Methods of stakeholder engagement

The tool offers a radical participatory approach that allows the participants themselves to decide on the topics for discussion and to participate to the discussions that they are interested in. Although it may seem a little bit chaotic, if managed properly the outcomes can be surprising, as it offers total freedom of expression for the participants.

There are four principles guiding the method:

1. Whoever comes are the right people.

2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.

3. Whenever it starts is the right time.

4. When it’s over, it’s over.

Basically, what you as organiser are doing is just getting people in the same space offering different time slots for them to discuss whatever they consider to be relevant.

An example of a set-up can be the following: four rounds of discussions of about 45 minutes, each round comprising in three parallel sessions (the topics of the sessions will be chosen by the participants).


  Session 1 Session 2 Session 3

Round 1

(10.00 – 10.45)

Topic 1 Topic 2 Topic 3

Round 2

(11.00 – 11.45)

Topic 4 Topic 5 ...

Round 3

(12.00 – 12.45)

... ... ...

Round 4

(13.00 – 13.45)

... Topic 11 Topic 12


Each participant can propose one topic for discussion (in this set-up a maximum of 12) and can choose a time slot for it. The ones proposing the topic should also facilitate the corresponding discussion while the others are free to join any of the three parallel sessions and even to move from one to another during the discussions.

Here are the steps for setting up such a method:

1. Select an appropriate location.

2. Publicise the event and even directly invite different stakeholders.

3. Start the event by presenting the rules and the time slots to the participants.

4. Each person who wishes to, announces their name and topic they would like to introduce to the event and chooses one time slot (session) for it.

5. All the topics along with the hours and the location where the meetings will take place will be presented on a wall participants will decide which session to sign up to.

6. Those who proposed the topics will facilitate the individual discussions and can appoint people to keep a log of the discussions.

7. After all discussions are finished, the reports can be either presented for the whole group in a group meeting or just disseminated later on to them. Also, following the event the results should also be disseminated to other stakeholders and to the decision-makers.


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