suggest, how should details look like (etc.)? The aim of this procedure is to get very precise ideas what possible supporters would need to support the project. Thus, it is important that the project bringers collect all ideas and make notes.
- After the role play a debriefing session takes place (for questions see 8.3.), subsequently 3 other role plays are performed as described above.
Reflection with the students / debriefing questions
- Was it difficult/easy to reflect what you would need to become active and support the project?
- Was it difficult/easy to express your ideas and needs to the project bringers?
- What was surprising?
- What do you guess, what are your chances to realise the ideas proposed by the stakeholders/consultants? What do you consider to be the most difficult issue for you? What would be the easiest one? Which steps will you take to get the stakeholder group on board of your project?
Reference / original source of the method
This method was facilitated by Hermine Steinbach-Buchinger in her workshop „Help, do we have to do everything in this project? How can we involve mummy and daddy and the others in school?“ at the aces Kick-Off Meeting 2008 in St. Virgil (Salzburg), Austria.