This page provides access to a range of guides that support multi-stakeholder processes (MSPs). These guides provide information, tools and techniques for those wishing to manage these processes for community and regional development. The basic principles are universal and there are a wide range of guides developed in many different contexts that can help us. Another related page is Behaviour change – guides to approaches and theories. Moreover, to achieve change policy makers and others need to be aware of the characteristics of complex social systems, and what these mean for the design of constructive interventions. It is also important to clearly set out a theory of change and logic models that build interventions that link operations with the required organizational and social activities.
Following the rabbit: a field guide to systemic design. This 2016 guide from Roya Damabi, is designed to support budding systemic designers to facilitate and lead systemic design projects. The Guide goes through a systemic design project from concept to implementation. It takes you through the workshop planning process, and discusses workshop roles and client relations.
Power Dynamics in Multi-Stakeholder Processes: A Balancing Act This 2013 publication synthesizes insights from an action research programme on “Power in Multi-Stakeholder Processes”. This research was initiated by six Dutch development NGOs and involved 12 cases in 8 countries in Africa, Asia and Central America. Also includes links to country case reports, videos and evaluation reports of this action research programme. This is hosted on the larger Wageningen Knowledge Creation portal – Multi-Stakeholder Processes which aims to enable practitioners worldwide to collaborate and share knowledge, experiences and strategies.
The Barefoot Guide to Working with Organisations and Social Change This is a downloadable, do-it-yourself guide for leaders and facilitators working with local organisations to function and develop in more healthy, human and effective ways. The Barefoot Guides bring stories, analyses, approaches and resources of interesting practice from around the globe, each under a key theme. You can also access a growing library of exercises, case studies, tools, readings, handouts, diagrams etc. on the website.
The community toolbox The Tool Box provides over 6,000 pages of practical information to support your work in promoting community health and development. This web site is created and maintained by the Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas (U.S.A). The core of the Tool Box is the “topic sections” that include practical guidance for the different tasks necessary to promote community health and development. For instance, there are sections on leadership, strategic planning, community assessment, grant writing, and evaluation to give just a few examples. Each section includes a description of the task, advantages of doing it, step-by-step guidelines, examples, checklists of points to review, and training materials.
Tools of Change: Proven Methods for Promoting Health, Safety and Environmental Citizenship This Canadian website, founded on the principles of community-based social marketing, offers specific tools, case studies, and a planning guide for helping people take actions and adopt habits that promote health and/or are more environmentally-friendly. This Web site will help you include in your programs the best practices of many other programs – practices that have already been successful in changing people’s behaviour.
The Community Sustainability Assessment Tool The non-profit Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) promotes human activities and technologies that can be harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future. Their sustainability auditing tool provides an “acid test” for comparing an existing community (city, village, neighborhood) with ideal goals for ecological, social, and spiritual sustainability. In addition, this tool is a learning instrument – pointing out actions aspiring individuals and communities can take to become more sustainable.
The Change Management Toolbook This site by Holger Nauheimer provides a sizable collection of tools, methods and strategies which you can apply during different stages of personal, team and organizational development, in training, facilitation and consulting. It is divided in three principle sections: Self, Team and Larger System. The site’s introduction to change management is a good place to start. You may have to register on the site to start using this resource.
Building Resilience in Rural Communities: Toolkit This toolkit outlines 11 resilience concepts found to be pivotal in enhancing individual and community resilience, and offers ideas on how to apply them. The toolkit is designed to be used by program coordinators such as community workers, health professionals, and others working with individuals and groups and community leaders. It can be used in a number of ways – in existing programs, making modifications to include resilience concepts and in new programs to assist in the selecting of concepts most relevant to the program.
Understanding and influencing behaviours: a review of social research, economics and policy making in Defra. This discussion paper draws on experience within Defra using a range of case studies to highlight how policy development is taking practical steps to deliver ‘change’. The premise for this paper is that the heart of the issue is not about ‘behaviour change’, but rather how translating a better understanding of behaviours (gained via economic and social research) directly into policy can influence change through the provision of evidence based, highly effective instruments. Whilst not an exhaustive review, the paper demonstrates how research and analysis is helping to understand behaviour, how this shapes our thinking about policy development and informs the choice of interventions adopted. Another useful Defra report is A framework for pro-environmental behaviours .
