The MSP guide: how to design and facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships

Publication date: 2019

THE MSP GUIDE T H E M S P G U ID E Herman Brouwer and Jim Woodhill with Minu Hemmati, Karèn Verhoosel and Simone van Vugt HOW TO DESIGN AND FACILITATE MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIPS H O W T O D E S IG N A N D FA C ILIT A T E M U LT I-S T A K E H O LD E R P A R T N E R S H IP S In recent years, multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) have become popular for tackling the complex challenges of sustainable development. This guide provides a practical framework for the design and facilitation of these collaborative processes that work across the boundaries of business, government, civil society and science. The guide links the underlying rationale for multi- stakeholder partnerships, with a clear four phase process model, a set of seven core principles, key ideas for facilitation and 60 participatory tools for analysis, planning and decision making. The guide has been written for t hose directly involved in MSPs – as a stakeholder, leader, facilitator or funder – to provide both the conceptual foundations and practical tools that underpin successful partnerships. What’s inside draws on the direct experience of staff from the Wageningen Centre of Development Innovation (WCDI), at Wageningen University & Research, in supporting MSP processes in many countries around the world. The guide also compiles the ideas and materials behind WCDI’s annual three week international course on facilitating MSPs and social learning. This work has been inspired by the motivation and passion that comes when people dare to “walk in each other’s shoes” to find new paths toward shared ambitions for the future. “ I am struck by the amount of experience and quality of insight gathered in this guide.” – Gerda Verburg, Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) “�This�guide�offers�both�practical�guidance�and�unique�insights,� providing the most comprehensive resource available on the subject.” – Lisa Dreier, Head of Food Security and Agriculture Initiatives, World Economic Forum USA THE MSP GUIDE ISBN 978-1-85339-965-7 THE MSP GUIDE ENDORSEMENTS “ .Multi-stakeholder partnerships are, although not the easiest, certainly the most effective way forward to make sure no one is left behind when taking decisions that affect us all. I am struck by the amount of experience and quality of insight gathered in this guide, which echo many situations we encounter at the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) throughout our continuing learning journey to ensure inclusive policies for zero hunger and malnutrition.” - Gerda Verburg, Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) “ .‘The MSP Guide’ is a welcome and invaluable management tool for identifying the core principles, tools and considerations needed to optimise your organisation’s approach to engagement.” - Paul Hohnen, Sustainability Strategies, Amsterdam, and Associate Fellow, Chatham House “ What I like about this manual – and I like it a lot – is the way the authors have drawn on a rich tapestry of global experience and wide range of professional disciplines to enable those who read it to tackle the innumerable challenges of collaboration with increased confidence and competence.” - Ros Tennyson, Partnership Brokers Association “ It is truly wonderful to see this Guide that draws from such deep experience and range of sources in a presentation that is comprehensive and easily accessible for those creating MSPs.” - Steve Waddell, Principal - NetworkingAction, author of Global Action Networks: Creating our future together “ Managing multi-stakeholder partnerships is both an art and a science. This guide offers both practical guidance and unique insights drawn from real experience, providing the most comprehensive resource available on the subject.” - Lisa Dreier, Head of Food Security and Agriculture Initiatives, World Economic Forum USA THE MSP GUIDE HOW TO DESIGN AND FACILITATE MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIPS Herman Brouwer and Jim Woodhill with Minu Hemmati, Karèn Verhoosel and Simone van Vugt Practical Action Publishing Ltd The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK Centre for Development Innovation, PO Box 88, 6700 AB Wageningen, The Netherlands First edition published by Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen University and Research, 2015 This edition published by Practical Action Publishing Ltd, 2016 © Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen University and Research, 2015 The right of the authors to be identified as authors of the work have been asserted under sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. This open access publication is created under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (Netherlands) license. This allows the reader to copy and redistribute, as well as to transform and rebuild on the material; but appropriate credit must be given, and an indication if the material has been transformed. For further information see https:// Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalogue record for this book has been requested from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-1-85339-965-7 Paperback ISBN 978-1-78044-669-1 Library Ebook ISBN 978-1-78044-965-4 Ebook Citation: Brouwer, Herman and Woodhill, Jim, with Hemmati, Minu, Verhoosel, Karèn and van Vugt, Simone (2016) The MSP Guide, How to design and facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships, Wageningen: Wageningen University and Research, WCDI, and Rugby, UK: Practical Action Publishing, Since 1974, Practical Action Publishing has published and disseminated books and information in support of international development work throughout the world. Practical Action Publishing is a trading name of Practical Action Publishing Ltd (Company Reg. No. 1159018), the wholly owned publishing company of Practical Action. Practical Action Publishing trades only in support of its parent charity objectives and any profits are covenanted back to Practical Action (Charity Reg. No. 247257, Group VAT Registration No. 880 9924 76). The Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (WCDI) of WUR focuses on the global challenges of secure and healthy food, sustainable markets, adaptive agriculture, ecosystem governance, and conflict and reconstruction. We link cutting edge processes of innovation and learning with WUR’s world- leading scientific and technical expertise. We work with farmers and NGOs, businesses and entrepreneurs, and governments and international organisations in many different countries to support and facilitate processes of innovation and change. Third edition, May 2019 Design: Roger Reuver and Paulien Hassink THANK YOU WCDI co-workers: Fannie de Boer, Diane Bosch, Marleen Brouwer, Jan Brouwers, Toon de Bruyn, Karen Buchanan, Alberto Giani, Femke Gordijn, Annemarie Groot Kormelinck, Joost Guijt, Karen de Hauwere, Jan Helder, Melike Hemmami, Riti Herman Mostert, Wouterleen Hijweege, Ton Hoogveldt, Annette van ’t Hull, Dieuwke Klaver, Irene Koomen, Esther Koopmanschap, Cecile Kusters, Jan van der Lee, James Mulkerrins, Cora van Oosten, Siri Pisters, Nina de Roo, Nico Rozemeijer, Mirjam Schaap, Monika Sopov, Seerp Wigboldus, Henk Zingstra Others: Noelle Aarts, WUR | Hilary Asiah | Simon Bachelor, Gamos | Karen Batjes | Domenico Dentoni, WUR | Art Dewulf, WUR | Priska Dittrich | Willem Elbers, Radboud University | Louise O. Fresco, WUR | Kathy Hurly, Canegrowers | Wijnand van IJssel, DGIS | Jouwert van Geene, The Hunger Project | Ken Giller, WUR | Christopher Gohl | Irene Guijt, Learning by Design | Kate Hamilton | Wim Hiemstra, ETC | Thea Hilhorst, KIT | Surinder Hundal, PBA | Ulrich Klins, Southern Africa Trust | Rina Kusuma, Ewen Leborgne, ILRI and KM4Dev | Cees Leeuwis, WUR | Penpen Libres | Frank Mechielsen, OxfamNovib | Thembinkosi Mhlongo, SADC | Mike Morris, WWF-UK | Jethro Pettit, IDS | Kavita Prakash-Mani, Grow Asia | Smita Premchander, Sampark | Citra Presetyawati | Bettye Pruitt, D3Associates | Rina Puspitasari | Henk Reitsema | Iñigo Retolaza | Pier Paolo Roggeri, University of Sassari | Niels Röling | Bert Ronhaar, Special Envoy of the Netherlands to Nigeria | Puvan Selvanathan, UN Global Compact | Roel Snelder, AgriProfocus | Thandokwakhe Sibiya, Canegrowers | Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge | Mark Spain, Global Learning | Kesaraporn Sreechun, Ros Tennyson, PBA | Philip Thomas, D3Associates | Jan Ubels, SNV | Steve Waddell, Networkingaction | Marieke de Wal, Partnerships Resource Centre | Arjen Wals, WUR | Hettie Walters, ICCO | Jeroen Warner, WUR | Diana Widiastuti | all AMID trainees 2011 to 2015 at Radboud University Nijmegen | all presenters and participants of WCDI Seminars related to MSP in the past decade | all MSP course participants 2003 to 2016 at WCDI WUR | THE RATIONALE FOR USING MSPs TO TACKLE COMPLEX SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGES 4 PHASES THAT GUIDE THE DESIGN OF MSP PROCESSES 7 PRINCIPLES TO FOLLOW THAT HELP MAKE MSPs SUCCESSFUL KEY IDEAS FOR EFFECTIVE FACILITATION OF MSPs 60 PARTICIPATORY TOOLS THAT ENABLE PEOPLE TO WORK TOGETHER CONSTRUCTIVELY AND CREATIVELY why what how S E C T IO N 2 S E C T IO N 3 S E C T IO N 4 S E C T IO N 5 S E C T IO N 6 THE MSP FRAMEWORK 1 INTRODUCTION 2 2 MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIPS 10 What are Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships? 12 Characteristics of an MSP 14 Different MSPs for different purposes 17 Who is involved in an MSP? 18 Designing and facilitating an MSP process 20 When is an MSP the right choice? 20 3 DESIGNING THE PROCESS 22 Process matters 24 The process model 25 Phase 1: Initiating 26 Phase 2: Adaptive planning 28 Phase 3: Collaborative action 31 Phase 4: Reflective monitoring 34 Process design in practice 36 4 SEVEN PRINCIPLES THAT MAKE MSPs EFFECTIVE 40 Principle 1: Embrace systemic change 43 Principle 2: Transform institutions 59 Principle 3: Work with power 71 Principle 4: Deal with conflict 81 Principle 5: Communicate effectively 89 Principle 6: Promote collaborative leadership 101 Principle 7: Foster participatory learning 109 5 FROM DESIGN TO PRACTICE 118 Facilitation 120 The human dimension 126 Getting organised 130 6 CHOOSING TOOLS 134 Tools for connection 140 Tools for shared language 142 Tools for divergence 144 Tools for co-creation 146 Tools for convergence 148 Tools for commitment 150 7 MSPs IN ACTION 152 A civil society perspective 154 A business platform perspective 156 A public sector perspective 158 A producer organisation’s perspective 161 A science perspective 163 8 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 166 Notes 176 References 178 Herman Brouwer (MA) is a multi-stakeholder engagement specialist working at WCDI, WUR. He advises, trains and coaches professionals across sectoral boundaries on how to contribute to sustainable development through collaboration. As an accredited PBA partnership broker, Herman is supporting local and global MSPs, mainly in food security and natural resource management. Jim Woodhill (PhD) is the former Director of WCDI at WUR and former Principal Sector Specialist for Food Security and Rural Development at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is an independent consultant on food systems, inclusive agribusiness and MSPs. Jim’s understanding of applying systems thinking and participatory learning to complex issues is gained from his experience as a process facilitator working in sustainable development across the boundaries of business, government, civil society and science. Dr. Minu Hemmati is a psychologist working independently in practice, advocacy, training and research of designing, facilitating and coaching multi-stakeholder processes for sustainability and gender justice. Minu has experience with MSPs at all levels; international policy-making on sustainable development and related issues; local and national level implementation and evaluation. Karèn Verhoosel (MA) works at WCDI, WUR as an advisor on facilitation of multi stakeholder processes, institutional change, monitoring and evaluation and capacity development. She has experience as process facilitator working in fields of integrated seed sector development (ISSD), agribusiness and food and nutrition security. Simone van Vugt (MSc) is a socio economist working at WCDI, WUR facilitating multi-stakeholder processes in value chain programmes and integrated food security and sector development programmes. Simone conducts action research and training on MSPs, and has experience with the development of Planning Monitoring & Evaluation systems within MSPs. THE AUTHORS T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 PREFACE Welcome to this guide on facilitating Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs). For more than a decade, the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (WCDI) has been running an annual three-week international course on facilitating MSPs and social learning. This course evolved from the diverse experience of WCDI staff in initiating, facilitating, and participating in multi- stakeholder partnerships in many parts of the world. Over the years, the course has been refined based on insights and feedback from hundreds of course participants. Versions of the course have also been tailor-made for numerous clients across business, government, and civil society. The guide distils this wealth of experience for a wider audience. Today’s complex and interconnected world clearly needs collaboration and partnerships between interest groups spanning the boundaries of business, government, civil society, and science. But bringing about such collaboration is no simple matter. It requires deep understanding of what enables and what stops people from working together. It requires patience, time, and commitment from leaders. However, with the right mindset, and by using the practical process steps and tools offered in this guide, much can be done to unlock people’s potential to cooperate and innovate for social and environmental good. The guide integrates practical knowledge with theoretical foundations and principles. While practical facilitation methods and tools are essential, it is even more important to be able to design processes around the underlying dynamics of human systems, power relations, conflict, and teamwork. We draw on diverse schools of thought to offer facilitators and stakeholders in partnerships a set of principles and conceptual models to help inspire creative and critical processes of change. Our approach to MSPs has strong roots in participatory development, which has become a cornerstone of effective development cooperation. Participatory development grew from participatory rural appraisal (PRA). This work pioneered the use of creative and visual methods for local communities to manage their own development. These approaches have inspired work at a larger scale, as in regional and global value chains and environmental issues. Methodological innovation in civil society, government, and the private sector has also inspired those working in ‘design thinking’ and ‘social innovation labs’. While these developments are promising, there are still many examples of missed opportunities. Poorly designed and poorly facilitated collaborative projects are common; the people involved do not always know what is needed to make them work well. We hope that this guide will help provide practical insights to make collaborative work inspiring, effective and fun. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 1 introduction Are you working to connect businesses and NGOs to create better environmental and social standards? Or are you a government policy officer needing to work with the fisheries sector and local communities to create a sustainable management plan? Is your business partnering with farmer organisations, NGOs, and an impact investor to source responsibly from small-scale farmers? Perhaps your NGO is trying to work with government and businesses to create more opportunities for youth in rural areas? Multi-stakeholder partnerships offer practical ways forward in these types of situations, and in many others. How to design, facilitate and manage these partnerships is what this book is all about. In 2015 the global community agreed to a set of Sustainable Development Goals that address the big issues facing humanity for the coming decades. They will only be achieved through strengthened multi-stakeholder partnerships, as the UN Secretary General himself recognises. It will be the collective efforts of partnerships everywhere that will make the difference. This guide is a contribution to that effort. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 IN T R O D U C T IO N government science civil society business P LA N E T PROFIT P E O P L E MSPs: collaborating to tackle the complexity of sustainable development T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 “ The issues we face are so big and the targets are so challenging that we cannot do it alone. When you look at any issue, such as food or water scarcity, it is very clear that no individual institution, government, or company can provide the solution.” “ We live in a time where the boundaries between the public, private, and civil silos are blurring and breaking down. If we are going to find solutions to poverty and injustice, it is going to be in that blurred space, not in the silo space.” “ While better methods to produce scientific and technical knowledge remain necessary, they need to be integrated with methods that produce practical wisdom to guide us in our strategies and actions in a moral, ethical, and political rather than only in a technical and instrumental sense.” “ One of the main lessons I have learned during my five years as Secretary-General is that broad partnerships are the key to solving broad challenges. When governments, the United Nations, businesses, philanthropies, and civil society work hand-in-hand, we can achieve great things.” MSPs are advocated by everyone Paul Polman CEO of Unilever Neil Keny-Guyer CEO of Mercy Corps Louise O. Fresco President of WUR Ban Ki-Moon UN Secretary General T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 IN T R O D U C T IO N The challenges of our globalised world We are living in a globalised world with a population heading towards nine billion people, putting the earth’s resources under immense pressure. Increasingly, we find that the challenges and opportunities we face are large and complex. Our actions are linked with the actions of others, our solutions are embedded in a web of interlinked interests and responses, and we cannot work alone. There is a profound need for new approaches – for innovation – in how we govern ourselves, in how we use and share resources, and in how we create harmony between people of differing wealth, culture, and religion. Creating a better world takes partnership. Increasingly, government, business, civil society, and science recognise the need to work together to tackle the challenges of the modern world and bring about change for the common good. Many of the issues we confront and the opportunities we would like to exploit are embedded in a network of changing social, economic, political, and environmental factors. And many different groups may be concerned with the same issues, but from a different perspective and with different interests. In our world of social media and interconnected economies, bringing about change depends on dialogue and alignment across different sectors in society. We need to foster relationships across these groups and help them collaborate. Although no one group can bring about change on its own, the power of one group can be enough to block the actions of others. To avoid this, we need to develop shared perspectives, new understanding, and collective commitment for action, even between groups who may at first seem to have diverging interests or be in conflict. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 Partnering for change If you want to tackle real world issues and achieve real change, you will need to work together with a range of different people and organisations with different backgrounds. This is what we mean by a ‘multi-stakeholder partnership’ (MSP). While the different actors may share a common problem or aspiration, they also have different ‘stakes’ or interests. Across the world, people are creating new coalitions, alliances, and partnerships, and many inspirational examples are emerging of what can be achieved when people mobilise to take action together. But just agreeing to work together is no guarantee of success. The way these partnerships are set up, the process taken, the capacity for leadership, and the skill of facilitation will have a strong impact on how they develop and how successful they are. Enabling people to work well together, especially if they start with very different views of the world or are in conflict, is never easy. But if you succeed you will be able to make the most of the potential for human good, innovation, and transformational change. The good news is that from experience we now know much more about how to create successful partnerships for change through multi-stakeholder collaboration. And, as successful examples gain attention, business, government, and non-governmental organisation (NGO) leaders are increasingly calling for more. This wave has been called ‘the collaboration paradigm of the 21st century’1 and a ‘stunning evolutionary change in institutional forms of governance’.2 Civil society organisations have discovered that they are more effective if they engage and collaborate.3 Citizens discover that they can change their world by finding new ways to collaborate and make demands using online tools. And business is looking to new ways that bring ‘shared value’.4 The collaborative and learning-oriented approach of MSPs is certainly not a silver bullet for every difficult situation we face. Yet, it is often surprising just how much progress can be made when you focus on the human aspects that help people cooperate, rather than remaining locked in conflict. This guide aims to: • be a backup for professionals involved in MSPs, • inspire readers to try out new approaches for facilitation, • connect to the theory that underpins MSP practice, and • point readers to practical tools that can make their MSP practice more effective and rewarding T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 IN T R O D U C T IO N Is this guide for you? This guide is for anyone interested in MSPs and how to make them more effective. It is particularly addressed to anyone responsible for setting up, leading, or facilitating an MSP – the ‘you’ of this book – but will be equally useful for those involved in commissioning, funding, or managing an MSP, and even for those who would just like to know what MSPs are about. If you are interested in combining practical steps and tools with a deeper insight into the theoretical foundations and underlying principles of MSPs, you will find the guide especially useful. And we hope it will also be a valuable resource for training in MSP and facilitation skills, as well as for use in higher education courses. The guide offers a roadmap for designing and facilitating MSPs. We have woven together real world experience with sound theoretical foundations and practical facilitation tools to provide a coherent approach for getting the best out of an MSP. This is not a recipe book; rather, it provides a broad outline. Each MSP will have its own unique dynamics requiring insight and creativity to bring out the best in people and to forge the understanding and collaborative relationships that make change possible. We have written this guide to help you bring insight and creativity to the process of your MSP. Like us, you may be familiar with MSPs that start full of energy and a spirit of optimism, but where the enthusiasm slowly but surely fades away. Some people become impatient and leave. Others start doubting that the MSP can deliver real change, or they feel unheard. Establishing an MSP doesn’t automatically lead to harmonious collaboration between the partners. You may need a lot of patience. Developing trust and understanding can be a slow and difficult process when people have opposing interests or are competing for resources, or there are deep or long-held conflicts. It may take time until all partners understand and agree on the need for shared decisions and collective action. The guide will give you ideas and strategies for working through such challenges. Our experiences of MSPs come largely from the agriculture, food and natural resource managements sectors, and the examples we use are drawn mostly from this work. However, the basic framework for MSPs that we offer is not sector specific so it will be just as relevant for working in other sectors such as health, education, governance, economic development, peace building or community development. We hope that the guide will help committed businesses, governments, NGOs, and researchers to become more effective in their efforts to achieve environmental and economic sustainability and social justice. Each of these groups will come to an MSP with different interests, values, responsibilities, technical language, communication styles, and constraints. We have tried to ensure that this guide speaks to the needs of all. