An innovative methodology for assessing multi-stakeholder networks
24 May 2011
In this informative blog post, Steve Waddell reflects on a recent study focusing on the effectiveness of multi-stakeholder relationships, which he describes as a notoriously under-developed field. The study was commissioned by the International Land Coalition, a multi-stakeholder network aiming to promote secure and equitable access to, and control over, land through advocacy, dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building. The blog explains the unique methodology developed by iScale (a global network that works to advance the effectiveness of social change efforts through process, methodological and technological innovations) for conducting such assessments.
Waddell notes that while the lack of comprehensive baseline data is a constraint in such studies, "the really hard part of doing an assessment is to make sure you are asking the right questions, using the right lens to look at the data, and summarizing everything in a comprehensible and comprehensive actionable way".
The methodology developed by the study team incorporated several theoretical frameworks, including Global Action Networks and Theory of Change and is described in more detail in two reports. The first report contained the full GAN analysis and a couple of dozen recommendations. The second report, for broader consumption, omitted the GAN analysis and focused on the two Figures and four Summary Recommendations that ILC should:
1. Focus more rigorously on strengthening the multi-stakeholder objective of its strategy.
2. Recognize in its priorities an opportunity to shift from creating frameworks to the implementation of such networks.
3. Be more disciplined and strategic about prioritizing, setting targets and allocating resources.
4. Consider reframing its strategic objectives as a more concise theory of change.
Waddell concludes that this approach can be usefully applied by other Global Action Networks, and is adaptable to other networks as well to provide useful strategic direction.
Diagram: An analytical framework used in the study, merging GAN and ToC methodologies
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