Fostering Sustainable Behavior This site by Doug McKenzie-Mohr was developed for people who design programs to foster sustainable behavior, to provide information that can enhance the success of their efforts. The site consists of six resources:an online guide which illustrates how to use community-based social marketing, searchable databases of articles, downloadable reports, graphics, and case studies on fostering sustainable behavior; and a listserv for sharing information and asking questions of others.
Community engagement: Resources for local government. This annotated 2011 bibliography outlines a number of key resources on the topic community engagement that have been prepared for practitioners and policy makers. It was developed in conjunction with the ACELG Working Paper ‘Local Government and Community Engagement.’ The selected resources have been produced by public sector organisations, – primarily the local government sector. While most have been produced within Australia, several international resources are included.
International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) IAP2 is an association of members who seek to promote and improve the practice of public participation in relation to individuals, governments, institutions, and other entities that effect the public interest in nations throughout the world. This page provides links to a toolbox and a useful typology around public participation.
Future Search This is the name for a 3-day planning meeting that enables people to cooperate in complex situations. It was started by Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoffis. The key principles underlying the process involve getting the “whole system in the room”, exploring the wider system before trying to fix the parts, emphasising common ground and future action, treating problems and conflicts as information – not action items. and having people accept responsibility for their own ideas, conclusions, and action plans.People follow a generic agenda, regardless of topic which consists of 4 or 5 half day sessions on the past, the present, the future, common ground, and action planning. The techniques used — time lines, a mind map, creative future scenarios, common ground dialogue — are all managed to support the principles.
… and some older – but insightful – papers
The true costs of participation: A framework How easy is it to establish what a participation initiative has really achieved – or simply whether the benefits were really worth the time and money? This document introduces a framework for thinking about the costs and value of participation in a structured way. UK focused, but with implications for participatory processes in all societies, the paper has three main sections: Introducing participation; planning for participation; and methods for participation. This document is based on research and collaborative development through a programme of interviews, workshops, desk research and discussions carried out in 2004/05.
The Guide to Effective Participation This guide was developed by David Wilcox for community activists and professionals seeking to get other people involved in social, economic and environmental projects and programmes. The toolkit part of the pack provides a range of techniques and tools from which organisations and individuals can select. The tools assist in identifying blockages and suggest ways forward. Careful selection and application of the most appropriate tool is an essential part of any job, but organisations using a tool for the first time may need to seek advice. The guide provides some signposts to further information about the tools and their use.
Collaborating for Sustainability This 2004 report by Sango Mahanty and Natasha Stacey is a resource kit for facilitators of participatory natural resource management in the Pacific. It provides information and guidance on a number of different phases in the project cycle for a participatory NRM program – i) introduction; ii) engaging stakeholders; iii) learning about natural resource management problems; iv) learning about the socio-economic context; v) planning for Change; and vi) planning for Action. A related 2007 paper by Natasha Stacey and colleagues – The Pacific International Waters Project: Aims, approaches and challenges – points to the importance of supporting these approaches with linked communication strategies which use public relations; social marketing; and community education.
Social capital: A tool for public policy. This 2005 study by the Canadian government Policy Research Initiative (PRI) concludes that government action could be more effective if, in developing relevant programs and initiatives, the role of social capital were taken into account more systematically. This summary report shows which areas of policy lend themselves to improvement by the development of social capital, and the types of approaches that could be used to achieve this. Links to other key studies on the role of social capital in policy considerations are also provided from this page.
More information on approaches, tools and methodologies can be found through the linked LfS pages on conceptual modelling, systems thinking and systemic design. Other related pages point to resources on related topics such as managing participation – including marginalized voices, facilitation tools and reflective practice. Allied topics include supporting constructive practice change, and particularly the page on strategic planning.