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 How to use the guide The power of this guide comes from its underlying framework for understanding and facilitating MSPs. This framework links theory with practice and provides a model and set of principles to guide the design of MSPs, tips on facilitation, and a set of participatory process tools. The guide has been designed so that you can dip in at different places to find what you need, without reading cover to cover. In Section 2, we discuss MSPs in more detail, what they are, and their key characteristics. Section 3 focuses on the key elements for developing an MSP, the different phases, and designing the MSP process. Section 4 looks at seven principles that we have identified as the basis for effective MSPs, backed up by a set of conceptual models that capture key theoretical ideas and will help you to understand how MSPs can make transformative change possible. Section 5 looks at moving from design to practice – what it takes to facilitate an MSP and support partnership processes, what human dimensions need to be in place, and how you get organised. Section 6 considers the type of tools you will need at different stages of the MSP process, and gives a brief introduction to a selection of participatory tools that can be used to help stakeholders work more effectively together in building trust, exploring issues, strategising, and planning action. Section 7 offers you some stories from the frontline in the form of interviews with different stakeholders talking about their experience with MSPs. Finally, a resources section gives you links to further information on the theoretical basis of MSP practice, details of the references, and additional resources. The guide is backed up by the WCDI MSP resource portal (www.mspguide. org), where you will also find more details on the underlying theory of MSPs, additional examples and case studies, detailed descriptions of the tools, and many other resources. Finally Remember, the primary ‘tool’ at your disposal is. yourself. We assume that you have picked up this guide because you want to change something, and have realised that you will need to do this together with others. The quality of your personal leadership to drive change is more than the sum of all the tools and concepts in this guide. It is also about integrity, knowing yourself, balancing the head and the heart. This guide can help you hone your ability to become a more effective change agent. We have included reflection questions to help you on this path. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 9 IN T R O D U C T IO N Some questions this guide will help you answer: • Stakeholder identification: Who are the main stakeholders, and how do we know the right ones are involved? • Power: How can we deal with power differences? • Common goal: How can we define a common goal among diverse stakeholders? Should there be one? • Governance structure: How do we organise our collaboration and decision making? • Conflict: How do we deal with conflicts among stakeholders? • Capacity: What can we do if essential stakeholders lack the capacity to lead and deliver? • Efficiency: In which situations are MSPs not the right choice? • Tools: What tools are available for helping the MSP achieve its goals? • Facilitation: Who should facilitate an MSP: one person, a group? From within the system or an outside professional? T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 0 2 multi-stakeholder partnerships We can understand that the best way to address complex issues is for the different groups affected – the stakeholders – to work together in partnership. But what does this actually mean? Are there different types of partnership, do they have different purposes, what are their common characteristics? And what is a ‘stakeholder’? How does the process work? This section looks at how we can define multi-stakeholder partnerships or MSPs, how such partnerships work, and how we can judge whether an MSP is the best choice for our issue. aelong Underline T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 1 M U LT I-S T A K E H O L D E R P A R T N E R S H IP S Terms often used to describe multi-stakeholder partnerships Cross-sector partnership Stakeholder dialogues Global Action Network Social Learning Learning Alliance Innovation Platform System innovation Hosting Collaborative action Cross-industry collaboration Social Lab Participatory planning Multi-actor platforms Multi-stakeholder partnerships Roundtable Collective impact Knowledge co-creation Multi-stakeholder initiative Interactive Policy Making Multi-stakeholder processes Boundary spanning T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 2 What are Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships? There are many different ways for groups to work together to solve a large and complex problem, or exploit a promising new opportunity. And people use many different words to describe these types of partnerships and interactions and the processes involved, from coalitions, alliances, and platforms, to participatory governance, stakeholder engagement, and interactive policy-making. We use the term ‘multi-stakeholder partnership’ (MSP) as an overarching concept which highlights the idea that different groups can share a common problem or aspiration, while nonetheless having different interests or ‘stakes’. At WCDI, we see MSPs as a form of governance – in other words, a way in which groups of people can make decisions and take action for the collective good, be it at local, national, or international scale. A central part of our vision is the role of MSPs as a platform where stakeholders can learn together in an interactive way, where people can speak and be heard, and where everybody’s ideas can be harnessed to drive innovation and find ways forward that are more likely to be in the interests of all. MSPs range from short consultation processes through to multi-year engagements that may evolve through many phases. Some MSPs may be very structured and backed by formal organisational arrangements. Others may be much more ad hoc and fluid. Different groups will take the lead in initiating MSPs. Governments may initiate a stakeholder consultation process for assessing new policy directions. NGOs may work to bring business and government together around an environmental or social concern. Business may realise they need to partner with government and NGOs to create new market opportunities and to manage their operations in ways that create shared value and give them a ‘licence to operate’. Thousands of examples of MSPs have emerged over the last decade. Take the global food and beverage sector, where twenty-two of the world’s largest multi-national corporations have joined in partnerships with stakeholders from the public sector and civil society.5 Or the hundreds of partnerships formed by development organisations, government, and civil society following the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 and “Rio+20” of 2012.6 In Africa, Asia, and Latin America, hundreds of integrated landscape initiatives have developed in which public, civil society, and private stakeholders are collaborating to ensure that they all benefit from their landscapes.7 The table shows a range of examples of different types of MSP, spanning the range from local to global levels of collaboration. aelong Highlight aelong Highlight aelong Highlight aelong Highlight T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 3 M U LT I-S T A K E H O L D E R P A R T N E R S H IP S Name Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), worldwide. Market Access for Cattle Herders, West Kenya. http://tinyurl. com/puvg7xk Heart of Borneo, Indonesia/Malaysia/ Brunei p79ot7s Landcare, Australia no459kc Regional Dialogue Forum Airport Frankfurt, Germany ottj3z7 Participatory Budgeting in Recife, Brazil http://tinyurl. com/odbjjbx Integrated Seed Sector Development, Africa System of Rice Intensification, Cambodia http:// World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture: Grow Africa and Grow Asia pzp9q3n Textile Exchange When? 2004 – ongoing 2006 – 2009 2007– ongoing 1989 – ongoing 2000 – 2008 2001– ongoing 2009 – ongoing 2000 – 2010 2008 – ongoing 2002 – ongoing Who is involved? The seven sectors of the palm oil industry: oil palm producers, processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks/investors, and environmental/social NGOs SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, local government, local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), micro-finance NGOs Governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, WWF, NGOs A movement of farmer organisations, government, and environmental NGOs: over 4,000 local community groups Airport, regional government, citizen initiatives, environmental groups, mayors of surrounding towns, aviation group representatives, chambers of commerce, churches, and unions Local government, citizen groups, NGOs Government, farmer organisations, SMEs, inter-/national seed companies, donors, NGOs and knowledge institutes CEDAC (NGO), a movement of over 200,000 farmers, and Cornell University (CIIFAD); now adopted by the Cambodian government Alliance between agrifood businesses, government, and civil society to create a more sustainable and inclusive food system Farmers, manufacturers, brands, and retailers working with organic cotton and sustainable textile production and sales Goals To transform the palm oil industry in collaboration with the global supply chain, and put it on a sustainable path Setting up local markets to trade cattle Conserving the biodiversity of the Heart of Borneo for the benefit of the people who rely upon it through a network of protected areas, sustainable management of forests, and other sustainable land uses Combating soil salinity and erosion through sound land management practices and sustainable productivity After several years of mediation, the Forum’s task was to continue and deepen the public discourse over specific future solutions for expansion of the airport Create more citizen control over public expenditure To strengthen different seed systems in a country and support the development of a vibrant, pluralistic, and market-oriented seed sector Bring Cambodian farming families to food security by improved rice cultivation techniques Transforming the agriculture sector by simultaneously delivering food security, environmental sustainability, and economic opportunity Accelerating sustainable practices in the textile value chain in order to create material change, restore the environment, and enhance lives around the world. All of these are MSPs T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 4 Characteristics of an MSP When we talk about multi-stakeholder partnerships, we don’t mean ‘one-off’ workshops or simple multi-actor gatherings. We mean a semi- structured process that helps people to work together on a common problem over a shorter or longer time. But different individuals and groups will relate and engage with each other in different ways. In practice, MSPs will be very diverse. But a well-functioning MSP is likely to have all or most of the following characteristics:. Shared and defined ‘problem situation’ or opportunity: The stakeholders need to share a tangible concern or focus that brings them together. All groups will need to have some sense of why it is worthwhile for them to invest time and energy in the MSP. However, although stakeholders need a common concern in order to start an MSP, the real nature and focus of their concerns and what the group sees as the real problems and opportunities will only fully emerge during the process of developing the MSP. All the key stakeholders are engaged in the partnership: One of the key features of effective MSPs is that all those who have an influence on or are affected by the situation that sparked the process are involved from the start. Leaving out key groups or involving them too late can quickly undermine an MSP. But as the MSP evolves, the focus may change, meaning that new groups may need to be included and others may drop out. An effective MSP is gender aware, it ensures the voices of women and men, the young and the older are all being heard. Works across different sectors and scales: For most MSPs, the underlying causes of problems and the opportunities for solutions will be found across different disciplines; across the workings of business, government, and civil society; and across different scales from local to national, and even global. An MSP is defined more formally by WCDI as “ A process of interactive learning, empowerment and participatory governance that enables stakeholders with interconnected problems and ambitions, but often differing interests, to be collectively innovative and resilient when faced with the emerging risks, crises and opportunities of a complex and changing environment.” aelong Highlight T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 5 M U LT I-S T A K E H O L D E R P A R T N E R S H IP S Follows an agreed but dynamic process and timeframe: Stakeholders need to have some understanding of the process that they are being invited to join and how long it is going to take, before they will commit themselves to take part. But the process needs to be flexible and respond to changing needs. The process and timeframe will evolve over the course of the MSP, but at any one point in time, stakeholders need to have full information about the expected process. Involves stakeholders in establishing their expectations for a good partnership: Partnerships need to develop clear rules about how people will work together – for example, in terms of communication, decision making, leadership, and responsibilities. But these rules will only work if they are developed and agreed on by those involved. Too often in partnerships, the expectations are not discussed and agreed, which can lead to unnecessary misunderstanding and conflict. Works with power differences and conflicts: Different stakeholder groups will come to a partnership with different levels of power related to their wealth, status, political connections, knowledge, and communication abilities. If those with most power dominate and those with less power feel excluded or overpowered, the partnership is unlikely to be constructive. Likewise, if conflicts are not recognised and are left ‘under the table’ to fester, they are likely to become a destructive influence on the partnership process. Fosters stakeholder learning: The human capacity for innovation and creativity comes from our ability to learn. We can look back and analyse why things may have failed or succeeded, and we can imagine how things could be better. To learn, we have to question and challenge our beliefs and assumptions and think of alternatives. Good MSPs provide a supportive environment with interactive learning processes where people can move beyond their own fixed ideas and positions to see things differently and from the perspective of others. Balances bottom-up and top-down approaches: Perhaps, in an ideal world, everybody would be involved in all decisions all of the time. But this is simply not feasible, and societies have evolved different mechanisms for delegating decision-making. MSPs need to find a balance between working with structures and decisions that come from the top and supporting input from a wide diversity of stakeholders that comes from the bottom. Makes transformative and institutional change possible: Most of the issues and challenges we face in the world today are deep-seated. They lie in a mismatch between how the world is now and our past ideas, cultural attitudes, dominant technologies, decision-making mechanisms, and legal frameworks. ‘Business as usual’ will not help, and we need to focus on transformative change to remove underlying institutional blockages. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 6 MSPs for different purposes problem focused “What can we do together to solve this problem?” conflict focused “Let’s finally sit down and create a way forward out of this deadlock” opportunity focused “Let’s join forces and create more value for all of us” T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 7 See Section 3, Designing the process Different MSPs for different purposes What is it that drives people to work together? Is it a common problem? Is it a great opportunity or shared ambition? Is it a desire to overcome conflict and violence? Our experience suggests that any MSP will have a mix of problems, opportunities, and conflicts that shape its underlying dynamics. Some MSPs might start off with a group seeing a great opportunity, but overtime problems and conflicts emerge. Other MSPs might start with a deep conflict, but the process gradually helps people see opportunities for going beyond the sources of the conflict. Often conflict emerges when a particular group perceives that another group is either the cause of the problems they are experiencing, or a threat to their future ambitions and goals. It is tempting to try to focus your MSP on simply finding a solution to a clearly defined problem. But problem-driven processes don’t seem to unlock the creativity, inspiration, and innovation we are seeking. We have learned from experience that for MSPs to achieve deeper, transformational change, we need to start with the ambitions of stakeholders – where they would like to be in future – rather than with problems. We can use these ambitions as a starting point to search together for opportunities. Identifying and working through problems does remain a key part of the MSP process, but it is not the only focus. It is also good to keep in mind that human systems are complex, and that solving one problem all too often just creates a new one that needs resolution. Whether an MSP is framed as a problem, opportunity, or conflict also depends on the language preferred by the stakeholders who initiate the partnership. The public sector and civil society usually frame an issue as a problem or a conflict to be solved, while the private sector often prefers the more optimistic language of opportunities. One of the key tasks for an MSP facilitator is to clarify the definitions and language used by the stakeholders and to find what can be done together, even though stakeholders may not agree on the way the issue is framed. People often ask us whether MSPs for business are very different from MSPs initiated by civil society or government. In our experience, MSPs have more in common with each other than they have differences, whether a high-level UN negotiating group or a village-level consortium. This guide is based on the idea that the processes needed to support MSPs are basically similar, even though the situations in which they are being applied are different. But we shouldn’t forget that MSPs do differ in detail, and the success of your MSP will depend to a great extent on designing a fitting process for your particular situation. M U LT I-S T A K E H O L D E R P A R T N E R S H IP S T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 8 Who is involved in an MSP? Who is a stakeholder and who is an outsider in an MSP? A stakeholder is someone who can affect, or is affected by, decisions about an issue that concerns him or her. The issue needs to be carefully delineated. If very broad (‘climate change impacts all life on planet earth’), you may end up with an impractically long list of stakeholders to take into account. If too narrow (‘climate change impacts village X’), you may miss stakeholders who could be very important for finding a solution. It is really important to analyse both the issue and the stakeholders very carefully. We have worked with MSPs initiated by governments, UN bodies, the private sector, civil society, and academics. There are no limits to the type of stakeholder who might take part in an MSP. We are not only talking about formal organisations. Depending on the issue, you might consider working with traditional leaders, individual entrepreneurs, ad hoc citizen initiatives, religious leaders, and sometimes even rebel groups. The rule of thumb is always to have the whole system represented in the conversation, and to aim for a high level of diversity. Usually MSPs start with one or a few initiators who raise awareness about the issue and gather momentum among a wider stakeholder group. We call this the first circle of stakeholders. They often have the most ownership for driving the agenda of the MSP. When an MSP gets going, these stakeholders are usually represented in a secretariat or steering group. This doesn’t mean that other stakeholders are less important. The MSP needs a second circle that follows rather than leads both for legitimacy and for creating a certain reach. And remember that passive stakeholders can, over time, turn into active (first circle) stakeholders and vice versa. One of our core messages is that facilitation (‘making things easy’) plays an essential role in getting an MSP to function. By this we don’t just mean a professional facilitator who runs the whole MSP development, we mean the whole breadth of facilitating roles. The strongest MSPs have a team of people from the participating stakeholder organisations who feel responsible for facilitating whatever needs to be done. An external facilitator can be a wise investment at particular times, but the internal facilitation team is usually at the core of any success. See Section 5, From design to practice See Section 6, Choosing tools T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 1 9 The theory behind MSPs MSPs emerge because stakeholders find that they need to collaborate for change to happen. But there are deeper reasons behind the increasing need for them in the present day. These reasons become clear if you look at recent theories about governance, complex adaptive (human) systems, the human mind (cognition), and innovation. The insights from these theories are embedded throughout the guide, and especially in the principles in Section 4. The detailed theoretical foundations are beyond the scope of the guide, but we have summarised some of the main points briefly below. You can find more detailed sources in the resources (Section 8), if you want to know more. First, governance is changing. The modern world has become globalised. Economic activity and environmental and social issues don’t respect national borders, and this challenges the dominance of the nation state. Governments face issues of risk and uncertainty that they cannot address on their own. At the same time, people expect greater democracy, government is becoming more decentralised, and social media are having a huge influence on decision-making. The need for more participatory forms of governance is increasing – which is in line with the approach of MSPs. MSPs can complement the formal structures of government at local, national, or international scales. Second, human societies are ‘complex adaptive systems’. This means that change happens as a result of the combined actions of many individuals who are all interconnected in the system. Nobody is in full control, and change happens in unexpected and surprising ways. This means we must constantly adapt to new and often unforeseen circumstances. One way of improving the adaptability and resilience of such a system is to increase the efficiency of communication, which is exactly what MSPs do. The insights from systems and complexity science give a strong justification to the process of MSPs. Third, the human mind is astounding. Our cognitive processes are often represented as a simplified form of rational economic thinking and selfishness, but this is not how we operate. Humans are cooperative, creative, and emotional people – and they need to feel valued and respected. The approach to MSPs that we offer in this guide, and the tools we propose to help groups to work together, put