Stakeholder maps help visualize the range of people impacted by a given challenge or project. This post offers 3 stakeholder map templates to help facilitate virtual co-creation.
What is a Stakeholder Map?
In project management and various design fields (e.g., product design, service design, design thinking, etc.), stakeholders maps help visualize the range of people impacted by a given challenge or project.
Check out this Pinterest Board for examples of Stakeholder Maps.
Who is a Stakeholder?
A stakeholder is anyone who is impacted by a defined challenge or project. There definition of who ‘counts’ as a stakeholder can vary depending on the project, organization, and/or field.
Stakeholder Mapping x Life Design
In our lesson, stakeholders constituted anyone (e.g., individuals, affinity groups, organizations, etc.) who could speak to one or more aspects a given How Might I statement.
3 Stakeholder Map Templates for Virtual Co-Creation
In design thinking, stakeholder maps are often initally co-created in-person. Given COVID-19, it was essential to transform this activity and adapt it to a virtual format, while still allowing for synchronous co-creation.
My first example of virtually co-created a stakeholder map occurred when taking Advanced Design Thinking with Sharon H. Kim at the Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School. She created a template in Google Slides that allowed for synchronous co-creation.
Sharon H. Kim’s template inspired me to create 3 stakeholder map templates in Google Slides for my students.
You can access a version of the templates and instructions on how to copy them here: Life Design Log Stakeholder Map Templates. They are free for you to use and adapt, just make sure to cite the us, as well as anyone else we mention (contact me with any questions on this).
The next sections walk you through each template.
This template is what I consider to be my go-to virtual stakeholder map template. I adapted from Sharon H. Kim’s template that she introduced to our Advanced Design Thinking class.
The categories in this template mean the following:
- Core – critical to learning more about your How Might I (HMI)
- Direct – important to learning about your HMI and likely plays a direct role in all or part of your HMI
- Indirect – likely has peripheral knowledge or an indirect perspective regarding your HMI
Best Used When:
This template is great to use when you have a well-defined How Might I statement or solid problem statement for your project.
This template was inspired by the dynamic imagined lives that my students were creating. Many students had How Might I statements that had multiple moving parts. This made it a challenge to focus.
With this template, co-creators can identify up to 4 themes stemming from their How Might I statement or problem statement.
Best Used When:
This template is great to use when you have a How Might I statement or problem statement that has multiple moving parts or multiple perceived interpretations/themes.
This template emerged to meet some students where they were, which was stuck. Typically, their How Might I (HMI) statement was not well defined. They were also stuck on how to revise their HMI statements.
This template aims to help co-creators to step back. First, they should try to identify a potential stakeholder(s). Second, they should describe in a few words or a sentence the stakeholders’ relationship to the HMI/problem statement.
Best Used When:
This template is great to use when participants are stuck and not sure how to move forward. By articulating relationships, co-creators might be able to identify more stakeholders and/or refine their HMI/problem statement.
Stakeholders maps can be a powerful form of focused visual brainstorming. Co-creating these maps can faciliate diverse outputs. This is a particularly impactful exercise when done synchronously.
Synchronous co-creation in a virtual setting can be challenging. These templates can easily be adapted and adjusted for diverse purposes. I just ask that you cite this site and anyone else we mention (contact me with any questions on this).
While there are a number of ways to approach stakeholder maps, most rely on having a well-defined problem statement. The reality for many, including my students, is that getting to a solid problem statement is not always straightforward.
Templates 2 and 3 offer options to help participants make progress with their stakeholder maps, especically if they are stuck due to a not-so-well-defined problem statement. Ideally, the prompts in these templates would help facilitate iterating and refining a team’s problem statement.
Nonetheless, there are instances when teams might have a solild problem statement, but are still stuck. Trying out different prompts can help participants to get unstuck. I hope the provided templates offer a starting point for you and your group.
Inspired to use one of these templates? I would love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments.