iCRA expert bite #6: Selecting the right stakeholders to create impact

December 1, 2022


Are you selecting the right stakeholders to create impact? 

Professionals that aim for inclusive agribusiness development often work in a multi-stakeholder setting and help to build public-private partnerships. An important challenge they face is how to select the right stakeholders to involve.  

When important stakeholders are forgotten, the important decisions cannot be taken. When irrelevant stakeholders participate, they hinder the process, losing everybody’s time and when many stakeholders are included the process becomes too complicated.  

As a result, there is a lot of talking but no action. In the end, there is no impact, while a lot of energy and funds are spent. Also, at a personal level, you might start to feel frustrated. 

It does not have be like that! 

In our agribusiness projects, like 2SCALE, we use the ARE IN criteria to select stakeholders. We find them highly relevant because they help to include a diversity of stakeholders, who all hold a piece of the puzzle. Assuming they are able to put these pieces together, everybody gets a clearer picture of ‘the whole’ that they didn’t have before. It is our experience that having this view of the whole system helps to considering all interests, allows better decision making and creates commitment. So, by a purposeful selection of participants, you seek for a group of interdependent stakeholders who among them have:  

  • Authority: to act on their own, you want the real decision makers, not their representatives 
  • Resources: in terms of time, money, access, and influence 
  • Expertise: in the respective (social, economic, technical) topics and issues at play 
  • Information: that others need 
  • Need: people who will be affected by the outcome, the target audience

This ARE IN stakeholder selection tool helps you to create variety in stake holders and that is needed for several reasons: people with authority and resources make action more certain. Those with expertise and information make it more likely that people will do the right things. Finally, those with need contribute a reality check on unforeseen outcomes. 

How to use ARE IN criteria for stakeholder selection? 

The steps to select the right stakeholders are: 

  1. Brainstorm all possible parties with any stake in the partnership. 
  2. Crosscheck your prioritization with the ARE IN criteria. Are Authority, Resources, Expertise, Information and Need in your prioritization? Do you have the whole system in the room? 
  3. Carefully consider variety in demographics (age and gender, but also geographic location, income, race, ethnicity). 

Do you want to learn more on inclusive agribusiness partnership building, creating trust leading to sustainable business relationships? Or help to negotiate better deals? Have a look at our course Making Agribusiness Works.