into practice much of what we now know about human cognition. Finally, the science of governance, systems, and cognition together provides a better understanding of innovation and collaboration. Human societies are constantly innovating, coming up with new technologies and new ways of organising and managing themselves. Increasingly sophisticated and rapid forms of innovation will be needed to tackle the big issues that the world faces, such as climate change. And MSPs are an important way of enhancing innovation. M U LT I-S T A K E H O L D E R P A R T N E R S H IP S aelong Highlight aelong Underline aelong Underline aelong Underline aelong Highlight T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 0 Designing and facilitating an MSP Process No matter how straightforward it may seem, an effective MSP process doesn’t just happen – it needs to be designed.8 Design is about creating something that works well for its intended function. In the case of an MSP, this means creating processes that help stakeholder engagement to function smoothly. You will need to carefully think through, plan, implement, and review each step in the process. But we don’t mean that you simply develop a ‘grand plan’ at the beginning and keep following it. Rather, at any given moment you, and the MSP group, should think about what the whole process is trying to achieve and decide what would be the most sensible next step. The approach is described in detail in Section 3. So what does the process of an MSP look like in practice? An important part of building effective partnerships is bringing the different stakeholders together in workshops, meetings, and dialogue. Bilateral meetings between groups and individual meetings of stakeholder groups may also be useful. Other activities will range from gaining the support of leaders and influential figures, to capacity building of stakeholders, background research, logistical coordination, and communications and media support. The whole process is ‘oiled’ by facilitation. This means individuals and groups accepting responsibility for acting as convenors, moderators, and catalysts in the process. We discuss this in more detail in Section 5. When is an MSP the right choice? Developing an MSP can be a long, time-consuming, and expensive process. And participating in an MSP may tie up limited resources that are needed elsewhere. You need to think carefully before deciding that an MSP is the best way to approach your particular concern. Is an MSP the only way to address your issue? Is it the most cost-effective way? Will it lead to additional benefits that will be important for other activities? Will the reward be sufficient? Or could there be better, faster, or more efficient ways to achieve the same result? What might your constituency think when you join such an initiative? Will your organisation be co-opted? Might your company suffer damage to its Limits. • Requires time and resources to design and implement properly • Can only work if there is sufficient representation from stakeholders • Will often not deliver short-term success: patience is required • Not easy to find funding for processes that are relatively open-ended and the topics of which may evolve over time • Success is never guaranteed Advantages. • Can address a more complex issue than you can tackle alone • Partners can access complementary skills and resources from each other • Results will have broader ownership (more sustainable) • Learning and collaboration increases chance of systemic change A decision helper: pros and cons of MSPs T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 1 The business case for MSPs How an investment in community engagement by an Indonesian palm oil company generated a large return on investment. If you think that engaging your stakeholders is too costly, think again. A palm oil company suffered protests and roadblocks at their first plantation that cost an estimated $ 15 million in lost revenue. They calculated that early engagement with communities could generate a Return on Investment (ROI) of 880% for each day of disruption they could avoid. A typical 10,000-hectare plantation has a mill that processes up to 60 tonnes of fresh palm fruit bunches per hour. In the peak season, the mill runs for 22 hours per day, 6 days a week, which makes it difficult to catch up any lost days. With fruit bunches selling for $ 200 per tonne, the cost of a day of disruption would be $ 264,000. A community engagement programme costing $ 30,000 would show a return on investment (ROI) of 880% if it helped avoid a single day of disruption. The company didn’t only profit by avoiding lost revenue; it found that early engagement with the community offered many more benefits. It helped to build trust with the community and also to identify existing land ownership structures before land brokers had a chance to get involved, which can complicate matters for both the community and the company. Source: WWF (2012),9 Courtesy of Earth Security Initiative/CDC Group. See Section 4, Principle 1: Embrace sys- temic change See Chapter 3, Phase 2: Adap- tive planning M U LT I-S T A K E H O L D E R P A R T N E R S H IP S reputation? How do you know which collaboration is likely to pay off? Think carefully about why you think change will happen through collaboration. One way of doing this is by expressing your ‘Theory of Change’. This means answering the question: ‘How do we think change will happen?’ Making this explicit, with all the assumptions that are often made unconsciously, can help you decide whether an MSP is really a suitable option. As a rule of thumb, MSPs are not useful when a problem or opportunity can be tackled by a single person or organisation. They are only useful when a challenge is complex, and the results will depend on the actions and linkages between the different actors. The timing is also important. Maybe initiatives have already been started on similar issues with the same stakeholder groups, in which case you may find it better to align with these existing structures if you have access. Maybe it is too early for an MSP: you need to do more groundwork to convince others it is worth their effort, or there is still too much volatility and lack of trust for collaboration to be possible. This means you should start by raising awareness and building trust before developing the MSP. Maybe the resources are simply not available at the present time, and you need to do more work to secure funding. In this case, you might focus on more limited elements that your organisation can address alone, and plan for an MSP at a later date. There will be many situations where investing in an MSP will be the only way to achieve real success, and you will need to convince everyone concerned that the long-term benefit will more than justify the investment. But if there is a simpler way to address your problem effectively, then don’t engage in an MSP. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 2 3 designing the process The key elements for developing an MSP This section introduces a process model that you can use for designing and developing your MSP. The model outlines the main phases of an MSP and the key considerations for effective stakeholder collaboration. The model operates like a GPS: it will help you (and your partners) identify your position and the direction to take in the journey you are making with stakeholders. The success of your MSP will depend largely on your ability to design a suitable process that includes conceptualisation, planning, and continuous adjustment and redesign. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 3 D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S understanding the context developing change strategies using participatory methods and tools An evolving and adaptive multi-stakeholder partnership process T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 4 Types of MSP activities and events: options for design • Preparation and planning meetings involving those who are initiating, organising, or facilitating the MSP • Individual or small group meetings with key people whose support and influence are critical • Meetings of a steering or advisory group established to help guide and support the overall MSP process • Multi-stakeholder workshops involving various combinations of relevant stakeholders • Single-stakeholder workshops that enable a single group or sector to prepare for engaging in the MSP • Working groups that undertake specific organisational, research or communication activities • Field visits and study tours • Seminars or conferences that engage a wider audience • Media events Process matters No matter how straightforward it may seem, an effective MSP process doesn’t just happen – it needs to be designed. By design we mean consciously thinking through and planning the activities and events that are needed to achieve your desired outcomes and what is likely to work best at the particular stage and with the particular dynamics of your MSP (see box for examples of typical activities). Remember, a good design in any field is something that works well for the needs of its users in a given context. There will never be a simple recipe or blueprint; rather, you will need to follow an iterative process together with the stakeholders in which you assess the present situation, plan, implement, review, adjust, and again plan ahead. As leading social entrepreneur Liam Black1 points out: “Be strong on your mission but flexible on the details of how you get there”. Sometimes you may seem to take two steps forward and one back, often it will be necessary to experiment to find out what works. The key is to continually respond to the changing situation. There are three main areas to think about in the design 1) Understanding the context. 2) Developing a change strategy guided by the MSP principles and process model. 3) Deciding on the methodologies and tools that will be used to engage stakeholders in relationship building, analysis, planning, and collective action. Designing the activities and organising events can seem quite daunting, not least because you are likely to be facing a wide range of strategic, relational, and logistical issues, all demanding your attention. The priorities will also change over time as the MSP evolves. In this section, we outline a process model that you can use to guide you through the different steps. It will help you to locate yourself in a particular phase, and to identify and address critical questions in each phase – rather like having a GPS for process design. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 5 D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S The process model Every MSP process is unique and will follow its own path and logic, but there are common phases and process considerations. Essentially, the process model captures these in outline to give you a structure for planning and a checklist2 to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. The four main phases are iterative; you will continually revisit them as your MSP progresses. 1. Initiating • Clarify reasons for an MSP • Undertake initial situation analysis (stakeholders, issues, institutions, power and politics) • Establish interim steering body • Build stakeholder support • Establish scope and mandate • Outline the process 2. Adaptive planning • Deepen understanding and trust • Identify issues and opportunities • Generate visions for the future • Examine future scenarios • Agree on strategies for change • Identify actions and responsibilities • Communicate outcomes 3. Collaborative action • Develop detailed action plans • Secure resources and support • Develop capacities for action • Establish management structures • Manage implementation • Maintain stakeholder commitment 4. Reflective monitoring • Create a learning culture and environment • Define success criteria and indicators • Develop and implement monitoring mechanisms • Review progress and generate lessons • Use lessons for improvement reflective monitoring adaptive planning collaborative action initiating T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 6 Phase 1: Initiating MSPs start in many different ways. It can be through the inspiration of a single individual, the frustration of a conflict, as part of a government policy process, or even through an accidental ‘meeting of minds’. No matter the origin, you (and those working with you) should consider the following questions during the start-up phase. Are the reasons for starting the MSP clear? You need to be sure that the planned MSP is a viable option. Stakeholders will only be interested in and motivated to engage in the MSP if they understand why it would be useful and how it would benefit their interests. Over time, the reasons for the MSP may evolve and change, but at the start, there needs to be enough clarity to spark engagement. Have the overall dynamics of the situation been adequately explored? When you are working to get an MSP off the ground, it is essential to first understand the context. Who are the important stakeholders and what are their interests and ambitions? Who are the key leaders? What are the politics of the situation and are there overt or underlying conflicts? Who has the power to help drive or undermine the initiative? You need to know the answers to these questions in order to frame the MSP in a way that will enable initial buy-in from the stakeholders. Later, your understanding of the context will need to be deepened with all stakeholders as the process unfolds. Have respected champions been mobilised? First impressions are important! The stakeholders’ view of those initiating, organising, and/or supporting the MSP can fundamentally influence what unfolds and long-term success. The people taking a lead must be seen as legitimate and be respected for being open and fair, even if they are aligned with a particular stakeholder group. It can be very important to have respected leaders from all the different stakeholder groups showing their support for the initiative. As soon as one stakeholder group perceives the process as being hijacked by another group, legitimacy will collapse. Is there a legitimate steering group in place? In general, a group representing different interests will take responsibility for getting the process going. The way in which different stakeholder groups view the initiative will be strongly influenced by who is involved with and who is leading this group, so great care See Section 6, Tools 5, 10, 11 and 12: Stake- holder Analysis “ At first, our Uganda AgriHub organised two-day networking events in the capital, which were great for exchange and learning. But the private sector did not show up until we tried something different: full-day events with a networking cocktail late afternoon. Businesses turned up, as they considered it an efficient way to pick up the knowledge of the day and develop business contacts. And once we started organising agri-business fairs in rural areas, the private sector even started sponsoring our events. In short, find their interest – which is doing business – and they come.” - Roel Snelder AgriProFocus T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 7 D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S is needed. In some cases, an independent facilitator or organisation may take on the mobilising role, in which case they must be seen as a legitimate and neutral player open to all groups. Has stakeholder support been established? As a golden rule, the earlier people are consulted, listened to, and given a chance to contribute, the more likely they are to be supportive. You can help build stakeholder support in the early stages by holding informal bilateral discussions. You should also inform people generally about what is happening in ways that speak to their issues and interests. Involving one or two representatives from a stakeholder group can backfire if there is no feedback to the rest of the group. Pay attention in the early stages to ensuring that stakeholders develop a feeling of trust in the process. Are the mandate and scope of the MSP clear? Under what auspices or authority is the MSP being established? Is it linked to a formal government process? Is it a voluntary process by the stakeholders? Is there any legal backing? It is really important to have a clear definition of the mandate, authority, and decision-making powers of the MSP, and to communicate this clearly to all concerned. You should also be as clear as possible about the scope of the issues the MSP plans to deal with. Inevitably, this will evolve over time. However, at the start stakeholders need to have some understanding of how broad or narrow the agenda will be. Is there an outline of the process? What is expected from the different stakeholders? What meetings and activities will be held and when? What sort of time commitment will be required, by whom? Stakeholders will want to know in general, but practical, terms what the process will mean for them. They will also be interested in how final decisions will be made, and by whom. Challenges in the Initiating Phase Whom to invite, whom to leave out? Analysis or action first? What is the common concern? What if a key stakeholder has no interest? How to address these? Carry out an initial stakeholder mapping to make sure the ‘must-haves’ are on your list. Aim for 3–8 committed stakeholders from different sectors; remember that the core group should be agile and not too large at this stage. Researchers will plea for more analysis upfront, activists may want action to start straightaway. It is not an either/or decision. Early actions can create engagement and trust. Good analysis is critical but in complex systems the insights often come from testing things out. Propose action research and balance the thinking and the doing. Don’t rush! People will need time to understand the common concerns and find shared goals. Be careful of setting strategies and action plans before it is clear what you really want to achieve. Try to agree on an overarching common goal, but there is no need as yet to define the strategies on how to get there. You can also agree to disagree on the strategies. Make this explicit in your Partnership Agreement. Respect their view, but try to find out under what conditions they might consider joining. Ask permission to contact the stakeholder again in say six months to give them an update. See Section 6, Tools 5, 10, 11 and 12 See Section 5: Getting Organised T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 8 What is Theory of Change? We refer to Theory of Change as the understanding of how change happens. By articulating your ToC you can clarify how your MSP initiative can contribute to the desired change. Typically, a ToC is quite honest about assumptions that are made in the strategies chosen. Many organisations use ToC thinking as a requirement for initiatives that aim to address a complex challenge. See Phase 2: Adaptive planning Adaptive planning means developing plans based on the present situation, and adjusting them as the situation changes. Essentially it is ‘responsive’ rather than ‘prescriptive’. You can read more about the concept in the next section. Planning for your MSP involves engaging stakeholders to work out what change is needed, and exploring how to bring that change about. This is not always easy, as stakeholders may disagree on both what and how. The adaptive approach avoids cumbersome discussions about ‘the plan to be agreed on’ and uses the planning process itself to help participants agree step-by-step on what is needed. Instead of a detailed master plan, you can develop a roadmap with stakeholders that shows the end goal and proposes several complementary pathways that can help the MSP move towards that goal. Detailed choices on which pathway to use will be made later based on feedback and testing. In other words, you are building a joint Theory of Change with stakeholders as you go along (see box). Stakeholders will have different theories of change on the issue, and you will need to help the group develop a joint perspective. Be explicit about the assumptions you are making, as this will help you to ask the right questions when you review or test your theory of change. It is important to ensure that diverse stakeholders are involved at this stage representing multiple perspectives and ideas. Once the broad approach and major steps are clear, you will want to focus on more detailed planning. This may involve just a few people, rather than the whole group. For example, stakeholders may decide that it would be good to have a two-day interaction in the early stages for everyone to meet. The meeting facilitator (or a small group) will select the best tools and activities to build trust and understanding between these particular stakeholders, and then work with the organiser on the details of the arrangements. Remember that even little details – for example, how people are welcomed and how chairs are arranged – can have a large impact on the longer-term success of the MSP. See Section 4, Principle 1: Embrace sys- temic change T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 2 9 D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S You should consider the following questions during this phase: Are understanding and trust being developed between stakeholders? Before any decisions can be made or action taken around difficult issues, stakeholders need to understand each others’ views, values, perspectives, and interests. They don’t need to agree, but people need to feel understood, listened to, and respected before they will be willing to cooperate. Take time to build trust between people in the early stages of adaptive planning and don’t move too quickly to making decisions. Start with activities that help people to get to know each other. Humour and fun can be the best enablers! Have visions for the future been generated? When people disagree, it can be helpful to move to a higher level where there is a wider basis for agreement. Different stakeholder groups often share deeper values and interests in the bigger picture. Developing visions for the future is a good way of finding shared ambitions. Collaboration driven by a positive vision of the future is also more inspiring than simply solving immediate problems and complaints. You don’t need to generate a single shared vision, multiple visions of the future will help you to explore commonality and identify the potential for working together on shared ambitions and interests. Have the issues and opportunities for different stakeholder groups been identified? You need to have a good understanding of all the different issues (problems) and opportunities that different stakeholder groups see or experience. You also need to remember that stakeholder groups will identify different issues and opportunities within the group. Mapping the different perceived issues and opportunities will help stakeholders gain a much better understanding of the overall situation, and where there is commonality and where differences. Have different scenarios been examined? Quite often, people will not have thought very far into the future about the consequences of current trends and behaviours. And in a complex world, the future is impossible to predict. Scenario thinking is a good way of helping stakeholders to ask the question, “what would happen if…”. The idea is to consider a range of different possible futures. These are developed around ‘critical uncertainties’: areas where change is likely, but the nature of the change is hard to predict. For example, what are the different scenarios for a business if coffee commodity prices stay the same or become much higher? What would be the impact on agriculture of different levels of climate change? Looking at different scenarios is a great way to help stakeholders think outside the box and examine their often-unquestioned assumptions about the future. Engaging in the process can open people’s eyes to new perspectives and the concerns of other stakeholders. See Section 6, Tool 36: Scenario Planning See Section 6, Tool 41: Visioning T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 0 Have strategies for change been agreed upon? Ultimately, decisions will have to be made based on the best available understanding and analysis about what to do and what strategy to follow – otherwise nothing will change. This is where MSPs can become most difficult. You need to be careful about the timing. Too early, without enough trust building or collective analysis, and it will be difficult to reach agreement. Too late, and stakeholders may become disillusioned with the process and withdraw. You don’t need to aim for a ‘grand plan’. Your strategy could be a set of principles to follow, actions for different stakeholders to follow up on individually, or a series of experiments or pilots to test options. Develop a clear plan for monitoring and for revisiting the strategy so that it can be adapted as necessary. Have responsibilities been agreed upon? To put a strategy into practice, it must be clear who will take responsibility for what and whether they have the capacity and resources to do so. Are the outcomes of the process being shared and well communicated? It is impossible for everyone to be involved in all aspects of an MSP. Much of the detailed adaptive planning work will probably be done by a smaller representative group. You will need to make sure that the outcomes and decisions of the planning process are constantly communicated and explained to the wider stakeholder and constituency groups. If this fails, you may lose support, as the wider community may not understand why particular decisions have been taken. Challenges in the Adaptive Planning Phase Can latecomers still join? Going deeper, or going faster? Agreeing on the MSP strategy How to address these? The more the merrier - but can you manage it? Distinguish between a core group (or steering committee or carrying group) and a second ring of participants who can join but will not be involved in oversight or major decisions. Perform the ‘Influence/Importance Matrix’ exercise in Section 6 to map which stakeholders you must have on board. Prioritise the essential ones, but also look out for underrepresented stakeholders. You will notice different preferences of stakeholders for pacing the MSP. Balancing these preferences is an art, not a science. Remember that not everybody needs to do all things together, all of the time. See Section 4 for tips on this issue. Accept that it will be impossible to have all stakeholders agree on all aspects of what the MSP should do. Invest in developing a shared Theory of Change that can become a strong unifying factor for the MSP. See Section 5, Getting Organised See Section 6, Tool 12 See Section 4, Perspective 3: Balancing results and relationships T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 1 D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S See Section 4, Principle 6: Collaborative leadership See Section 4, Belbin Team Roles; and Section 6, Tool 35 See Section 5, Getting Organised Phase 3: Collaborative action It is one thing to strategise and plan, it is quite another to put the ideas into action. Not all MSPs go to the action phase. Some simply provide the agreements, directions, and policies for others to follow. But some MSPs do need to follow through on action. One of the criticisms of MSPs is that too often they don’t put ideas into practice. This is understandable as a very different level of organisation, management, and resourcing is needed to move into a phase of collaborative action. Stakeholders may also find the adaptive planning phase more exciting and interesting, and lose enthusiasm when the hard work comes along. Thinking through the collaborative action phase can make all the difference to the success of your MSP. You should consider the following questions: Have action plans been developed? Even in a highly adaptive planning process, where the overall strategy is constantly being improved, plans are needed for who is going to do what, when, and how. This is especially important in an MSP where there are many different players. Sometimes stakeholders may only realise there are problems with the overall strategy when they get down to detailed action planning. You will need an iterative process between improving and updating the overall strategy and carrying out detailed planning. Have resources and support been secured? You will generally need resources (money, time, equipment, expertise) to implement the agreed strategy. The stakeholder groups may need to commit resources, or there may be an opportunity to obtain funding from third parties. Moving from the adaptive planning to the collaborative action phase will often mean you need to mobilise support. Do stakeholders have the capacity needed to take action? Make sure that you draw capable people from diverse stakeholders and arrange teams that complement each other well. Of course, there will be gaps. At the same time, an MSP can be a great way to develop skills and capacities. In fact, we have found that the opportunity to obtain new knowledge, skills, and networks can be a key incentive for stakeholders to remain active in an MSP. This is especially true if the MSP uses participatory learning tools as part of its core activity. Are the necessary organisational structures in place? The MSP may require a more solid management structure at this stage, especially if it has been successful in mobilising resources. The management structure could be a coordination unit (hosted by a lead partner), an independent secretariat, or a backbone organisation. However, strong management structures always carry the risk that they overshadow or even compete with the other partners in the MSP, so open alliances are becoming more common. These decentralised network arrangements are designed to drive innovation through an open- ended framework, unlike an invitation-only alliance.3 It is also important at T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 2 this stage to revisit the governance structure of the MSP. Which body makes the decisions? Who are the patrons and what is their role? What legal form is appropriate? Is stakeholder commitment being maintained? Initiators of MSPs often move on. And new people come on board who may or may not have the skills to deal with the challenges of the specific phase of the MSP. This turnover is a risk, as much tacit knowledge about the MSP can disappear. The MSP core team should check regularly that participants are satisfied with their roles, sufficiently challenged, and have enough support to do their part. Include the question “Are you still happy with the role you are playing in this team?” in your annual progress review. Remember, too, that distant stakeholders also need to be kept informed in order to maintain or (re)build commitment. Make sure that plans and results are communicated to stakeholders on the fringes. Challenges in the Collaborative Action Phase Keeping motivation up when things move slow. How to avoid over-formalizing an MSP Keeping commitment from participating organisations Over reliance on a facilitator or broker How to address these? This is the phase where the MSP usually suffers from setbacks, as reality is stubborn. It might be necessary to review your overall goal and perhaps make it less ambitious. Another tactic is to identify intermediate goals and celebrate them actively when they are achieved. The best MSPs remain adaptive and agile in this mature phase. This is a challenge because of the natural tendency to formalise and structure as much as we can (especially in the public sector). Our advice is to look carefully at the content of the partnership agreement: the emphasis should be on principles in the partnership, not only on technical details of roles and responsibilities. An organisation that decided to join an MSP may allocate some budget and staff time to it - but this does not mean that decision makers are fully aware of how the MSP is progressing. Try to create packages of information that the MSP champions can take back to their organisations so they can continue to sell the MSP to their colleagues. In this guide, we suggest that you involve qualified facilitators or partnership brokers in MSPs. But if they end up dominating, there is something wrong. Any facilitator should consider their intervention as time-bound, and should build new capacities among MSP participants to transfer responsibilities as soon as can be done responsibly. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 3 Phase 4: Reflective monitoring The Reflective Monitoring phase lies at the centre of the MSP process model, embedded in the other phases. In other words, reflective monitoring is something you should do continuously in all phases. People tend to think of monitoring as something to do when it’s time to prepare a report, often at the very end of the project. But monitoring can be one of your most valuable resources – the best way to learn about what is working and what isn’t, and what you should change. Reflective monitoring is an integral part of adaptive management and is critical for building learning loops into activities. As well as the more formal monitoring – which involves research and data gathering – regular reflection moments will help participants to think about what they are doing (outcomes/result), how they are doing it (process), and how the lessons learned can be used to improve future work. These moments can also be used to reflect on the results of more formal monitoring activities. Reflection will make the planning more robust and the actions more innovative and focused. You should integrate reflection moments into your process from the earliest phase, preferably as a regular habit (weekly, monthly, half-yearly). We usually organise these reflection moments as a part of existing rhythms. For example, rather than organising a specific reflection workshop, use a few hours of the yearly planning workshop to critically reflect. See Section 4, Principle 1: Embrace sys- temic change and Section 4, Principle 7: Foster participatory learning See Section 6, Tool 56 Monitoring is also a product Performance measurement can be an important product of an MSP. Take the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), an action network of governments, civil society, and business to increase transparency in the extractives industry.4 For EITI, measuring the progress of companies towards an established goal in an objective and verifiable way is key to the initiative, and specific metrics are defined and collected. By building performance measurement tools, the MSP can make an important contribution to the field, and represents value addition. It helps set standards and shows who is doing well and who is lagging behind, and is thus another piece in the puzzle in the move towards a more sustainable industry. D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 4 Use the following questions to guide the reflective monitoring: Has a learning culture and environment been created? This means reflecting regularly on successes and failures in order to adapt the vision and actions to the situation. Typical reflection questions could include: What happened? Why? So what? Now what? Use the following guidelines to help create a learning culture: 1) Make participants feel that their ideas and suggestions are valued; 2) Consider mistakes and failures as important for learning, and not as embarrassing; 3) Ensure that implementers, including primary stakeholders, regularly and informally discuss progress, relationships, and improvements; 4) Lead by example: listen carefully to others and consciously seek solutions together; and 5) Set aside time for discussing mistakes and learning lessons during regular meetings and workshops. Have success criteria been defined? The stakeholders should first agree on what they need to know in order to take decisions. Then you can define performance or evaluation questions that focus on these key information needs. For example, ‘To what extent has our MSP influenced policy makers? Why (not)?’ Finally, you need to define indicators that will help you to answer the key questions. For example ‘Types of changes initiated by policy makers who attended advocacy meetings’. Have monitoring mechanisms been developed and implemented? In order to establish a monitoring mechanism, the MSP will need to develop a shared strategy and action plan for data collection and processing; analysis, critical reflection, and decision making; communication and reporting; capacities and conditions; incentives for monitoring and evaluation (M&E); a management information system; and financial resources. More information on how to develop monitoring systems can be found at Has progress been reviewed and evaluated and lessons identified? MSPs should be reviewed and evaluated like projects, although the methodologies might differ. You are still looking for answers to the key evaluation questions of impact, relevance, sustainability, effectiveness, and efficiency. Make sure that you have a good balance of content indicators and process indicators. Document the lessons learned according to the following format: • Theme of ‘lessons learned’ • What was our original understanding or assumption? • What is our revised understanding or assumption? • One or two examples that substantiate the new understanding • How did the project/process come to this insight? See Section 6, Tool 56: Reflection T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 5 Have the lessons learned been fed back into the strategy and implementation procedures? The lessons learned should lead to changes being made in the various aspects of your initiative, including process, structure, management, reporting, and communicating. Is the story being told of how you have adapted or are encouraging people to adapt? Has learning been fed back into the practices you are currently undertaking or planning for the future? Are you using the lessons learned to fine tune both the initiative/project, and the actual process of monitoring and evaluation? D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S Challenges in the Reflective Monitoring Phase Doing reflection activities with busy leaders and executives Who should do the monitoring? Who should do the evaluation? People don’t open up and admit what really happened How to address these? Reflection and learning are often regarded as ‘nice to haves’, rather than core business. Rather than calling it ‘reflection’ or ‘learning’, we often use words like ‘strategy review’ or ‘performance enhancement’ or ‘looking back and looking forward’. In these conversations, we can address the same questions (What happened? Why? So what? Now what?). Ideally, everybody is involved. But in reality, this role will be played by specific people in the secretariat or backbone organisation. Tip: make sure to develop management summaries of progress data so that the monitoring outcomes are discussed by the leadership, and make visuals (e.g., infographics) to communicate progress to the outside world. Learning involves creating meaning. What matters most in an MSP is the meaning that stakeholders attach to what is being achieved, rather than expert judgement or external evaluation. There is still a place for external support – for example, if results are disputed or if a donor requires it. Make sure you have a qualified evaluation team using methods that help the stakeholders utilise the learning. This displays a lack of trust. Reflection and learning can be important relationship building opportunities between organisations. But be careful: it is not acceptable to look in someone else’s kitchen and criticise the food. The first task is to work on mutual trust in the team. Consider using appreciative inquiry (AI) to emphasise the positive aspects of the MSP. See Section 6, Tool 6: Appreciative Story Telling Engage a diverse range of stakeholders, reflecting different facets of the problem. Help them connect with one another, build trusting relationships, and discover shared areas of commonality Enable participants to exchange information, expertise, and points of view in a form that benefits their indi- vidual and collective practices. Then choose a primary purpose First cover the fundamentals Shape the attitudes of key stakeholders and public by inviting leaders and decision makers to discuss your initial proposals; use their perspectives to sharpen the ideas and then use the resulting product to promote broader conversations and action. Explore new approaches and enable creative disrup- tion by reframing, reimagining, or recombining different elements and perspectives. Use these inputs to proto- type transformational new processes or services and to develop ideas for their adoptation and scaling. Anticipate potential challenges and identify new op- portunities for intervention by collecting information on how the world is evolving today and diverse perpectives about the directions that it could take in the future. Mobilise stakeholders in different parts of the system to act in a coordinated way. Help build a shared understanding of het system and the problem, develop consensus around a common vision, align strategies around it, and support one another in execution. share learning Align & act Innovate build networks Develop foresight Influence T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 6 Process design in practice MSPs can take many forms. The forms will differ from situation to situation, and may even change over time. Nevertheless, activities usually follow a similar sequence, as shown in the timeline of activities in a hypothetical MSP. In reality, timelines can vary from half a year to several years. Over the lifespan of such an MSP process, many decisions need to be made: some by a core group of initiators and facilitators, and some by all stakeholders involved. Section 5 introduces practical aspects, which can help a facilitation team to lead an MSP effectively throughout all four phases. A good MSP is clearly ‘more than just meetings’,5 but good meetings and workshops are essential to make progress and are a major component in the practice of process design. Holding good meetings is something of an art, but as a first step, you need to be clear about the purpose. The overall purpose of MSP meetings may shift over time from influencing, to innovating, developing foresight, and aligning and acting. But in all cases, they will provide learning and networking opportunities. The following flowchart from GATHER6 will help you to express the primary purpose of your MSP event. Once you have the purpose clear, you will be able to choose the appropriate process designs and tools for the meeting. Defing the purpose of your MSP meeting See Section 6: Tools T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 7 D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S Timeline of a hypothetical MSP over the course of a year Time frame in months You should prepare a clear agenda and proposed timeline for the meeting to guide stakeholder expectations, help participants to prepare, and help ensure that all the proposed topics are discussed. We give two generic outlines on the next pages to illustrate the possible flow and elements of a meeting agenda. They are taken from typical meetings facilitated by WCDI: one half-day meeting and one three-day workshop. These are not blueprints; they are provided to illustrate the logic behind meetings and some possible combinations. In practice, we actually end up fine-tuning and changing the design as we go along in almost all meetings, in response to the group dynamics and particular needs. Informal working group meets to initiate process A general concern among stakeholders Creating awareness Kick off multi- stakeholder workshop Workshops/ meetings with single stakeholder groups Multi- stakeholder workshop for situation analysis Multi- stakeholder workshop for detailed planning Multi- stakeholder workshop to agree on next steps or to wind up 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Bilateral discussions with key stakeholders Communication and media engagement Raising funds and resources for the process Capacity and perspective development by individual stakeholdergroups Organisation, coordination and facilitation by steering group Bilateral meetings with political and business leaders Inputs developed by specialist working / research groups T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 8 Notes • This meeting had a very open, explorative nature. Participants were carefully selected based on their track records on the issue (sustainable agriculture) in different sectors. We shared in advance who was coming, and asked participants to bring cases that could inspire other participants. • Much time was taken for participants to get to know each other and discuss their motives for change making rather than their formal positions. Hence the question ‘Why are we here?’ This set the tone for participants to connect on a deeper level than just talking about possible activities or ‘who fits where in this partnership’. • The outcomes of the meeting were not predefined. Yet, it was important to document, summarise, and double-check the ideas and agreements that emerged during the meeting. This process tracing is essential in explorative dialogue meetings. • During the meeting, ideas that emerged were translated into tasks that small groups could work on. This task orientation helped people to align more easily and deliver tangible outcomes. Example of a 3-day stakeholder meeting Purpose: to align different stakeholders in a new partnership, deepen participants’ understanding of the issue at hand, and co-create an agenda for future action. There are 30 participants from 8 countries. How could we improve our practice? So what could be the value of this partnership? Who are we and what are our stories? day 1 Introductions day 3 Clarifying our common interest/agenda day 3 Your wish list for the partnership day 3 From dreams to reality: next steps and follow up day 2 Ideas and experience on how to tackle the emerging issues, challenges and questions day 1 Why are we here day 1 Exploring case studies day 2 Sharing approaches, methodologies and tools we have used day 1 Emerging issues, challenges and questions T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 3 9 D E S IG N IN G T H E P R O C E S S Example of a half-day stakeholder meeting Purpose: Influencing by obtaining quality stakeholder feedback on an issue paper. Engage stakeholders for future collaboration. 40–60 participants, one afternoon session Notes • This meeting has no spectacular participatory methodology. You will find that, in formal settings, people can be unwilling to move away from traditional ways of convening, or it may be inappropriate. Still you can tweak the design to include short break-out sessions and buzz sessions with two or three participants to increase participation and sharing of perspectives. • Be clear that you cannot use such a short meeting to agree on a common goal unless the group has already done a lot of groundwork prior to the meeting. In this case, the aim was to obtain quality feedback on an idea, and hopefully increased buy-in from a range of stakeholders. • Chatham House Rule7 At a meeting held under the Chatham House Rule, anyone who comes to the meeting is free to use information from the discussion, but is not allowed to reveal who made any comment. The rule is designed to increase the openness of discussions. • Be very clear how you will document the feedback, and arrange rapporteurs and formats. Agree beforehand how you will share back to participants. Questions for designing an MSP process • Think about a meeting, conference, or workshop that you’ve attended that went really well. What was it about the design – either prior to or at the event itself – that contributed to its effectiveness? • Consider an upcoming meeting that you are planning in your MSP. Using the elements of the Process Model that we have explored in this section, what elements might you pay more attention to in your planning to help set a conversational tone and invite a greater diversity of perspectives towards the outcomes that you’re seeking? • Imagine that your MSP has no budget for organising meetings or work- shops. What could you still do to move towards your goals – without meetings? • What are some mistakes or missed opportunities in your MSP? How could you maximise learning from these mistakes? 14:20 Overview of the issue and the initiative ( intro by coordinator) 15:20 Challenges and opportunities ( plenary inventory of key points) 17:20 Wrap up, next steps ( plenary summary by chair) 14:00 Welcome and introductions ( agenda over- view, Chatham House Rule) 14:40 Discussion on issue paper ( mixed small groups) 16:40 Harvesting feedback (buzz groups of 3-5 people, paper format provided) T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 0 4 seven principles that make msps effective We have formulated seven principles that will help you to make your MSP more effective. The principles are based on our experience as well as on interaction with academics and practitioners. Each principle has a theoretical underpinning and descriptions of practical application. For each principle, there are three or four perspectives – these are conceptual models and theoretical ideas that help to explain the principle and illustrate the practical implications. The first principle is perhaps the most challenging to understand. But don’t be put off: the ideas of complexity and complex adaptive systems are important for understanding how groups respond to change, and the extent to which you can and can’t predict outcomes and plan for success. The basic concepts are introduced, but for a deeper understanding, there are many other resources available to draw on in this rapidly developing interdisciplinary field. