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The Innovation Process
Activity 3.3 C

Review roles and power dynamics

This activity will help you understand how your solution will likely affect others' roles and responsibilities and related power dynamics in order to anticipate challenges.

When you are introducing a new solution to an organisation it will likely affect the roles and responsibilities of other people that you work with, as well as the power dynamics that affect how people work together, and it may even call into question the continued existence of certain roles.

Understanding who will be affected, how they might respond, and the power dynamics at play is critical for anticipating challenges and requirements for adaptation within the organisation. The exercises in this activity will help you to map the key stakeholders in your organisation and the power dynamics at play, which can be added to the ‘Organisation’ section of your Adaptation Requirements Table.

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder analysis is a particularly useful tool for assessing the potential impact of a solution on people, as well as the potential impact people will have on the solutions’ adoption in an organisation (when carrying out the exercises, you should also consider people outside of your organisation).

The purpose of this tool is to list all of the stakeholders involved and consider some of their key characteristics. We recommend using three categories of stakeholder:

  1. Primary stakeholders: People who will be directly affected by or have a direct influence on the solution (eg, enumerators would be primary stakeholders for a digital data gathering solution)
  2. Secondary stakeholders: People who are not directly affected, or do not have a direct influence on the solution (eg, children in a classroom would be affected by quality of teaching, but would not be involved in a teacher training solution)
  3. Key stakeholders: Both primary or secondary stakeholders who are significantly affected by a new solution or who can influence the impact of a new solution (using this category allows you to think about who the most important stakeholders are overall)

There are numerous stakeholder matrices that can be used as templates for this exercise, and we provide an example template below, including some key questions. Your stakeholder map should not be a static exercise; it is useful to revisit and revise it periodically, to ensure you are registering any new stakeholders, and that you are monitoring your strategies for engaging with them.

Power/Interest Grid

As well as listing and analysing your stakeholders it can also be useful to map them visually on a two-by-two Power/Interest Grid. This enables you to look at each stakeholder in terms of their power to influence changes and their level interest in changes brought about by the solution.

For example, a person with high power and high interest will have a significant influence over the adoption and adaptation of your identified solution. In such circumstances, you know you will have to manage these stakeholders closely. How you work with them will depend on their attitude to the new solution, which might range from antipathy to ambivalence to enthusiastic championing. Understanding this means that you can tailor your strategies accordingly.

Use this grid in tandem with the stakeholder matrix above to ensure a strong understanding of who will need to be part of the adoption and adaptation process, and how you need to engage each of them. Try to identify specific individuals as much as possible so that you can be targeted in your engagement activities and be sure to consider both formal and informal power. Identifying who holds that informal power, both in your organisation, and with external stakeholders is often key to achieving effective change

Force Field Analysis

Force Field Analysis is another tool that can be useful in understanding power both within your organisation and externally. This method encourages you to think beyond people, including culture, processes, systems and structures in your analysis.

Using the Force Field Analysis tool, you can analyse each factor that could have an impact on the introduction of your solution, and state whether they are a force for change (ie, they will support the new solution), or a force resisting change (ie, they will block the solution).

Once you have identified all the forces, you can score each one. Total up the scores across all the elements to determine which side has the highest score. If there is a much higher score for forces against change, you will need to review whether the introduction of this new solution will require more adaptation and change in the organisation than is feasible.