The starting point must be to recognize and understand the actors who will use, participate in or frame foresight and scenario processes and studies.
While some foresight work may be done largely as a scientific exercise in most cases foresight work has the objective of helping actors to learn about their situations in order to make better decisions for the future.
Considering actors from the start means giving attention to:
- Who are the potential users or beneficiaries of the exercise?
- How will who participates frame or shape the boundaries of what is considered and the questions asked?
- How will the legitimacy of the exercise be influenced by who participates and at what stage?
- How will the outcomes be influenced by who’s knowledge and perspectives are included or excluded?
- How might future scenarios be influenced by the way different groups of actors respond or not to changing circumstances and the actions of others (game theory)
- How do foresight outcomes need to be presented, packaged and communicated to meet users/participants needs?
Considerations in Stakeholder analysis:
- Ensuring representation from actual stakeholders or realistic proxies
- Positions of the stakeholders on the situation or the exercise of concern
- Level of influence of the stakeholders in the system of concern and the exercise
- The values and interests of the stakeholders in relation with the exercise and situation
- Building in sufficient time and facilitation in the stakeholder engagement to ensure that all views are heard
- The analysis should produce an equitable balance of advantages and disadvantages from an action in the exercise
Potential stakeholder groups to involve in the process include government institutions at different scales, planners, politicians, researchers and analysts, NGOs, the general public, schools and universities, industries and businesses, women’s groups, indigenous peoples’ groups, and the media.
Ultimately, stakeholder analysis should remain an on-going and iterative process in a foresight exercise. It is a critical tool in clarifying the social-economic, political, and cultural environment of a situation needing analysis or resolution.