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 1 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E principle 1 Embrace systemic change 1. Assessing the complexity of a situation 2. Soft systems methodology 3. Adaptive management 4. Four quadrants of change principle 4 Deal with conflict 1. Causes of conflict 2. Continuum of conflict 3. Interest based negotiation principle 7 Foster participatory learning 1. Experiential learning cycle 2. Learning styles 3. Single, double, triple loop learning principle 2 Transform institutions 1. Supporting and obstructing institutions 2. Systems thinking 3. Framework for institutional analysis 4. Linking institutional change principle 5 Communicate effectively 1. Dialogue 2. Non-violent communication 3. Powerful questions and active listening 4. Cultural issues and communication principle 3 Work with power 1. Types of power 2. Rank 3. Expressions of power 4. Faces of power 5. Empowerment principle 6 Promote collaborative leadership 1. Six aspects of leadership 2. Belbin Team Roles 3. Balancing results and relationships  “ Partners think that collaboration will change the world. Then it doesn’t, and they think that it failed. But often the collaboration changed something - the way some part of the system works and delivers outcomes. It is a matter of understanding the nature of change itself.” Simon Zadek* * Simon Zadek is founder of AccountAbility and visiting fellow at Global Green Growth Institute, IISD and Tsinghua School of Economics and Management in Beijing. Cited in Kupers (2014). T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 2 practical considerations what is systemic? what is change? perspectives 1. Assessing the complexity of a situation 2. Soft systems methodology 3. Adaptive management 4. Four Quadrants of Change S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 1 principle 1: Embrace systemic change Human systems are complex – which means that change is dynamic and often unpredictable. This uncertainty is a basic reality that you need to take into account when engaging in MSPs. But does it mean that nothing can be planned or known? In the following, we show that some things can be known and planned. But you have to look in the right place for knowledge about the system you are trying to influence, and you have to plan together with different stakeholders, rather than at your desk. To help you do this, we first need to introduce the concepts and language of ‘complex adaptive systems’. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 3 T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 4 Martha finally had a success: an international foundation had invited her to submit a project proposal on inclusive markets for the poor. She was director of a local NGO and had been working hard to create an alliance with business associations, producer organisations, and local government. Together, the alliance had recognised that financial risk was a critical barrier preventing farmers from linking into new market opportunities. The plan was to help drive forward local economic development supported by an innovative crop micro-insurance scheme. But as Martha started to write the funding proposal, her heart sank. The Foundation wanted lots of detail on exactly which markets would be developed, what businesses would be involved, and which farmers would benefit. It seemed like they wanted a ‘blue print’ plan upfront. This type of detail and planning might be possible if you are building schools or installing water pumps, she thought to herself – but we are dealing with the uncertainty and complexity of markets and small business. The Alliance had talked long and hard about how to stimulate the local economy and create more jobs through local enterprises, especially for youth. They realised there was no one solution, that they would need to try many different ideas, that some would work and some would fail, and that they would need to learn from this experience as they moved forward. In their analysis, the alliance had looked at the local economy as an entire system recognising the many different players and relationships. They had even drawn a ‘rich picture’ to visualise the complexity. Martha realised that the Alliance, throughout all their discussions, had developed a mindset of embracing systemic change. Clearly, the Foundation had a much more linear idea of how change happens. How could she get the Foundation on board, she thought – would they be willing to join the next planning session on the micro-insurance scheme? Martha T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 5 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 1 What do we mean by ‘systemic’? MSPs are usually about tackling challenges that are too difficult for an individual organisation to solve. These problems are called complex, difficult, or systemic. Systemic means ‘in relation to the whole system’. If we have a systemic illness, it affects our entire body. Climate change is a systemic problem because it potentially impacts all aspects of the world’s ecosystems and all of our social systems. Many challenges in sustainable development could be called systemic. In order to look at systemic problems, we need to think in terms of whole systems. So what are the basic concepts of systems thinking? Imagine yourself as a ‘system’. You exist in a wider environment of your family, community, and the physical surroundings. You have inputs – air, food, information – that enable you to function and produce outputs – movement, social engagement, heat, and so on. You have a whole set of sub-systems, such as your nervous system, your circulatory system, and your digestive system. These all interact, with outputs from one becoming inputs to another, controlled by a dense network of feedback mechanisms. The emergent property of all these subsystems working together is you and your particular personality, which is much more than just the sum of your parts. In systems thinking, we distinguish you from others and the wider environment by talking of a boundary. Systems can be relatively simple, with changes in inputs resulting in easily predictable changes in outputs – but they can also be highly complex, with a vast network of interrelationships. There is broad agreement among scientists that human societies are ‘complex adaptive’ systems. This means that they adapt and evolve in response to the combined influence of many individual agents. Nobody is in full control, and change happens in unexpected and surprising ways. This understanding has very significant implications for how to bring about social change and the role of multi- stakeholder partnerships. Systemic ≠ systematic Systemic refers to affecting the whole (eco)system. Systematic refers to being well organized or arranged according to a set of plan and or is grouped into systems. See Section 8, Complexity and resilience Challenge Simple Complicated Complex Type of change incremental reform transformation improving changing the way parts create previously performance interact in a system unimagined possibilities Focus Changing ways of Changing ways Changing ways acting and behaving of thinking of perceiving Core questions How can we do more What rules should How do I make of the same? we create? sense out of this? Learning loops Single loop Double loop Triple loop When to use For routine, When new solutions have When no ‘solution’ is predictable issues to be agreed upon apparent; to innovate and create previously unimagined possibilities Participation Current actors Stakeholders of the All interested in trying to addressing the problem currently defined system understand the system Personal role I am acting on Others are I am part of the problem, the problem the problem ‘we’ are in this together Most MSPs deal with complex and ‘messy’ problems that have a multitude of interactions between all the different players and issues involved. It is necessary to work with this complexity, to help people see the whole system, and to recognise that change will often be an unpredictable and surprising process. A systemic approach focuses on seeing the big picture, building relationships and networks, strengthening feedback mechanisms, and adapting to the unexpected. It avoids top down ‘blueprint’ approaches to planning and encourages flexible, entrepreneurial, and collaborative ways of working. There are two main ways of looking at the world around us – a reductionist way and a systems way. A reductionist approach takes things apart and breaks our understanding down into separate disciplines. Systems approaches look at how all the parts interact and what emerges from the whole system. Both approaches are needed to tackle complex problems. However, classical scientific analysis and much education has largely been reductionist. This leaves a gap in our human ability to think and act systemically. The success of MSPs hinges very much on stakeholders being able to look at their issues from a systems perspective. Adapted from Waddell, 2011 Types of Change T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 6 T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 7 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 1 What do we mean by ‘change’? We all want change for the better. What drives many of us is a desire to leave the world a better place for our children, to correct wrongs, or to protect what we hold dear. We all talk about change – but what do we know about how change happens? Significant advances have been made over recent decades in our understanding of change processes in human societies. Steve Waddell,1 for example, distinguishes three types of change: incremental, reform, and transformation. The main features of these different types are shown in the table. Transformational change is systemic – the most difficult to achieve. What sorts of challenge require systemic change? A typical example could be how to make the food and agriculture system sustainable – this was the starting point of the Sustainable Food Lab.2 Meeting this challenge requires imagining things that are not yet in place, that go beyond the reform of the current system; they are certainly not about ‘business as usual’ We emphasise systemic or transformational change because this is generally what is needed to address the concerns of an MSP. It isn’t because we have found other types of change to be less relevant. It can be very appropriate to use tried and tested methods to solve a logistical problem with, let’s say, farmer access to quality vegetable seeds. Often this type of issue can be tackled by a single organisation. But sooner or later, it becomes clear that these logistical problems are only one part of a larger system that requires innovation and new solutions: Is the lack of governance in the seed sector limiting growth? Are the seeds of today resilient enough for the impact of climate change? These are questions requiring a systemic response. Linear approaches to project management, where all factors seem knowable and controllable, won’t help you address these issues. You will need new and different methods. There is no recipe for systemic change; it emerges depending on the alignment of many circumstances – including, for example, that ordinary people keep pushing for change, often against all odds. The trick in systemic change is to recognise the relationships between the different stakeholders and circumstances, to see how these relationships can be influenced to steer the system in a desired direction. In the following, we look at four different perspectives or ways of thinking that will help you to understand systemic change and integrate it into your MSP: assessing the complexity of a situation, the soft systems methodology, adaptive management, and the four quadrants of change. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 8 Perspective 1: Assessing the complexity of a situation Before thinking about systemic change, we need to understand the idea of complexity. In everyday life, we tend to think of ‘complex’ and ‘complicated’ as being more or less the same. But we can make a clearer set of distinctions that are very useful for understanding and dealing with the level of complexity in different types of situations. Dave Snowden and his colleagues have developed a decision-making framework called the Cynefin Framework3 that distinguishes between four different types of contexts: simple,4 complicated, complex, and chaotic. In this framework, the level of complexity is related to the nature of the relationship between cause and effect. In simple contexts, there are limited interactions, which are all predictable. When you toggle a light switch, the same action produces the same result every time. Complicated contexts have many more parts and interactions, but they still operate in clear and predictable patterns. For instance, rockets are complicated assemblies of components, but the components interact in predictable ways; if you make a second rocket, it will behave in the same way as the first. Complex contexts, by contrast, have many elements with multiple feedback loops. This means that what happens as the result of an intervention or change can’t be predicted with any certainty, although the reasons for what has happened are often apparent in retrospect. The economy is a classic example; stock markets go up and down due to many interacting factors that are largely unpredictable. In the fourth chaotic context, there is simply no relationship between cause and effect. Cynefin Framework by Dave Snowden complex the relationship between cause and effect can only be perceived in retrospect probe-sense-respond emergent practice chaotic no relationship between cause and effect at systems level act-sense-respond novel practice complicated the relationship between cause and effect requires analysis, investigation and/or expert knowledge sense-analyze-respond good practice simple the relationship between cause and effect is obvious to all sense-categorize-respond best practice T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 4 9 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 1 simple Baking a cake The recipe is crucial Recipes are easily replicated Expertise is helpful but not required A good recipe produces nearly the same cake every time The best recipes give good results every time complicated Sending a rocket to the moon Rigid protocols or formulas are needed Sending one rocket increases the likelihood that the next will also be a success High levels of expertise in multiple fields are needed Key elements of each rocket must be identical to succeed There is a high degree of certainty of outcome complex Raising a child Rigid protocols have a limited application or are counter-productive Raising one child provides experience but is no guarantee of success with the next Expertise helps, but only when balanced with responsiveness to the particular child Every child is unique and must be understood as an individual Uncertainty of outcome remains The three types of problems: simple, complicated, and complex, following Westley, Zimmerman and Patton Linear planning, and much scientific analysis, is based on identifying clear cause–effect relationships and using these to predict the outcome of a design or intervention. But in complex and chaotic contexts, you can’t predict cause– effect relationships; they either cannot be assessed ahead of time or do not exist. In a complex system, behaviour emerges at the level of the system as whole; it can’t be predicted by adding together the behaviour of the individual elements. Complex systems can also change suddenly. If they are close to a tipping-point, a small change in conditions can lead to a great change in the system, as happened during the global financial crisis. Others, such as Westley, Zimmerman, and Patton5 also make distinctions between simple, complicated, and complex tasks or problems, as shown in the table. Simple problems are straightforward and can be solved by following a standard procedure. For example, you can bake a cake by following a recipe, and as long as you follow it carefully, you can be sure of success. Complicated problems involve many more parts and may require specialist knowledge and coordination, but if all the individual steps are replicated, the outcome will be predictable. Complex problems, such as raising a child have no formulas, and what worked well with one child may not work with the next. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 0 Note: even though a problem may be very complex, parts of it can be simple - for example undertaking a research survey, setting up a website, or organising a workshop. There are many things we deal with in life that are simple or complicated – but not necessarily complex. When we are building a road or bridge, we know what needs to be done, step by step, and we can make a clear plan to achieve the desired results. However, MSPs mostly involve stakeholders who are trying to tackle difficult social and institutional issues – for example, changing land tenure systems so that poor women farmers have more security and incentives to be productive. That is complex! When trying to solve complex problems, you will need to experiment with a range of interventions to see which ones work and which ones fail – and then use this knowledge for scaling up or replicating when there is success and for trying something different when there is failure. This is essentially an evolutionary approach to managing change. The key point is that, for different levels of complexity, we need to use different forms of analysis, planning, monitoring, and managing. The Cynefin Framework is a powerful framework that can help you – and all facilitators, leaders, and supporters of MSPs – to understand what you are dealing with, and why many classical linear approaches to analysis, problem solving, and planning have limitations in complex situations. Level of Complexity Simple Complicated Complex Chaotic Examples Constructing a village water supply Linking small-scale producers to markets Changing tax-incentives to favour small-scale producers Initial response to disasters Implications for interventions Can use a logframe, checklists Careful planning, multiple types of expertise, logframe Attempt many experiments; generate a lot of feedback in order to select strategies that work. Failure = learning Just act with instinct Implications for hierarchy, control, and expertise Clear command chain essential, drilling teams focus on their protocol Knowledge intensive as cause and effect not self-evident Politicians and battlefield commanders excel here: adaptive management; large pool of diverse expertise Ideal for strong personalities who like to dictate solutions as they can take absolute control WCDI, based on Snowden and Boone (2007) T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 1 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 1 Perspective 2: The soft systems methodology In order to use a systemic approach, you will first need to analyse the situation from a systems perspective. Here we draw on the soft systems methodology (SSM), developed by Peter Checkland6 in the 1980s, to outline what this means in practice. The soft systems approach is a powerful methodology for stakeholder collaboration because it focuses thinking and discussion around inter-relationships, perspectives, and boundaries:7 Inter-relationships: How do things connect with each other? What are all the elements of the system (situation) you are dealing with and how do they affect each other? What will happen in the whole system if you make changes in one part? Very often stakeholders only see their part of a situation. If you can help everyone to take a wider look, this will help create shared understanding and stimulate creative thinking about what might work better. Perspectives: What are the different ways a situation can be understood? Different stakeholders will have very different perspectives on a situation, driven in part by their own values and interests. You can use soft systems analysis to help stakeholders identify, understand, and discuss these different perspectives. You will also find that one of the critical first steps in conflict management is enabling different stakeholders to get a much deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives. Boundaries: What is ‘in’ and what is ‘out’? When we tackle human issues, we must first decide how narrow or broad the focus should be. In other words, where do we draw the boundary between what we can try to change and what sits in the wider environment and affects us but is not easy to influence? This is an important discussion that you need to hold when developing your MSP. If you make the boundary too wide, you will be dealing with so many things that success will be difficult; if you make it too small, you may not be tackling the underlying causes of the issues. The boundaries are likely to shift during the process – this is normal. The important point is to have a conscious discussion about the scope of what the MSP is trying to tackle at any one point in time. You can use SSM with stakeholders to develop systems models of what they will need to create an improved situation. For example, an MSP was used to design a new irrigation scheme in Nepal. Previously, planners had mainly focused on water delivery and engineering and had not paid any attention to improving agricultural practices or marketing. This meant that farmers didn’t get the full benefits of the water. Systems models were then created with input from all stakeholders to show the inter-relationships between the sub-systems of water supply, agricultural production, support services, management, and marketing. A more comprehensive plan was made that helped all these areas to improve and farmers to benefit fully. Rich picture displaying a wetland management situation. Actors (donors, NGO, lo- cal government, fishermen) and factors (power is- sues, overfishing, conflicts, money flows) can be recognized. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 2 Customers Who benefits and how does the issue affect them? Actors Who is involved in the situation and what roles and responsibilities do they have? Transformation What is the change or improvement that is desired? World View What is the dominant mindset that stakeholders bring to the situation? Owner Who owns the process? In other words, who has the power to make or stop things from happening? Environmental What are the environmental constraints and limitations that will impact on bringing about change? Soft systems analysis offers a number of tools to help you analyse your particular situation. Here we describe three: rich pictures, CATWOE and system diagrams. Rich picture One of the most powerful tools we use when facilitating MSPs is rich picturing, and this is a starting point for soft system analysis. It involves stakeholders working together to draw a picture of the situation they are concerned about. Stakeholders coming from different backgrounds can very quickly start to see how their concerns are connected with those of others. All stakeholders can obtain a systemic overview of the situation. People enjoy working together on a rich picture; it’s fun, creates lots of discussion, and often generates much laughter. The process itself helps people to understand each other’s perspectives and is a great way to begin the collective analysis needed at the start of an MSP. You can learn more about how to use Rich Pictures to help stakeholders get a better (shared) insight into the system they aim to influence on WCDI’s MSP portal: catwoe CATWOE stands for Customers, Actors, Transformation, Worldview, Owner, and Environment. You can use a CATWOE checklist to help get more clarity about the issue or goal of your MSP. Essentially, it helps you focus on the impact of the issue on the different people involved and the wider system. The checklist can be used to help identify the problem, to prompt thinking about what you are really trying to achieve, or to think about implementing a solution. