Why is participation important?

Stakeholders should preferably participate in the reflexive monitoring. There are two connected reasons for this:

  • The first is that stakeholders have their own particular way of looking at the progress of a project, changes in the environment and possible connections between the two. It is useful to integrate and make use of these different impressions
  • The second reason is that stakeholders engage in a joint learning process in interactive settings. During that process they can revise their perceptions of problems and their deeper preferences and values.On this point, see also ‘About transitions'.  

It is important to remember, however, that participation is more than just providing information for a report. It also involves taking part in system or actor analyses or in reflection sessions.

Who do you involve?

First and foremost, involve those who are directly involved in carrying out the experiment. Other important target groups are managers, financiers, policymakers and other stakeholders who will play a role in the innovation. Innovators from related programmes could also be relevant for the monitoring. It might be necessary to perform a systematic analysis in order to identify all the relevant actors. See also actor and network analysis under ‘Methods'.

Ultimately, you will have to think carefully about who you choose to participate, when and for which issues. The choice should be determined in part by the long-term ambitions: which parties ought to be involved in the learning process and what do they need to learn?