Who do I involve in the implementation?

Transition projects call for careful stakeholder management, since the stakeholders are sources of help, can help expand support for the project and help to spread the risk. As with the formulation of the vision, the question is who you should involve in your activities.

It is not possible to provide a universal blueprint because every project is unique and takes place in a specific context. However, a number of general guidelines can be given.

Building a network

Build and maintain a network for innovation. Points you need to consider are:

  • Do not confine yourself to contacts from your own network. Perform an actor analysis to produce a list of the parties that are in principle relevant for the project. You can break them down into different categories. For example, the initial classification could include companies, public authorities, NGOs and research institutions. Alternatively, you could first choose a classification arranged by function: producer, supplier, customer/end user and regulator. You then analyse how the different parties could affect your experiment in a positive or negative sense. For more on this point, see Methods section.
  • Include both innovators and ‘more established' parties and both sympathetic representatives of management and executives in your network. Innovators do not conform to existing relationships or patterns, contribute innovative ideas, are often aware of other innovative projects and are clearly able to spot when the project is in danger of becoming bogged down in routines. Meanwhile, individuals in established structures are able to accurately estimate which innovations will be acceptable to the ‘regime' or when the resistance to innovation will be too great. Be sure, however, to create a balance that gives innovation a real chance.
  • Keep networking. People change jobs; new parties can show an interest if the project is a success; the project enters a new stage or social conditions change. These are all reasons why you have to keep networking all the time.

Allocating roles

Think of who there is in the wider network that could carry out the project or act, authoritative supporters with charisma in regular circles, financiers or steering group members. They will in any case include:

  • individuals who can work on the project and are also committed to the project
  • other people in the network with the position, energy and ability to mobilise support to drive the project forward, since it will certainly meet with opposition.

However, to remain effective and flexible there should not be too many people directly involved.

Finding the right balance

The ideal balance between innovators and individuals from the ‘established' order and between individuals with practical experience and policy makers changes as the process shifts from vision creation to implementation. The innovators are more important as the vision is being formulated. Later on, regime players become more important, initially in creating a place for the project within organisations and later in anchoring the innovation through further system innovation.