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 3 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 1 System diagrams The soft system methodology has a specific approach for developing conceptual models of the human activity systems required to achieve a specific purpose or transformation. For example, you could ask the question: what set of human activities would be required to improve the sustainability of tea production? You use a ‘root’ definition derived from CATWOE to define the overall system, and then identify the minimum number of subsystems needed for the larger system to function. This conceptual model can then be used to generate discussion with stakeholders about what changes in the ‘real world’ would be logically desirable and politically feasible. The full SSM analysis can be very powerful, but it is also quite sophisticated, and it would be advisable to read up on the details of how to perform it. If you don’t want to go into the full detail of SSM, you can also work with stakeholders to develop a systems diagram of the different elements and relationships of a system, such as illustrated supply chain of tea.8 This shows a general picture of the dynamics at play, and even if not fully analysed can clarify the opportunities for action. It shows where you can intervene and where there might be leverage. Example system 2: System analysis of the supply chain for a cup of tea. Source: Mulgan and Leadbeater (2013, p.12), courtesy of NESTA T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 4 Perspective 3: Adaptive management You will find systems analysis to be a powerful tool to help stakeholders understand the whole situation and how their actions influence others. But the very nature of complex systems is that they often change in unpredictable and surprising ways. No amount of systems analysis will overcome this. Until now, Western and scientific thought has mainly focused on the types of phenomena defined under the Cynefin Framework as simple or complicated. This leads to a classic blueprint-type planning approach that prescribes a) careful analysis, b) specifying specific outcomes or results that will be achieved, c) developing a step-by-step action plan, and d) implementing the plan. This approach assumes that, with good analysis and good planning, we will mostly succeed. But although this is largely true for simple and complicated tasks, complex and chaotic situations are different. This means that our planning approach must be adaptive – that is, responsive to what happens. Adaptive planning uses different assumptions about change. You should assume uncertainty: that for a given situation, it just isn’t possible to predict exactly what will happen when you start intervening and making changes. You should be prepared to try out lots of different ideas to see what happens, and accept that many of these ideas will fail. You should think of failure as an integral part of the innovation and change process – the basis for new learning. The trick is to carry out regular monitoring and gain rapid feedback so that you can respond quickly and adjust the approach as necessary. The different stakeholders in the MSP represent different parts of the system; when they come together, they can share their observations of what they see changing – and whether it is good or bad for them. This is a key approach for strengthening feedback and will help you to adapt your MSP planning as the situation changes. Interested to learn more about adaptive management? Visit WCDI’s portal: T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 5 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 1 Adaptive planning in the seed sector in Ethiopia9 The seed sector in Ethiopia is complex; it involves many different stakeholders, each with their own specific role in the seed value chain. The roles include variety development, early generation seed production, seed multiplication, and seed distribution, with other stakeholders providing services such as seed quality assurance and extension. But the sector is facing many challenges in ensuring that farmers have access to quality seed. Together, core groups of regional seed sector stakeholders, with knowledge institutes as facilitators, tried to design a process to tackle key bottlenecks in the seed value chain. The process is part of Ethiopia’s Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) programme. But how do you design such a process, given the complexity of the seed sector, and how do you ensure that you work towards institutional change? Trying to put principles of adaptive management into practice, the ISSD programme chose to focus on creating space to promote partnerships and innovation, rather than focusing on predefined bottlenecks and solutions. The stakeholder platform brought together actors at different levels: the operators in the value chain (seed producers, processors, and marketers); supporters (non- governmental organisations and universities); and enablers (government agencies). This was important both for the learning process and for identifying key bottlenecks, common goals, joint interests, and mutual benefits – as well creating new partnerships. The focus on innovation led to a routine of experimentation; studies and pilots were used to find out what worked and what didn’t work in improving farmers’ access to quality seed. Promising innovations were validated and scaled up, and then anchored in the right institutions. By choosing to focus on partnerships and innovation, ISSD was able to create a space for stakeholders to start working together – even though there was no predefined result. At the beginning, no one knew which innovations would stand out as being effective and scalable, and to have the potential to be included in national policies. One of the successful innovations was direct seed marketing: an institutional change that allows farmer cooperatives to sell their quality seed directly to local markets. This was only made possible by using an MSP, and planning adaptively. Challenges analysed and prioritized Studies and pilots imple- mented Implementa- tion scaled up New policies/ ways of work- ing designed New respon- sibilities taken up New policies/ ways of work- ing endorsed New imple- mentation structures operational T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 6 Perspective 4: The Four Quadrants of Change Any change involves challenges related to the people and structures involved. You need to think about these to make sure that the change you want isn’t hindered by an aspect that you didn’t consider. The Four Quadrants of Change (4Q) model, developed by Ken Wilber,10 will help you identify and address the different aspects of change. The model divides the change into four types: Quadrant 1 deals with intention, personal identity, and ways of perceiving; Quadrant 2 with behaviour and how it is developed; Quadrant 3 with culture, beliefs, and values; and Quadrant 4 with the structures and processes of social systems. Steve Waddell11 suggests that an MSP doesn’t need to lead to action in all quadrants, but should make sure that someone – its participants or others – does have interventions in all. Lack of change in one quadrant will hold up development of the others. When you are aiming for systemic change, it is good to be aware where change begins. Does it all start with the individual choice to commit? Or do we expect that the starting point for a change of the type ‘clean water and sanitation for all’ is action on an institutional level? The four quadrants model will help you and your stakeholders to focus on four different strategies for change in human interactions. Working with these different strategies is another aspect of being systemic. In MSPs, this model raises important questions about how change happens and where to focus. The change process of Dutch development NGO ICCO Hettie Walters documented the change process in the Dutch development NGO ICCO using the Four Quadrants model12 and a process inquiry protocol developed by the Generative Change Community.13 ICCOs change involved moving from ‘funding individual partner NGOs’ to ‘working with anybody who could play a role in the challenge at hand’. This shift to a multi- stakeholder mode of operation proved to be challenging, but not impossible. Reflecting on the four quadrants, ICCO learned that it had mainly focused its efforts on the exterior side of the model (How do we relate differently to our partners? How can we affect institutional change?). It did not invest enough in the internal side of the model (How do we maintain enough motivated and committed staff? How can we shape our collective aspirations for this change process?). ICCO has taken these lessons on board for managing complex change in the future. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 7 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 1 interior 1. Spiritual-Psychological Concerned with changing one’s own sense of being. Broad change theory: It’s all a question of individual perceptions and capacity. Focus: • Deepening self-awareness • Developing one’s knowledge, skills, competencies • Describing one’s assumptions, values, mindsets, beliefs Methods: • Meditation • Personal reflection and inquiry • Personal development of mastery through courses and apprenticeships 3. Social and Cultural Concerned with collective values of fairness and justice. Broad change theory: It’s all a question of collective values and beliefs. Focus: • Collective goals and aspirations • Underlying values and beliefs • Implicit ‘rules’ and assumptions • Discourse, language Methods: • Collective goal-setting and strategy creation • Developing value statements and processes for actualization • On-going media programmes exterior 2. Inter-Personal Concerned with changing one’s own behaviours in interaction with others. Broad change theory: It’s all a question of how individuals interact. Focus: • Showing trust, respect, mutual understanding • Shifting behaviours to demonstrate interdependence • Reaching conciliation of inter-personal differences Methods: • Diversity training • Learning journeys into other people’s worlds • Group encounters/retreats for exploration • Mediation/negotiations training 4. Structural and Systemic Concerned with governance, decision- making processes and institutions. Broad change theory: It’s all a question of processes, institutions and power. Focus: • Policies, legislation • Institutions, procedures • Allocation of resources Methods: • Building political structures, agreements, frameworks, systems • New accounting/reporting/ measurement systems in d iv id u al c o ll ec ti ve Source: Steve Waddell (2011, p 106) and the Generative Change Community (2007), adapted from Wilber (2000) T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 8 Practical implications Acting systemically means aligning change processes with the way in which complex adaptive systems evolve. What does this mean for you and your MSP? • Don’t expect things to go as planned. Design processes around multiple cycles of reflection, planning, and action, so that you can adapt your plans to unexpected change. • Recognise that, in complex systems, change happens because of the actions of many different actors. Build a broad network of support and be wary of centralised and top-down approaches. • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; try out a range of options to discover what works best. • Be entrepreneurial and look for and support the emerging successes that could be triggers for fundamental, systemic change. • Expect and learn from failure. In the evolution of complex systems, there is much failure and just a few big successes that change the system. Remember: • You need to get ‘the system in the room’ by bringing different stakeholders together and supporting them to share their different perspectives. • You must carry out regular reviews and adaptation of any change strategy; the dynamics in complex systems will change quickly and are unpredictable. • MSPs do best when they allow for experimentation, prototyping, and learning. Donors should see these investments as musts, not ‘nice- to-haves’. • MSPs need to consider systemic change as something that they can contribute to, and not as something they can fully control and steer. Questions for designing and facilitating MSPs • How complex are the issues you are dealing with? Will a linear approach to planning work, or do stakeholders need to engage in a more adaptive approach to change? • What are the mindsets of the different stakeholders involved? Do they understand the difference between linear and adaptive approaches, and how could they be helped to accept and use a systemic approach? • What are the different ways in which this situation can be understood? How will this understanding affect the way in which people judge the success of the MSP? what are institutions? what do we mean by transforming? perspectives Helpful models and ideas: 1. Supporting and obstructing institutions 2. Systems thinking with the iceberg 3. Institutional analysis 4. Linking institutional change to your MSP strategy practical considerations T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 5 9 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 2 principle 2: Transform institutions When we talk about social, economic, and political change, we are really talking about changing the underlying institutions or traditions. By ‘institutions’ we mean the ‘rules of the game’, the formal and informal norms and values that shape how people think and behave. Deeply held values, established traditions, and formal frameworks can be real barriers to change, but they can also be supportive and help you to achieve your aims. MSPs need to help stakeholders look critically at the institutions – their own and those of others – that affect their work. This section is all about helping you to recognise, understand, and work with the institutions that may support or hinder the success of your MSP. There are ways to use MSPs to influence institutions to move in a desirable direction – but it takes time. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 0 When Albert returned from his field trip, his mind was buzzing with impressions of the nutrition programme. He should leave his bilateral donor office more often. All these new SMS-based health applications, public outreach through radio and mobile, new technologies for food storage. impressive! But one comment from a woman farmer still bothered him. “They can say what they want about this new variety of rice, I am never going to feed it to my family. It can’t be good.” The whole programme was built on the idea that the new variety was better, tastier, and more nutritious. It had been proven in other countries. Why was there so much resistance here? Was there something cultural they had missed? Why was it so hard to for people to see the benefits of new proven technology? What could he do to help things change? Albert What do we mean by ‘institutions’? When we talk about institutions, we don’t mean organisations; we mean the ‘rules’ that help society to function. These can be formal or informal; they can be political, legal, social, cultural, economic, or religious. In the widest sense, institutions include language, currency, marriage, property rights, taxation, education, and laws. Institutions help us know how to behave in given situations, such as driving in traffic, bargaining at a market, or attending a wedding. Institutions are critical for establishing trust in society. We put our money in a bank because we trust the institutions of the financial system to protect it. We board an airplane because we trust the institutions related to air traffic control and monitoring of aircraft maintenance to keep us safe. By definition, institutions are stable, long lasting, and resist change. Institutions can even lock societies into a particular path. Try to imagine how difficult it would be to change the convention of driving on the right or left side of the road now that it’s established. The different institutions that govern our lives are interrelated in a complex network. The rules of language make it possible for laws to be established, these laws are upheld by courts and policing systems, and we obey the laws because of a whole system of societal beliefs, values and norms. Our lives are embedded in this complex web of social institutions. We take many of them for granted, not questioning their origin or the underlying assumptions and beliefs on which they are based. Informal institutions usually evolve without conscious planning, and become embedded in our idea of ‘normal’. This means that it is much easier for us to recognise other people’s institutions than to understand our own. The ideas and attitudes can be so deeply embedded in our way of thinking that we find the idea of change very unsettling. Formal versus Informal If you have ever been to Amsterdam, you may know that traffic is regulated through traffic lights. Traffic control is a formal institution, known to everybody. But many visitors are surprised to see that cyclists often ignore these rules and happily cycle through a red light. It seems there is an informal institution at work (‘if it’s clear, you can cross’), which is different from the formal institution (‘you must always stop at red traffic lights’). S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 2 T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 1 T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 2 What do we mean by transforming? You will know from your own experience how tough it can be to change institutions. But it is likely to be an important step in achieving the aim of an MSP. We are not suggesting that MSPs can always or easily change institutions in the short term. Institutional change can take generations (think of attitudes towards the role of marriage) and often involve patient battles by many brave people. In general, institutions change slowly with incremental steps, although sometimes a new technological innovation might have a rapid impact (for example, the invention of mobile payment technology on the institution of banking). If you want your MSP to be effective, you need to understand which institutions are hindering change - even if changing them is difficult - and which are needed to support it. You will need to pay focused and sustained attention to the institutions that are most important - not try to do everything at once. Through MSPs, you have the potential to influence more institutions because you can leverage the collective power and intelligence of many stakeholders. Sometimes, a small change in an institution can have a huge effect. This is because we are working with complex adaptive systems, as explained in Principle 1. When the system is close to a tipping point, small interventions can have huge consequences. Consider the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, or the events that led up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The box gives another example in a development context. See Section 4, Principle 1: Embrace sys- temic change T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 3 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 2 Nepal: reducing land degradation by institutionalising leasehold groups* Land degradation in the hill areas of Nepal has been a huge problem since the 1990s, as more people cut down trees for firewood, leading to bare slopes, erosion, and decline of agricultural productivity. The government had tried all kinds of agro-ecological approaches to prevent forests from disappearing, and some (like community forestry) have become quite successful in stopping the decline. But how could the damaged land be repaired? Finally, someone came up with the idea of leasing the degraded forest land to poor farmers, which was taken up by the government with support from FAO and IFAD. Although poor people couldn’t buy land, having a long-term lease gave them all kinds of possibilities. This small institutional change – introducing a legal framework for leasing – was a game changer. The government granted leaseholds on the degraded forest land tax-free to eligible poor families, and provided training and some inputs. The leasehold groups were put in charge of protecting the land from grazing and fire. They could use the land for natural regeneration of forest or for agroforestry with plantations of multipurpose trees and crops. Forest coverage increased by up to 70% in ten years. And the leasehold families could now pay for schooling, health, and daily family expenses with the income from the land. This box gives an example of how a relatively small institu- tional change contributed to big impact. * See IFAD evaluations of the Nepal lease- hold forestry programme: http://tinyurl. com/on64e6k See Section 2: Designing Processes, for more on ToC Perspective 1: Enabling and constraining factors It can be hard to grasp the concept of institutions because they are so integrated in our lives that we often don’t notice them. One of the easiest ways to think about the role that institutions can play in achieving the goals of your MSP is to separate them into two types: 1. Those that will enable your MSP to reach its ultimate goal 2. Those that will hinder or constrain your MSP from reaching its ultimate goal As an example, your MSP might be concerned with providing access to clean drinking water. Start by listing all the institutions that are enablers for this goal, such as having a national legal framework and strong community solidarity. Then list all the constraining institutions, such as a culture of corruption in the public sector or women not being allowed to leave the house. Which are the most important? Try to put each list in order of priority. Your list of enablers will help you see where you can get support for your MSP goals. And your list of constraints will help you decide where you should start a process of change. Finding out which underlying institutions are playing a role will help you to develop your Theory of Change with the stakeholders. Events Patterns Structures Mental models What happend? What’s been happening? What might explain the events/patterns? How does our thinking allow this situation to persist? T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 4 Perspective 2: Systems thinking with the iceberg It can be very difficult to unpack the particular situation that your MSP is facing. You can see what is happening, but it can be really challenging to identify the different influences and institutions that led to the situation. The more formal institutions – say, laws that limit exports – can be easy to see. But why don’t people in your village trust a new product even when it works better? What led to the cyclists in Amsterdam ignoring red lights: A culture that favours cyclists? Respect for personal decision making? A culture of low enforcement by police? Many different institutions may play a role. Before you try to change the situation, you will need to have some understanding of the patterns, structures, and attitudes that created it. There are many ways of trying to analyse the situation, but one tool that people have found very useful is the ‘Iceberg’.14 This tool, developed by Reos Partners, helps us to look at how the whole system functions. The iceberg illustrates how much lies below what you directly observe. You can only see directly the part that is above the waterline – one tenth of the whole. The real mass lies below the surface. In a system, the events that you see are just one indication of the patterns that are in place. The patterns have evolved on the basis of various structures and the whole is supported by particular ways of thinking, mental models15 that exist in society and within individuals. The mental models include the norms and values of our society and social groups as we discussed at the start of this section. These ways of thinking are persistent, but they are also the most hidden part of the iceberg, we may even be unaware that they exist. The mass of the system that you don’t consciously see – the part below the surface – is what gives institutions their stability. Real transformation in MSPs doesn’t usually come because of a new event, or a change in behaviour. It happens when we can shift the mental models that gave birth to the event or behaviour. Different stakeholder groups often have different mental models, and these shape their understanding and the decisions they make. It is essential to create situations that help the stakeholders in your MSP to talk to each other and to find out where and why their thinking