Looking at the SUMP guidelines, Step 2.2.2 is connected to Phase 1 ‘Preparing well’ - Step 1 ‘Determining potential for success’ - Activity 1.6 ‘Identify key actors and stakeholders’, Step 2 ‘Step 2: Define the development process and scope of plan’ - Activity 2.3: Plan stakeholder and citizen involvement’, as well as Phase 2 – ‘Rational and transparent goal setting’ Step 4: Develop a common vision of mobility and engage citizens’ - Activity 4.2: Actively inform the public’.
Looking at the SEAP/SECAP guidelines (How to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan Guidebook part I), Chapter 4 ‘Building support from stakeholders’ deals with identification, engagement and communication with relevant stakeholders, and is consistent with Step 2.2.2.
The number of stakeholders can be very large, therefore you should first identify the various types of stakeholders that need to be involved in the harmonization process.
A good starting point is asking decision makers, the harmonization team members and other interested parties the following questions:
- Who will be affected by the success or failure of the harmonized SECAP and SUMP?
- Who will evaluate and sign off on the harmonized SECAP and SUMP when they are delivered and implemented?
- Are there any other internal or external contributors to the SECAP and SUMP whose needs must be addressed?
- Who will develop the harmonized SECAP and SUMP?
- Who will implement and manage the harmonized SECAP and SUMP?
- Who will support harmonized SECAP and SUMP?
- Is there anyone else?
After the stakeholders for the harmonization process have been identified, it is time to start recruiting the stakeholder representatives who will actively participate in the harmonization process. Of particular interest are those who will be directly involved in the harmonization activities. Before approaching any individuals to become stakeholder representatives, you should attempt to define exactly what their roles and responsibilities are.
When defining stakeholders' roles, be sure to capture the following information:
- Name: Name the stakeholder’s role.
- Brief Description: Briefly describe the stakeholder’s role and what it represents with respect to the harmonization process.
- Responsibilities: Summarize the role’s key responsibilities with regard to the harmonization process. Capture the value the role will be adding to the harmonization team.
- Involvement: Briefly describe how they will be involved.
The following questions can help you define the stakeholders' roles:
- Is every stakeholder type represented?
- Is every affected business unit and department represented?
- Who will take the responsibility for the requirements specification?
- Who will attend the usecase modelling and other requirements workshops?
- Who will provide the domain knowledge required to develop a successful solution?
- Who will be invited to participate in market research undertaken to justify and validate the product?
- Which stakeholder types are the most important?
- Who is the target group for the product under development?
There are some stakeholders that, because of their specific duties and institutional functions, may have access to data and information which may prove essential in the development and harmonization of strategic energy and mobility plans. These stakeholders should be considered as partners in operations and the exchange of information and knowledge with other parties may prove as beneficial to them.
Various techniques can be used to involve the stakeholder representatives in the harmonization process. They include the following:
Interviews are among the most useful techniques for involving stakeholders in a harmonization process. If you have a good understanding of a stakeholder’s role, you can keep the interview focused on the issues at hand.
Questionnaires are a very useful technique, particularly when a large number of stakeholder representatives are involved. Low return rates should however be considered.
Focus groups are used to collect specific feedback on specific topics Sets of stakeholder representatives are combined into a focus group to get their perspective on specific aspects of the system.
The establishment of an advisory board provides a way to collect stakeholders' perspectives without the overhead of establishing a focus group. The disadvantage compared to a focus group is that the composition of the advisory board cannot be varied according to the topic.
Workshops can provide a supportive environment to capture requirements, build teams, and develop their understanding of the system. Successful workshops require a defined agenda that is sent to participants beforehand along with any background reading material.
Reviews are formal or informal meetings organized with the specific intent to review something, be it a document or a prototype.
This is a facilitation technique that is typically used in conjunction with workshops to elicit specific information or feedback.
The choice of the technique to be implemented is very closely coupled with the definitions of the stakeholders’ roles and the availability of actual individuals to take on the responsibilities defined by the roles. There is no point in deciding that a project will have full-time ambassador users attending weekly workshops if there are no experienced stakeholders in a position to take on this level of commitment.
Methods for actively involving stakeholders:
- Ensure that the intended message is understood and the desired response achieved.
- Early consultation helps get useful information and ideas, so ask questions!
- Careful planning with experienced people, who know the issues, has significant payoff.
- Consultations help build trust with the stakeholders.
- Stakeholders can be treated as risk and opportunities that have probabilities and impact.
- Stakeholder involvement helps understand an action’s success rate
From the moment the engagement has been achieved, the harmonization team has to assume this engagement will last until the end of the harmonization process, implying regular communication and update on progress, even when the stakeholders’ participation is over. It is convenient to keep a record of all communications and activities related to stakeholders, as well as to let them see their input and opinions have been considered by providing feedback even in case their suggestions cannot be implemented.