Guides to help initiate and manage multi-stakeholder processes

act-diagMany pages on this site (see the index bar above) provide information, ideas and guidance around different aspects of multi-stakeholder processes. 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.  The Facilitating sustainable change processes post provides a good starting place for a broad introduction to facilitating a collaborative and multi-stakeholder process.  Moreover, to achieve change policy makers and others need to be aware of related issues such as: behaviour change – guides to approaches and theories, 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. The annotated links below will lead readers to a multitude of useful guides and tips for working in this area.

The MSP guide : how to design and facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships
The guide by Herman Brouwer, Jim Woodhill and team integrates practical knowledge with theoretical foundations and principles. Their approach to MSPs has strong roots in participatory development, which has become a cornerstone of effective development cooperation. While practical facilitation methods and tools are essential, it is even more important to be able to design processes around the underlying dynamics of human systems, power relations, conflict, and teamwork. In this 2015 report the authors draw on diverse schools of thought to offer facilitators and stakeholders in partnerships a set of principles and conceptual models to help inspire creative and critical processes of change. Also see the accompanying practice guide by Herman and Jan Brouwer and team – The MSP Tool Guide : Sixty tools to facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships : companion to The MSP Guide. This 2017 companion guide provides a practical framework for the design and facilitation of these collaborative processes that work across the boundaries of business, government, civil society and science. The guide links the underlying rationale for multi-stakeholder partnerships, with a clear four phase process model, a set of seven core principles, key ideas for facilitation and 60 participatory tools for analysis, planning and decision making.

Participatory Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms in Integrated Landscape Initiatives
Koen Kusters et al. (2017) Environmental Management
Integrated landscape initiatives typically aim to strengthen landscape governance by developing and facilitating multi-stakeholder platforms. Multi-stakeholder platforms tend to involve complex processes with diverse actors, whose objectives and focus may be subjected to periodic re-evaluation, revision or reform. This paer proposes and reports on a participatory method to aid planning, monitoring, and evaluation of such platforms – i) looking ahead; ii) looking inward; and iii) looking back.

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 weave: participatory process design guide for strategic sustainable development
The Weave was developed by Tracy Meisterheim, Steven Cretney and Alison Cretney in 2011. With the goal of creating transformative change that lasts, The Weave tries to answer the question: what would the ideal engagement look like? It provides guidance for sustainability practitioners wishing to
more deeply engage people in creating their sustainable future. This guide includes the collective input of twenty two sustainability and hosting practitioners from around the world. It recognises engagement as broadly involving five overlapping phases: Exploration, Commitment, Design, Engagement
and Integration.

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.

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.

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.

More information on approaches, tools and methodologies can be found through the linked LfS pages  on conceptual modellingsystems 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.