Creating Stakeholder Groupings
This process began with a team member picking a stakeholder from any of the four boards (People, Enterprise, Management, Organisation) which for some reason interested them and explaining why. Then another team member would pick a second stakeolder from any of the four boards which they felt was linked to the first in some way whether similiar , contrasting or complementary etc. Then another team member would pick another stakeholder to add to the group and so on, until the Team Leader decided that the group was full – usually when there were between 4 or 7 stakeholders.
After 5 or 6 such groups were created the team split into smaller groups and tried to work out what the strongest or most interesting links or themes were within the group. This often included removing certain stakeholders who did not fit the themes we had discussed or in some cases bringing in new additional members to expand a theme.
The team was then split into groups of two in order to develop a ‘Process’ for each of the groups of stakeholders. The idea of a ‘Process’ is a method of conducting interviews / workshops developed (as far as I can tell) by a group called the Kaos Pilots in Denmark. These ‘Processes’ seem to revolve around the idea of introducing theatrical elements into the interview process in order to gain information and insights which a more traditional type of qualitative interview would not uncover.
It also seems that the theatrical elements should themselves relate in some way to the the themes under consideration and the outcomes or information which is sought.
Nuala and I were allocated a stakeholder grouping which included : two representatives of big business – Bill Cullen & Dermot Desmond , the theme of Drugs, the Gardai, Moore Street Markets and Freerunners.
The previous discussion about this grouping had identified various themes centred around enterprise.
Enforcement of laws/regulations
Effect of red tape
Consultation between city enterprises and Regulators / Gardai
Grey areas of enterprise / Darkside of Business
After reviewing this grouping Nuala and I decided to limit the stakeholders to: a representative of big business / a representative of the Moore street markets or market trading in the city / a freerunner or a representative of urban sports.
Designing the Process
Having some experience of the methodology of more traditional qualitative interviews, I found the task of introducing new theatrical elements to the process quite difficult. While my instinct was to spend time examing the issue at hand, the kinds of information I wanted to gather, and the kinds of questions or topics which would elicit the richest responses from interviewees, here, I was concentrating on what unusual environments and activities we could introduce to the process.
We decided that we would hold our ‘Process’ in a Polish cafe/restaurant in the Moore Street Mall. This shoppping mall is a buzzing, vibrant hub of international businesses and cafes. We felt that holding our ‘Process’ in such an enterprising environment might provide fodder for discussion and thought.
We also decided the journey to the venue could be used to highlight areas of grey / black enterprise in the city and issues of regulation/ enforcement. We decided to meet our 3 participants at our office on Ormond Quay, walk to the restaurant via the boardwalk (often a venue for drug dealing /taking) and to stop at a street trader stall to buy prizes (knock -off Louis Vuitton Scarves) for a game which we would play with the participants in the cafe.
We decided that the game we would play would follow of a brief discussion of the central themes and that both Nuala and I would participate as players. After discussing the themes we would ask the participants to write a question about enterprise in the city centre. The question could be about problems related to enterprise, why certain enterprises were represented, or issues related to their own personal experience with enterprise or enterprising people in the city. We would write out our own questions by way of example. These questions would then be put in a bowl, a pen/marker spinned to select the first person to play and they would ask the question of the person to their right.
That person would answer and we would discuss the issues / ideas which arose. Then the question would be laid out on the table. Next the marker would be spun again and so on until we had asked all of the questions. Then the answer which the group liked best would be voted on and a prize given. We decided that we would have three rounds of the game, and then a period for general discussion in which we would discuss the themes/issues which had arisen and introduce some new questions if they had not been covered.
We also discussed the possibility of making table mats from laminated sheets which had headlines related to city enterprise or general themes which might be evocative.
The process was planned to last for two hours, with 20 minutes for the walk to the venue and one and a half hours for the game in the cafe.
Further review of the Process
In discussions with each other, the group, and the team leaders Nuala and I decided to narrow the theme of our process to ‘How the City Supports Enterprise’. We also decided that we would not use the laminated table mats with headlines or themes printed on them.
Kristin and Paul
In the two days before we ran our ‘Process’ we were visited by Kristin & Paul, two ex Kaos Pilots and ‘Process’ experts. Each two person team, including myself and Nuala, had an opportunity to trial parts of our process and refine it.
Kristin suggested that we would change the game and vote on the different qualities of questions rather than the answers. She also suggested that we could have a number of categories for prizes – such as most curious question , most surprising question.
This was great advice but as it had been so difficult to arrange the first games structure I was anxious as to how we would have time before the follwing afternoon to re-make our game.
I found designing a game much more difficult than I would have expected. It needs a lot of thought and plenty of trialling to ensure that it will work.