differs. Often stakeholders then explore their different mental models and those of others involved in the process. Once the stakeholders in the MSP understand the different mental models involved, they can think about which models are useful and which need to change, including their own. New mental models may even emerge that everyone shares. Actors and their formal and informal relationships The players of the game Policies, strategies and formal and informal agreements The rules of the game Beliefs, values, norms and frameworks for understanding How the players think the game should be played Functions and regular practices and behaviours How the players play the game meaning action association control T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 5 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 2 See Section 6: Tools Perspective 3: A framework for institutional analysis What other ways are there to analyse institutions? Institutions are linked in a complex pattern, and you may find it really difficult to understand which ones are involved, and how they are influencing your particular situation. The different perspectives described in the previous paragraphs will help, but you may need to know more. And you need to understand how the institutions interact. It is easy to find tools for stakeholder, problems and power analysis, but there is no widely accepted framework for analysing institutions.16 In many fields, whether education, market access, health, or the environment, you will be looking at a messy web of many interacting institutions, not just one. We have developed a framework17 to help you ask critical questions about the institutions affecting your situation and how they interact. The basic outline is shown graphically in the figure. The framework deliberately takes a very broad perspective. We divide the institutions into four basic domains: ‘meaning’, ‘association’, ‘control’, and ‘action’. Each has two subdivisions, which reflects the idea of including both formal and informal institutions. Formal and informal institutions are equally important, and often reinforce each other. The institutions connect with each other in different ways; together they structure our social interactions. Framework for exploring the complexity of institutions The table shows the types of institutions found in the different domains – with some examples to give you a feel for the range covered by the idea of ‘institution’. There are institutions based on ideas or meaning, institutions that are associations of people, institutions developed to regulate or control how our society functions, and institutions to do with how we act. It’s important to ask questions about the whole range of factors that may be causing the people involved in your MSP to behave in a particular way. Using the framework for institutional analysis: the example of food safety* We can illustrate some of the different types and interactions of institutions by looking at issues around food quality and safety. Consumer beliefs (‘meaning’) – perhaps about the health risks of genetically modified organisms – and buying behaviour (‘action’) help shape business strategy and government policy making (‘control’). Regulations and procedures have been developed for food quality and safety (‘control’) based on a framework for scientific understanding and research (‘meaning’). Government agencies have been formed to oversee food safety issues, and businesses have been set up for buying, selling, and processing at different points along the value chain (‘association’). Government food safety agencies are mandated to develop policies and establish rules and regulations, while the agrifood industry independently develops its own policies, standards, and rules to meet consumer demands and legal requirements (‘control’). These arrangements lead to formal types of supporting actions, such as regular monitoring of imports by a food safety authority or bar coding and tracing by agribusiness (‘action’). Some behaviours (‘action’), for example corruption or direct sales to friends, may be driven by informal customs and rules (‘control’) that disregard the formal arrangements. * Vermeulen et al (2008) T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 6 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 2 Type meaning Beliefs and values Frameworks for understanding association Organisations and networks Relationships and transactions control Mandates, policies and strategies Formal and informal rules action Functions, products and services Regular practices and behaviours Description The underlying and often deeply held assumptions on which people base decisions Language, theories, and concepts used to communicate, explain phenomena, and guide action Organisations created by government, business, and civil society The ways and means for building and maintaining relationships between individuals and among organisations The mandates given or taken by particular groups and organisations, the positions and policies they adopt and the strategies they try to follow The formal and informal rules that set the constraints for how organisations and individuals can behave in given situations The functions carried out and products and services delivered by government, private, and civil society organisations The practices and behaviours that individuals repeat in social, economic, and political life Examples • Assumptions about human nature • Beliefs about why some people are poor and others are rich • Beliefs about how much governments should intervene in markets • Business values that further corruption or social responsibility • Religious beliefs and values • Language • Economic theory • Principles of law and democratic governance • Government agencies • Industry associations, small business associations • NGO coalitions, producer organisations • Religious organisations • Markets • Global economic forum • Business lunches, alumni meetings • National constitutions • Global conventions • Government policies/ national poverty-reduction strategies • Corporate strategy for socially responsible entrepreneurship • NGO position on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) • Traffic rules and regulations • Accepted form of wedding ceremonies • Laws on treatment of employees • Environmental regulations • Tax collection and administration • Extension, health, and education services • Financial services provided by banks • Provision of infrastructure by government • Individual shopping patterns • Normal behaviour of people in markets • How people greet each other • How public servants interact with the public T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 7 T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 8 Perspective 4: Linking institutional change to your MSP strategy You cannot change institutions overnight. The rules that have developed are very persistent and may take generations to shift. Think, for example, of how long it takes to really change an institution that doesn’t support minority rights, or has gender-based discrimination woven into its fabric. But don’t be disheartened: even if an MSP cannot bring about change instantly, it can start the process and have a real impact – as long as you have analysed carefully what is happening, and target the institutions that are really driving or blocking your issue. The case in Ghana described in the box will give you an idea of an approach used by one MSP to start addressing institutional constraints. Not waiting for the elite to tell us what to do There is a lot of illegal logging taking place in Ghana, and the loss of forest is affecting people’s sense of wellbeing, as well as harming the environment. Although there are regulations, people are not following them. Ghana’s Forestry Commission and Forestry Research Institute started a multi-stakeholder dialogue to address conflict and illegality in the domestic timber market. Establishing this dialogue showed their shared commitment to adjusting the way policy was made in the forest sector. Until now, everyone had waited for central government to define the problem, develop a policy, and inform those affected – a conventional command-and-control approach. Now the organisations faced with the problems on the ground had decided to start the policy development process themselves, and then involve other stakeholders, including central government. This meant that the practitioners could define their own policy objectives, instead of the objectives being set solely by the governing elite (industry, politicians). In this way, they seriously questioned the legitimacy of the conventional rules. Until now, forest policy had been decided by the powerful and industry experts on their own; now the discussion had moved to a new space where all stakeholders could discuss at the same table. (Source: James Parker Mckeown et al 201318) T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 6 9 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 2 There are many other examples we can give of how people in MSPs have worked towards changing existing institutions. Some have focused on individual action and leadership to end a harmful practice (such as gender discrimination). Others have used technological innovation to change the accepted system. Mobile technology is a classic example. In Kenya, M-PESA was able to challenge the existing rules and regulations on financial services by inventing mobile banking. Banks had dominated the financial services for years, but now new technology, combined with a lot of stakeholder negotiation, helped to rewrite the rules of the game.19 In only 5 years, this led to 83% of the adult population in Kenya having access to mobile money,20 giving them more control over their assets and helping them transform their lives. It is important to keep in mind that institutions can support the change you want to create as well as constrain it. If you identify a supportive institution, then help it to have even more influence on people’s behaviours. If you identify a constraining institution, then focus your strategy on reducing its impact, and adjusting it in the long run. In both situations, you should discuss honestly with your stakeholders how much influence the MSP can really have. Don’t focus your energies on something that is bound to fail. In fact, most innovation happens at the fringes of a system – not at the very centre, as Achi and Garvey Berger21 argue: “We can give up the hunt for the root cause and instead look to the edges of an issue for our experiments. The system’s centre is most resistant to change, but tinkering at the periphery can deliver outsized returns”. Finally, remember that some ‘rules of the game’ will be replicated in your MSP. All stakeholders in the MSP have their own implicit values and norms, which will be brought into the dialogue. We saw a very good example when working with a group of NGOs that were trying to set up MSPs to shift the balance of power between civil society, government, and the private sector. The NGOs were very aware of power issues and understood the processes involved; this was what they were working on. But the coalition almost fell apart because of an internal power struggle between the NGO directors. They could understand how to work on issues of power with others, but didn’t recognise what was happening in their own situation. Here we helped the NGOs to reflect on their own rules of the game (gaining power at any cost so they could ensure the ‘best’ outcome) before they could start useful discussions with government and the private sector. See Principle 3: Work with power T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 0 Practical implications • Remember that there are many different types of institutions, formal and informal, on many levels. • Help stakeholders question their own ‘rules of the game’ (norms and values) and the effect they may have on the changes they want to bring about. • Bring stakeholders together to discuss and analyse critically the institutions that may enable or block the changes the MSP wants to bring about. • Recognise that changing institutions is a long-term process. Questions for designing and facilitating MSPs • Which are the key constraining institutions for your MSP? How can you change them or reduce them? • Which are the key supportive institutions? How can you build on them? Strengthen them? • What is the scope of your MSP – which institutions can you influence, which can’t you? • What other stakeholders do you need to bring on board to make the MSP work in the light of this institutional context? what is power? how can we deal with power dynamics? perspectives 1. Types of power 2. Rank 3. Expressions of power 4. Faces of power 4. Empowerment practical considerations T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 1 principle 3: Work with power Power is something we see and experience every day. We tend to notice it most when it prevents us doing something we want to do, or leads to changes that we don’t like. But power isn’t just a negative force as we sometimes think; it can also be used to bring about positive change. When you try to change something, you may find that power differences and power abuse stand in the way, and it can be important to try to influence powerful stakeholders to shift power structures in the right direction. Equally, empowering particular stakeholder groups – helping them get into a position where they can use power constructively – can be key to developing equitable multi-stakeholder change processes. Using power positively means harnessing the maximum leverage to achieve change. The following is all about what you can do to understand and influence power structures so that they work for, and not against, the goals of your MSP. S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 3 T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 2 “ Why do you think you’ll get invited to the meeting, Kelly? The door will be closed as always”. Her friend James was right: it was a bit unrealistic to think that a small NGO would be able to influence the big players in land governance. The announcement showed that three Ministries would be present, the World Bank of course, and a range of donors and their academic consultants. Yet the topic they were discussing was how land grab could be prevented, and this was precisely what Kelly’s NGO was trying to do. It helped organise people who had been thrown off their land because some high-up person had decided the land belonged to someone else. The people Kelly worked with had a stake in this issue – they were seriously affected. But how could Kelly get connected to this seemingly impenetrable stronghold?” Kelly T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 3 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 3 We define power as the ability of actors to achieve their goals. People have power of different types, from different sources, and in different spaces. Power is not an absolute, and power shifts are possible. What do we mean by ‘power’? People often think about power as something that constrains, or that others use in a coercive or dominating way. But power is also the means for achieving your goals. Power is neither inherently bad nor inherently good: what matters is how it is used, and towards what end. Power is what enables any individual or organisation to bring about change. Power structures in society can also ‘lock-in’ patterns of behaviour, ideas and beliefs, and privileges and inequalities. MSPs aim to harness the different powers of stakeholders to bring about a change that is in everyone’s interest. So, dealing with power is central to any MSP, and you need to understand power and know how to use it for change. How can we deal with power dynamics? Power, politics, institutions, and conflict are closely related. Institutional arrangements (See Principle 2 Adjusting Institutions) can lead to particular groups having particular power. Politics is the ‘game’ of using the power you have to bring about the change you would like – while protecting your interests. The use and misuse of power is often a key source of conflict. At WCDI, people often ask us about the best way to deal with power dynamics when working with multiple stakeholders. We usually answer by giving three ideas to consider: 1) Everyone has some sort of power – and change starts by becoming aware of the power involved. 2) It is not easy to redistribute power in an MSP in order to level the playing field, but there are ways you can work towards it. 3) Don’t be naive about power. If the MSP is about real and different interests, you will need to be politically adept; don’t underestimate what people will do to protect their interests. In the following, we look at five different perspectives that will help you understand power and how you can work with it in your MSP: types of power; rank; expressions of power; the hidden, visible, and invisible faces of power; and empowerment in an MSP. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 4 Perspective 1: Types of power There are many different ways of describing and categorising power. The classic study published by French and Raven in 195922 describes five forms of power, later expanded to six: • Coercive power: the use of physical violence or psychological manipulation to control what others do • Legitimate power: the formal or informal authority given to or taken by a particular individual or group; for example governments, legal systems, managers in organisations, and leadership of social groups • Reward power: the access to and control over financial and material resources; includes the ability to give rewards to others such as money, benefits, time off, gifts, and promotions • Referent power: the use of ideas, culture, religion and language to shape the way people see their world and behave (ideological), and the ability of an individual to use the power of their personality to gain a following and influence (charismatic) • Expert power: the power people derive from their skills, knowledge, and experience; only applies to the speciality area of the expert • Informational power: power resulting from the possession of knowledge that others need or want; the way in which information is used – sharing it, keeping it secret from key people, organising it, increasing it, or even falsifying it – can create a shift in power within a group Looking at these types of power, it is clear that institutions and individuals – whether in government, NGOs, businesses, or as private citizens – have access to and control over, or are excluded from, different types of power. Think about any dictatorial person you know: they are likely to use different types of power to consolidate their position. Or think about an effective manager, and how they tap into different types of power to get their team to achieve great results. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 5 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 3 See Section 6, Tool 30: Power ranking How power can shift The facilitator of a seaweed value chain in the Philippines used a stakeholder meeting to reflect on the issue of power. Less powerful stakeholders, such as the seaweed farmers, were completely surprised when the head of the provincial police spoke up saying that he felt powerless in addressing illegal fishing along the coast. The police would arrest perpetrators, but would then receive phone calls from higher up ordering their release. Corruption in the government system caused even the police to feel the limits of their power. Knowing this immediately shifted the balance in the value chain, because the seaweed farmers realized they were not the only ones being overruled and excluded. This empowered them to work proactively with the other stakeholders to negotiate better terms for their produce. Source: Hiemstra, Brouwer and van Vugt (2012) Perspective 2: Rank Another concept that can help you understand how power operates is rank, or ‘the sum of a person’s privileges’. At WCDI, we often prepare people for their roles in MSPs by reflecting on their rank. As explained by Arnold Mindell, rank describes how influential someone is in the hierarchy of a group. In other words, it is the level of an individual’s social or personal power. People derive their rank from various sources: • Situational rank: for example, position in an organisation • Social rank: for example, gender, educational level, age, race • Personal rank: for example, charismatic, insecure, avoiding conflict • Spiritual rank: for example, feeling connected to something transcendental, knowing your calling in life Interestingly, people often do not know that they have a particular rank. We tend to focus on ways of decreasing the rank of those with more power instead of focusing on ways to increase our own rank. Becoming aware of how rank affects you and others is the first step in understanding the subtle power dynamics operating among stakeholders in an MSP. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 6 Perspective 3: Expressions of power Another approach that can help you to understand how power works is to think about the four expressions of power – power over, power with, power to, and power within – which is based on the ideas in the book A New Weave of Power, People & Politics by VeneKlasen and Miller.23 The first, power over, is often thought of as the negative and coercive expression of power, with domination or control of one person, group, or institution over another. The three other expressions of power pave the way for a more positive line of thinking. The to, with, and within forms of power are sometimes called ‘agency’. People working in development programmes often try to foster these forms of power. When developing an MSP, you should try to avoid relying on power over tactics, and focus on using power to, with, and within more effectively. Perspective 4: The hidden, visible, and invisible faces of power One of the most widely used ways of analysing power in political decision making and democratic participation looks at the three faces or dimensions of visible, hidden, and invisible. The following summary, adapted from A New Weave of Power, People and Politics,24 draws on the theoretical work of Stephen Lukes and John Gaventa. • Visible power: observable decision-making. Visible power describes the formal rules, structures, authorities, institutions, and procedures of political decision-making. It also describes how those in positions of power use such procedures and structures to maintain control. Examples: elections, political parties, budget, laws Expression Power over: domination or control Power to: individual ability to act Power with: collective action, the ability to act together Power within: individual or collective sense of self- worth, value, dignity What does it mean in practice? This can be brute force or authority, but it can also be exercised by influencing what others think they can do. This is rooted in the belief that every individual has the ‘power to’ make a difference. ‘Power with’ helps build bridges across different interests, experiences and knowledge and is about bringing together resources and strategies. Enhancing the ‘power within’ of individuals builds their capacity to imagine and helps raise aspirations on change. