Stakeholder image on a tablet,along with plant, glasses and coffee

How to manage your stakeholders

Having identified your stakeholders, it is important to manage their involvement. Here we will consider a couple of simple tools to help you with that. The first thing to consider is to prioritise your stakeholders. This can be particular important if you have a large project, with numerous stakeholders.

A simple tried and tested technique is to analyse your stakeholders in terms of power, influence and the extent to which they will be affected by your innovation or change. A simple way of doing this is called a four sector table. Let us illustrate this by the example you watched in the video of introducing point of care pregnancy testing for women of child bearing age requiring medical imaging, such as x-ray or CT scan, which use ionising radiation.

The first step is to compile the four sector table in the Downloads section below. These are just some examples, you will be able to think of others.

Depending on the size and scope of your innovation project, using a table such as this will help you identify who should sit on your project board. A formal board is not required for all but the largest projects, but by ‘board’ in this sense, we mean who should you have on your core team to help you directly, and then who should you keep informed and who you should consult with regularly. Remember patient representative can be a valuable resource to help you see the service from their perspective.

Understanding your stakeholders is crucial to the success of all stages of the innovation project. Consider the following questions which might help you understand the various points of view:

  1. What financial or other interests do they have in your innovation project?

  2. What motivates them the most?

  3. What information should you provide to them? What information do they need/want from you, the innovator?

  4. Consider, how do they want to receive information about your innovation project? What is the best way of communicating information to them?

  5. What is their current opinion of your work, and is it accurate? What is the basis of this opinion? Who has influenced their opinion, both positively and negatively? Can you gain the support of your opposition, what will win them around, or how can you manage their opposition?

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Understanding Innovation in the Healthcare Sciences

Manchester Metropolitan University

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