Most of the social, technological, economic and environmental challenges that we face today require some form of collective action. Collective action comes about as a result of connections, trust and shared values.
A well-designed and delivered stakeholder engagement process builds the insight and social capital that is needed to drive collective action. The process begins with mapping the key stakeholder groups, defining the key questions and identifying a balanced set of representatives. The next step involves building one-on-one relationships through which each stakeholder's perspective and insights can be heard and understood. Ideas emerge and are tested and refined through subsequent interviews. The analysis stage is used to build a picture of the problem and potential solutions as they are seen by the different stakeholders, identifying areas of commonality and difference. Out of this analysis emerge areas of consensus which point the way forward for successful innovation.
Some research processes finish at this stage. But in situations where shared commitment to a strategy or plan is required, a group process can be used to build greater trust and ownership. Although individual stakeholders come from different positions and hold different interests, as humans we are united by a relatively finite set of core values. By working with stakeholders to map individual interests to shared values we can derive actions and measures of success which form the basis for collective action. This process usually occurs through a mix of face-to-face and online collaboration. The end point for this process is the development of a plan for collective action (identifying objectives, actions, the responsible party, risk factors, management strategies and key performance indicators) which achieves sign-off from all stakeholder groups involved in the process.