Participatory engagement including representatives from each sector of the research and innovation process in each phase of the project is essential for creating results from which all involved stakeholders can benefit. We establish a related engagement platform and appropriate guidelines to ensure effective participation.
Stakeholder engagement is a highly relevant activity, an ongoing process, that builds relationships between parties enabling information exchange. This process allows stakeholders affected by the decisions of organisation in question to contribute to the decision-making process.
The process of stakeholder engagement is voluntary, open, and active dialog, which identifies the current position of all parties included, outlines objectives and outcomes and identifies how to achieve them. Parties that are included in the engagement can change but the process of engagement continues. The process of stakeholder engagement is a multi-faceted process including (APGA Guideline for stakeholder engagement, 2015):
- Providing information;
- Capacity building to equip communities and stakeholders to effectively engage;
- Listening and responding to community and stakeholder concerns;
- Including communities and stakeholders in the relevant decision-making processes;
- Developing goodwill and an understanding of objectives and priorities which will lead to confidence in decisions;
- Establishing a realistic understanding of potential outcomes;
- Building an understanding of the decision-making process.
For stakeholder engagement to be effective there are some requirements: willingness and motivation of stakeholders to participate (Gunton et al., 2010); inclusivity of all possible interests (Reed, 2008); equal access to information and knowledge (Gunton et al., 2010; Gopnik et al., 2017).
Some barriers in the process of engagement can be identified as well such as: the participation is more tokenistic (cosmetic) rather than active (Pomeroy and Douvere, 2008; Echler et al., 2009; Gopnik et al., 2017; Flannery et al., 2018); unfamiliarity with the processes and activities of the organisation in question (Water, 2018); public can have deeply rooted value and belief system (local fisherman for e.g.) affecting the trust level in organisation in question (Jentoft and Knol, 2013).
The main value of engagement with stakeholders lies in the understanding of dialogue dynamics and enabled participation (Luoma-Aho, 2015).
Generally, engagement is referred as interaction between stakeholders and organisation where interaction influences stakeholder thoughts, actions and emotions toward organisation (Broodie et al., 2011).
The benefits of quadruple helix stakeholder engagement by the development of collaborative networks are evident through access to knowledge, development of scientific competence, obtaining a competitive advantage through the acceleration of ideas, but significant challenges still remain: how to manage such relationships.
Engagement of stakeholders could be summarised as a six-step process (an adaptation of Jeffery, 2009; Figure 1.1.)
Stakeholder engagement – the role of QH in GRRIP
Quadruple helix stakeholders for GRRIP project represent a group of all stakeholders in one place with a function of reflecting societal needs.
They are expected to participate in the development (co-create) action plan for RRI interventions within demo sites. They will serve as a reflection group where sites will demonstrate openness with QH.
Through mutual learning and interaction, QH will support demo sites in the development of sustainable inclusion of QH involvement. The role of QH in GRRIP project is to include several points. Throughout QH engagement this reflexive working group will support institutionalising RRI and ensure that it is reflective of societal needs throughout the process.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been publishing the 6 steps which were related to the topic on “How to engage with QH” and we tried to answer the questions that were most frequently asked on how to approach and deal with your stakeholders on the right way. To download the brochure which includes all of the previous steps click on the link below