Stakeholders explores which competitors, colleagues, communities, customers, collaborators etc. have influence over the future of your question or issue.

Uses of the method

  • Understanding the battleground
  • Knowing who might be with you and against you
  • Developing a strategy to maximize support and minimize objections


  • Use stakeholder input to better inform your answer
  • Gain early support to achieve a successful outcome
  • Reduce concerns caused by lack of communication


  • Some stakeholders can't be communicated with directly for competitive reasons. Other ethical methods need to be employed where possible.

Steps to complete

  • Brainstorm a list of stakeholders e.g. your boss, shareholders, government, senior executives, alliances, trade associations, your coworkers, suppliers, the media, your team, investors, interest groups, customers, analysts, citizens, prospective customers, future recruits, the Community, your family. There will likely be many more than you first imagine
  • Prioritize the list in terms of influence and interest and show these as high, medium or low, against each stakeholder
  • Split the list into those that will likely help, be ambivalent or resist/hinder. Don't be too quick to put people on a resist/hinder list. With a good approach they might turn out to be the best contributors
  • Now determine how best to inspire, engage and enable them
  • Examine their interests and motivation in being involved with your organization and detail how they like to be communicated with
  • Determine how they perceive you and what you could do to improve your ability to change their minds when required
  • Determine who might be your future stakeholders
  • Determine the fixed elements (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments.
  • Capture critical variables i.e. uncertainties, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the fixed elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts.
  • Capture unique insight into new ways of seeing that can be utilized by the organization.
    • What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)?
    • How might the future be different?
    • How does A affect B?
    • What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
    • What are the likely outcomes?
    • What and who will likely shape our future?
    • Where could we be most affected by change?
    • What might we do about it?
    • What don't we know that we need to know?
    • What should we do now, today?
    • Why do we care?
    • When should we aim to meet on this?
  • Finish by noting your next steps. Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other research and methods such as 'Starburst' to create more vantage points on the issue.

Special note: Add your identified key stakeholders to WATCH, follow them constantly and update your analyzes here as circumstances change.

This method and your response can be shared with other members or kept private using the 'Privacy' field and through the 'Tag', 'Report' and 'Forum' functionalities. Use 'Tag' and/or 'Report' to aggregate your analyzes, or add a 'Forum' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.

Click the 'Invite tab to send invitations to other members or non-members (colleagues, external experts etc.) to ask for their input. You can whether or not you want anonymous responses.  These can be viewed and exported within the Responses tab.

Further reference

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Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance.

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