How to engage with QH – Step 1
What is Stakeholder Engagement?
Stakeholder engagement is a highly relevant activity, an ongoing process, that builds relationships between parties enabling information exchange. This process allows stakeholder affected by decisions of organisation in question to contribute to the decision-making process.
The process of stakeholder engagement is voluntary, open and active dialog, that identifies 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 is continues.
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 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 development of collaborative network are evident through access to knowledge, development of scientific competence, obtaining competitive advantage through acceleration of ideas, but significant challenges still remain: how to manage such relationships.
Stakeholder engagement – role of QH in GRRIP
Quadruple helix stakeholders for GRRIP project represent a group of all stakeholders in one place with function of reflecting societal needs. They are expected to participate in 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 development of sustainable inclusion of QH involvement. Role of QH in GRRIP project is to co and includes several points.
Throughout QH engagement this reflexive working group will support institutionalising RRI and ensure that it is reflective to societal needs throughout the process
Step 1: Identify, plan and understand
First step to effectively engage with stakeholders is to identify who they are (Akhmouch and Clavreul, 2016). Identification of stakeholders includes several activities. Firstly, you need to develop a list of stakeholders, categorise them according to mutuality (how important is the stakeholder to the project) and what they expect. You need to document each stakeholder’s influence and relationship to the organisation (Bourne, 2010).
In order to establish meaningful relationship with stakeholders you need to identify basic objectives that you as an organisation want to achieve, issues you want to address and stakeholders that you want to engage. In order to understand your stakeholders, you have to “dig deeper” to understand their decision making process, their expectation from you, what objectives are they seeking and how did they influenced you previously (Jeffery, 2009).
As a first step toward QH stakeholder engagement you need to define your stakeholders within all QH categories, the mapping of QH should be based on current and ideal collaborations. (Figure 1.)
During the mapping of stakeholders for the QH platform all four stakeholder groups should be included. The stakeholders will engage in defining of future stakeholder engagement strategy and action plan creation for RRI “interventions” within site. Table 1 gives an overview of the perceived contribution of different QH categories in the engagement with demo sites. Throughout consultation process why and how QH contributes can be refined remaining fluidity of the engagement process.