A crucial component of developing Integrated Transition Strategies is the engagement of a wide variety of different stakeholders. Among the challenges of including a diverse set of stakeholders in Transition Strategies is the negotiation of often conflicting goals and objectives. The way stakeholders are engaged and conflicts are handled can make a great difference as to how the negotiation is perceived. Intransparency and lack of information can be the source of early confusion, friction, and frustration. Another recurrent challenge in participatory processes is that a specific type of stakeholder (e.g. public administrations, property owners, neighbourhood organisations etc.) is not actively involved in the project.
Stakeholders generally prioritise an interest over others. Career opportunities, wealth and other personal or organisational interests are generally the strongest incentives motivating individual stakeholders, but there are also endemic interests that have to be taken into account. Stakeholders that are driven by too many interests can disrupt a project by not being clear about their objectives. In addition to systemic conflicts of interest, stakeholders bring personal or institutional friction that can stifle building constructive relationships. The diversity of perspectives and interests needs to be acknowledged and effectively channelled into a constructive dynamic. This is the starting point of the Penta-Helix Stakeholder Management.
The Penta-Helix model helps to unlock or map conflicts of interest while allowing stakeholders to understand the importance of alliances and team playing. In order to avoid friction in collaborative strategy development processes, being clear about each other's objectives is key. The Penta-Helix helps to establish what stakeholders' professional motivations are and if their personal interests will play a strong role. In a next step, "serious play" can be used to explore possible relevant alliances and relationships.
The Penta-helix tool helps to analyse a mix of stakeholders but focuses on those which have a role in change; those that may be actively involved in the project (actors) and others that are involved due to the nature of the project (interest groups) such as public authorities or neighbours.
Local authorities involved in planning processes (e.g. urbanism departments or urban renovation teams) could easily pick up this tool to improve the way they deal with the challenges of involving multiple stakeholders and conflicting interests in Transition Strategies and similar planning tools.
FACILITATORY (PUBLIC) BODIES:
strategic planning department; community development department; planning and development department; urban regeneration department
LOCAL TASK FORCE:
local or regional authority; community group; business
urban region; (sub-)urban communities
MAIN NECESSARY RESOURCES ARE:
public institutional set-up; political back-up; community trust; expert knowledge
Please get in touch with our expert contact for additional material’