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  • A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard

  • Coloured pens

  • Sticky notes

1 hour

What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?


The stakeholder map visualises stakeholders linked to the topic of research and their position, roles, value and connections. The visual representation provides an overview that encompasses all individuals and groups that are directly or indirectly linked or involved in the research issue. It also helps to identify shared or opposing interests of the actors involved, the actors who can be beneficial to the issue, and also the ones who could be destructive.


Steps how to use this tool in practice

The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group.


Make a list of all stakeholders who are related to your research issue. These include, for example, you/your team, your customers, your delivery company, your website developer, etc. List everyone who has an influence on the issue directly or indirectly. The stakeholders are different for each organisation and research issue.


Draw two or more nested circles on a large sheet of paper, and position them on the map based on how close, important and influential they are to the organisation/company, internal stakeholders being at the core, the inner circle.  You can add outer nesting circles according to this,  the most external stakeholders being the furthest.


Take a closer look at the importance and impact, identify the interests and motivation of each stakeholder. Group together the ones that are driven by the same interest. You can use graphic symbols, colours or circle similar groups.


Visualise the relationships between the stakeholders. Use coloured pens to draw arrows and symbols. Are any of these in conflict? If so, you can illustrate by drawing crosses or sad faces. Are any of them supporting each other? Visualise this by drawing a heart or a smile.


When you have identified the relationships between your stakeholders, think about what the stakeholder map reveals to you. Are there interesting findings arising from it? For example, any gaps, overlaps, or something else? What requires attention? How can the stakeholder map give information for your research issue and help you to gain insight?

Tips and hints for using this tool

  • Stakeholder maps can also be used directly on a service or a product when it is known that a specific service or product is a subject of research.

Other tools of this phase

6 questions for gaining a comprehensive view of the issue.

6 questions.png

A visual model of the service for research.

Preliminary service blueprint.png

A map to gain insight into customers’ emotional and cognitive perceptions.

Empathy map.png

Interviewing with images to stimulate more spontaneous responses.

Image interview.png

A self-documentation method used for observation and reflection.


Interview to get a better understanding and insight of an identified problem.


Obtaining user experience information through observation.

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