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 7 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 3 • Hidden power: setting the political agenda. Powerful actors also maintain influence by controlling who gets to the decision-making table and what gets on the agenda. These dynamics operate on many levels, often excluding and devaluing the concerns and representation of less powerful groups. Examples: consultation processes that exclude some voices; and setting the agenda behind the scene. • Invisible power: shaping meaning and what is acceptable. Invisible power shapes the psychological and ideological boundaries of participation. Significant problems and issues are not only kept from the decision-making table, but also from the minds and consciousness of those affected. This level of power shapes people’s beliefs, sense of self, and acceptance of the status quo by influencing how individuals think about their place in the world. Processes of socialisation, culture, and ideology perpetuate exclusion and inequality by defining what is normal, acceptable, and safe. Example: negative stereotypes that limit the roles of certain groups. VeneKlasen and Miller also summarise some strategies for responding to each of these faces of power: • Responding to visible power is usually about trying to change the who, how, and what of policy-making so that the process becomes more democratic, accountable, and responsive to diverse needs. You can attempt to counter visible power by using strategies of political advocacy and seeking access to formal decision-making processes. • Responding to hidden power focuses on strengthening organisations and movements of the poor and marginalised, building collective power and leadership to redefine the political agenda, and raising the visibility and legitimacy of issues, voices, and demands that have been silenced. • Responding to invisible power focuses on re-imagining the social and political culture. By raising awareness, you can help transform the way people perceive themselves and those around them, and how they envisage future possibilities and alternatives. It is often easier to engage with visible and hidden power than with power that is embedded in cultural and social norms and practices. But if you ignore invisible power, you are likely to misread the complex ways in which change happens and to find it harder to identify the best change strategies. These three dimensions of power are not only exercised from above (power over). They can be exercised from below in the form of resistance and as expressions of power to, power with, or power within. Some citizen’s groups may be able to mobilise their own forms of hidden or invisible power as a strategy for empowerment and social change. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 8 Perspective 5: Empowerment in an MSP25 In order to help your MSP work more effectively, you may need to look at ways of empowering particular stakeholder groups so that they can contribute on an equal footing with the others. It sounds easy – empowerment by building capacity and building confidence. But in practice, it is very hard; you need a combination of creating space and keeping out of the way. The most effective approach is to design processes in which the less powerful stakeholders can do their own analysis and define their own strategies and plans, instead of having someone do it for them. This means that we first need to ask questions about the people or groups concerned with empowering others. Where do they get their power from? Why are they in the business of empowering others? Robert Chambers added a fifth expression of power to the four of power over, power with, power to, and power within – the ‘power to empower others’. He sees this as critical to development thinking and practice. And he emphasises that those with power cannot disown it, but should instead accept it quietly and focus on using their power sensitively and meaningfully to empower others. At WCDI we often come across MSPs where one stakeholder group is underrepresented, not invited, or doesn’t speak the specialist jargon well enough to engage effectively. In such cases, you may find it appropriate to organise parallel or preceding activities with this group which focus on building capacity, filling in knowledge gaps, formulating strategies, and increasing confidence, so that the group can, at a later stage, make a more meaningful and effective contribution to the MSP. We call this a ‘partisan MSP’ as it is about organising an element of the system, instead of the full system. The MSP can derive considerable benefit from aligning positions and building capacities among likeminded stakeholders before engaging the full range of stakeholders. Other participants may feel that the facilitator is ‘taking sides’ by focusing on one group, but when we explain that this will benefit the larger MSP, they usually accept the process. If some of the stakeholders are excluded or bypassed because they don’t have the capacity to engage, then the MSP may lose legitimacy. Stakeholders who are not being recognised eventually become disenfranchised, and there is a real risk that the solutions the MSP finds to the issue at hand will become unsustainable. Very importantly it is not just differences in power between stakeholder groups that need to be considered, but also power differences within. Are women able to speak up and participate in decision making? Do some individuals dominate the views of the stakeholder group? It is critical to think about all the different actors and groups and how they are able to voice their perspectives and interests in the MSP process. (For further information on gender, see KIT, AgriProFocus and IIRR (2012) and See Perspective 3: Expressions of Power T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 7 9 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 3 We also need to explore what it means to lack power. One way of doing this is to use the type of framework often used in gender analysis to learn how women and men experience power in the public, private, and intimate spaces of their lives. These realms of power are frequently ignored in power analysis, but the same framework can be used to look at the way in which different groups experience power differently. As summarised by VeneKlasen and Miller, • the public realm of power concerns your experience of public interactions in areas such as employment, livelihoods, market activities, public social spaces, and the community; • the private realm of power includes your experience of family, relationships, friends, marriage, and the household, which is often defined by social, cultural and religious norms; and • the intimate realm of power concerns personal self-esteem, confidence, dignity, the relationship to your own body, reproductive health, and sexuality. We can look at the case of a young professional woman as an example. This woman may be respected in her place of work, but lack status in her home or community. Or she may have power at home but be marginalised in the public realm. Similarly, she may feel powerful in the public or private realms, but not in the intimate realm; and her lack of power in the intimate or private realms may serve to undermine her sense of power in the public realm. Thinking about the public, private, and intimate realms of power, will help you to look at the ways in which experiences in particular spaces are shaped by, and reinforce, gender and other socially constructed norms. A person’s sense of identity and power as defined by gender, age, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality may shift from moment to moment according to the realm that they are in. This framework sheds light on personal and familial sources of power, which are often ignored – even though everyone experiences them. MSPs often call for stakeholders to leave their comfort zones and engage with other, possibly unfamiliar, stakeholders. Remember that you may need to help people feel at ease in this new realm of power, so that they can make an effective contribution to the MSP. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 0 Practical implications Power dynamics will play a central role in any MSP, and how you deal with them will influence the levels of trust, openness, and overall legitimacy of the process. This means that it is critical to un- pack the power dynamics and to seek to understand them. There are five main points you should consider when looking at the best way to deal with power plays in an MSP. • Change the power dyna- mics. Bringing about trans- formative change means that you need to tackle the underlying issues that have created power differences. This doesn’t necessarily mean a large-scale action: it could be as simple as giving small-scale farmers access to information about market prices so that they can avoid being exploited by traders. You need to understand the changes the MSP is trying to enable in terms of shifting power relations and in terms of the power needed to cre- ate change. • Harness the power that you have. MSPs need to harness the power that the partici- pating stakeholders have and direct it effectively. For this, you need to understand who has what power, and how this power can be used stra- tegically and coherently to support the desired change. • Manage the inevitable power plays. You need to man- age power plays in an MSP in a way that preserves the legitimacy of the process. If people have genuinely dif- ferent interests, and no one wants to compromise, con- flict can become dominant and block the change the MSP is trying to achieve. Be careful that powerful groups don’t capture the MSP and further disadvantage already disempowered stakeholders. • Allow for prior work with less influential stakeholders. You may need to work with less influential stakeholder groups and individuals (‘par- tisan’ stakeholder processes) to build their sense of em- powerment before they can participate meaningfully and take part in a dialogue with those who normally have power over them. Similarly, you may need to work with more privileged groups to build their willingness to share and delegate power, to help ensure that they can make a constructive contri- bution to the process. • Language matters when dis- cussing power. Stakeholders who have a lot of power in an MSP usually don’t like to talk about power because they fear losing it. But stakehold- ers who lack power often want to put it on the agenda. Putting power on the agenda doesn’t usually help to im- prove the power balance. It can be better not to use the word power – even when it is the elephant in the room. Try using different words (like talking about politics or each person’s unique contribu- tion) and choose appropriate timing – wait until initial trust has been built. This will help you to guide a construc- tive conversation about power. Questions for designing and facilitating MSPs • What kinds of power do you use and rely on in different relationships in your life? • What kinds of power do oth- ers use over or with you? • What forms of power play a role in the change your MSP is trying to bring about? How can the MSP best influence these power dynamics? • What types of power do the different stakeholders bring into your MSP? How can these powers be harnessed and used? • Do the powers and influence of particular stakeholder groups mean that their interests and views could dominate the process? How can you help create more equity? • How can you strengthen the power of marginalised or disadvantaged groups so that they can be better represent- ed in the process and play a more effective role? What is power? How can we deal with power dynamics? Perspectives 1. Types of power 2. Rank 3. Expressions of power 4. Faces of power 5. Empowerment Practical implications what is conflict? what does ‘dealing with’ mean? perspectives 1. Causes of conflict 2. Continuum of conflict 3. Interest-based negotiation practical considerations T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 1 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 4 principle 4: Deal with conflict Conflict is an inevitable and normal part of any multi-stakeholder process. We talk about conflict when parties or individuals have genuinely different interests and struggle over them, rather than negotiating between them. Conflict can also be necessary and desirable for change to occur. Thus understanding, surfacing, and dealing with conflict is an essential step in developing an effective MSP. In the following, we offer you some ways of understanding and dealing with conflict. “ All societies, communities, organisations, and interpersonal relationships experience conflict at one time or another in the process of day-to-day interaction. Conflict is not necessarily bad, abnormal, or dysfunctional: it is a fact of life” - Moore, 1986 T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 2 “ We must avoid conflict at all cost”, Lanh told herself. For the last few weeks, she had been trying to negotiate between her department, the farmers’ union, and the company. The potential benefits of the collaboration were so big that it was in nobody’s interest to stop the initiative. Yet the farmers were not happy and threatened to walk out. For Lanh, the ultimate goal was clear: thousands of farmers would get access to irrigated farmland and new technology, and their livelihoods would be more secure against impacts from climate change. Apparently, these benefits were not so obvious to the other stakeholders. Lanh started to doubt. Was the farmers’ reaction due to personalities? Was she the only one trying to bridge this huge divide between stakeholders? Was conflict unavoidable? “ I am, personally very interested in getting a better understanding of alternative approaches to climate negotiations as one such multi- stakeholder process seeking to establish a new (form of) climate governance. We are currently locked in camps that behave more like a bunch of school kids in the playground than as parties to a really challenging common agenda. A question I constantly ask myself in these circumstances is: to what extent do the current approaches of negotiation contribute to or stand in the way of a true multi-stakeholder process, and how could we create the enabling conditions that would make this process more efficient?” ( Email from a government official engaged in climate change negotiations) Lanh a government official T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 3 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 4 What is conflict? And what do we mean by ‘dealing with’ it? Conflict is what happens when parties disagree with each other on an important issue, and see their different positions as essentially incompatible. It is almost inevitable in any MSP, as different stakeholders will naturally have different interests, and are likely to find it difficult to imagine an acceptable compromise. If you want your MSP to be effective, it is essential that conflict is not ignored or pushed aside but is instead addressed and handled constructively. There are two main types of conflict in an MSP. The first is where conflict is the key reason for establishing the MSP, for example, conflict between environmental and economic interests with competing claims on how natural resources are used. The second is conflict that emerges when different stakeholders try to work together in an MSP. These may range from conflicts over fundamental issues related to different views, values, and competition for resources, to more simple clashes between personalities or resulting from miscommunication. In the following, we look at three perspectives that will help you recognise and deal with conflict: exploring causes of conflicts, a continuum of conflict, and interest-based negotiation. Conflict as a reason for an MSP Example: The Ruaha river in Tanzania has been drying up for decades. This is a catastrophe for the wildlife in the Ruaha National Park, and impacts the livelihoods of downstream communities and tourism in the park. Conservationists blame intensive agriculture upstream for tapping off too much water. But farmers need irrigation to increase their productivity in order to survive. WWF-Tanzania and WWF-UK took part in a multi-stakeholder partnership initiated so that the different parties could ‘learn together to find a way out of the crisis’. Conflict emerging within an MSP Example: Farmers and agribusiness in an African country were interested in developing stronger linkages to local markets. They started working together supported by an NGO to learn how to make this happen. A secretariat was set up, hosted by the NGO. After a year, the different partners complained that the secretariat was only advancing the interests of the NGO. The mistrust grew, and what started as a genuine effort to collaborate, became a ground for conflict. It took an external mediator six months to normalise relationships. T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 4 Perspective 1: Causes of conflict Conflicts begin and persist for all sorts of reasons, and their origins are often complex and diverse. They can be embedded in local cultural systems or connected to wider social, economic, and political processes. We find Moore’s distinction of different types of conflict useful for recognising and dealing with the different causes: a) Data or fact conflicts (disputes over the validity of information): “.you are grossly overstating the number of land grabs by companies in South Sudan. What do you base these values on?” b) Needs or interest conflicts (competing interests): “.there is not enough water for all of us to do what we need to. It’s either for your company or for my farm.” c) Structural conflicts (issues related to laws, roles and responsibility, time constraints): “.it is a disgrace that women are still not allowed to fully participate in political decision-making.” d) Value conflicts (differing values): “.these people keep telling us that the market will solve everything and create prosperity for all. I can’t buy into that, and refuse to work with them on their conditions.” e) Relationship conflicts (personality differences): “.why is he always so keen to talk to the press. I think his ego might be too big.” Conflicts are changing, interactive social processes, rather than individual, self-contained events. And each conflict has its own unique history and its own course of phases and levels of intensity. Essentially, conflicts are about the perceptions and the (different) meanings that people give to events, policies, institutions, and others. Thus, there is no single true or objective account of a conflict. Rather, the participants in and the observers of conflicts are likely to interpret them differently, depending on their particular perspective and interests. Different underlying causes require different solutions. You may be able to address the causes of conflict in an MSP directly (e.g., by improving and sharing information, building relationships and shared values, and allowing time for different stakeholders to understand each other’s interests) or indirectly (e.g., by arriving at a shared understanding of how laws need to change). T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 5 Perspective 2: Continuum of conflict Not all conflicts are the same. They can range in intensity from an irritating difference of opinion to a major disagreement with complete breakdown of communication, and even violent action. Different strategies are needed for dealing with conflicts at different points along the continuum. Some may only be resolved through the legal system; more severe conflicts may result in violence and war. MSPs generally work at the end of the spectrum where there is space for discussion, negotiation, and arbitration, and these are the skills that you will need to develop. Not all those involved in a conflict will view it in the same way. The different parties involved will have their own subjective ideas of the intensity of the conflict, and whether it is escalating or calming down. This also means that they will have different ideas about what is needed to resolve it. Those who think it is escalating may feel that formal authoritative approaches offer the only possibility for resolution, while those who feel that it is lessening may suggest that now is a good time to start talking and negotiating. When conflicts arise in your MSP, you will need to look at each party’s perceptions of the stage of the conflict before starting to develop a conflict management, transformation, or resolution strategy. S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 4 Private Private Legal (public), Extralegal decision third-party authoritative coerced making decision third-party decision by parties making decision making making Conflict Informal Negotia- Media- Admini- Arbitration Judicial Legislative Nonvio- Violence avoidance discussion tion tion strative decision decision lent direct + problem decision action Moore (2014) Continuum of conflict manage- ment and resolu- tion approaches Moore (2014) Causes of conflict Increased coercion and likelyhood of win-lose outcome relationship conflicts 1. Miscommunication 2. Strong emotions 3. Stereotyping 4. Repetitive negative behaviour structural conflicts 1. Unequal authority 2. Unequal control of resources 3. Time constraints data conflicts 1. lack of information 2. Misinformation 3. Differing views on data’s relevance 4. Different interpreta- tions of data value conflicts 1. Different ways of life (ideology, worldview, ect.) 2. Different criteria for evaluating ideas interest conflicts 1. Percieved or actual competition over interests 2. Procedural interests 3. Psychological interests T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 6 Perspective 3: Interest-based negotiation It is almost inevitable that there will be some conflict in your MSP, and it is important that you can help the stakeholders to negotiate effectively on their different interests. It won’t always be possible to define a common goal, and negotiating is the best way to make sure that all parties can achieve a deal that they can be proud to take home to their constituencies and colleagues. Done well, negotiation can prevent or resolve conflicts. But many efforts at negotiation remain unsuccessful, usually because they fail to build consensus in the process. We find that interest-based negotiation is often much more effective in developing a good deal than hard bargaining. A good deal means a deal that is (1) clear, (2) acceptable and attractive to all parties, and (3) better than each party’s best alternative. The key point of this method is to look beyond the stated positions of the different parties to discover their real interests. • Position = the first demand or solution presented by someone, often dogmatic and usually not considerate of other points of view • Interest = elements that underpin the stated ‘position’ (e.g., drivers, priorities, hopes, external pressures), but which are often obscured and hard to detect In general, negotiating groups will have a number of interests in common, Conflict resolution and the Gulpener brewery27 The Dutch brewery Gulpener wanted to source its barley locally in a sustainable manner, but farmers in the vicinity preferred to grow maize. The nature conservationist NGO Das en Boom also had concerns in the area; the korenwolf (a type of hamster) was on the brink of extinction because its habitat was disappearing. Traditionally, the company, farmers, and conservationists were at loggerheads with each other, but with the Ministry of Agriculture and Nature Conservation acting as a facilitator, they realised that they had a shared interest and could formulate an agreement that would benefit all parties: • Farmers agreed to replace their maize with barley because the brewery guaranteed that they would buy the crop at a good price. • Nature conservationists agreed to support the re-introduction of the korenwolf in the area as the animal thrives where barley is grown. The NGO publically endorsed the brewery’s corporate social responsibility. The brewery signed long-term barley sourcing agreements with the farmers, and introduced ‘Korenwolf Beer’ at a premium price in 1994. Part of the proceeds of beer sales go to the hamster-breeding programme. Twenty years later, this win–win–win programme still exists and there are still hamster in the area. Gulpener brewery was voted ‘Best Family-owned Business in the Netherlands’ in 2014. Position Individual interests Shared interests Interest-Based Negotiation T H E M S P G U I D E PA G E 8 7 S E V E N P R IN C IP L E S T H A T M A K E M S P s E F F E C T IV E P R IN C IP L E 4 See Principle 3: Work with power “ I once facilitated a transnational workshop for nature conservation in the Balkans. Stakeholders from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia were making plans to manage transboundary nature reserves together. During the meeting, some of the researchers present stressed the need to collect data at these sites. But once the topic of data collection was opened, the language of the meeting changed back from English into Serbian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, and Croatian – similar languages but with differences. The tones of voice changed, facial expressions changed. It transpired that in these transboundary areas, data collection was still largely hindered by landmines – a remnant of the war fought in the nineties. The researchers had unknowingly hit a nerve that exposed a huge underlying unresolved conflict. The atmosphere in the room was grim. From my position at the whiteboard, I moved silently to a chair, sat down, and desperately proposed “Shall we maybe just go for a beer now before moving back to our planning?”. “I think we need something stronger!” was the response. Later in the afternoon, we proceeded with the agenda. Of course, we didn’t resolve the conflict. But ackno

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