Identify Your Stakeholders

Now that you have crafted your design challenge, this activity will help you think about the context of your challenge — in particular, the people who impact or are impacted by your challenge.

This activity will enable you to think about whom you will want to engage more specifically during Explore, the second phase of this program, as well as whom you will want to engage more broadly throughout the whole project.

Identify and record the following groups of people:

  • Users — people who are at the center of your challenge (such as students, parents, or colleagues)
  • Stakeholders — people you should engage throughout your project due to their stake in the outcome (such as administrators)
  • Analogous contexts — people who will provide different points of view about your design challenge, especially people from outside education (such as a doctor to inspire different ways to tailor information)

This list of people will help you with subsequent activities (especially those in Explore), so be sure to record it.

Time Needed

1 hour

Stakeholder Mapping Guide

Stakeholder Mapping helps identify key people or groups of people who impact and/or are impacted by your design challenge. By understanding the different parties that are involved, you can more readily analyze stakeholder needs and develop strategies to address them.

Use the following steps to guide you.

  1. To start, post your design challenge or topic on a whiteboard or wall so your whole team can see it.
  2. Write down all the different individuals, groups, or organizations that impact or are impacted by your design challenge — with each one on a separate post-it note. Think about stakeholders within the education system, as well as outside of it.
  3. Now, there are several different frameworks you can use to map your stakeholders. Choose one (or two) from the next page that you feel fits best, or is most natural to how your team thinks. Mapping them not only allows you to synthesize their relationship to the design challenge, but it also can prompt you to think of additional stakeholders that you hadn’t considered. If that happens, place them in the map as well.
  4. Once you’ve completed the mapping, think about the stakeholders that you may want to engage at different points in the process and write down what you would like to learn from them regarding your design challenge. Keep in mind that the stakeholder map will likely evolve as you learn more about your design challenge - so keep it handy.

Stakeholder Mind-Map:
Stick the post-it notes around the design challenge, and group them according to similar interests or needs.

Stakeholder Onion Map:
Stick the post-it notes around the design challenge, with those that are closest to the challenge, or are most influential, in the center and the least further out.


Stakeholder 2x2 Map:
Using a 2x2 grid, organize your stakeholders in different matrices. Typically, the axes are Strength of Interest and Power (or Influence on Success), but you can try other factors.

Guiding questions

With each group, think about the following:

  • Value of contribution: Does this stakeholder have information or expertise that would be helpful to know or understand?
  • Influence: How much influence does this stakeholder have in the context of your design challenge and/or final solution?
  • Necessity of involvement: Does this stakeholder have the ability to derail your project if they aren't engaged during the process?

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