Listing stakeholders and their values



Designers and Stakeholders

Design Phase:







This teaching activity broadens students’ perception of stakeholders beyond the narrow focus on end-users. Through this activity, students become able to identify and list a diverse range of direct and indirect stakeholders, describe their different roles, and discuss multiple stakeholders’ values implicated in products, systems, or services.


Students often focus only on the end-users and overlook others, who do not necessarily interact directly with the technology, but are still implicated by the technology nonetheless. Students often lack a broader perspective on people and the social context in which products, systems, or services will be integrated. In particular, the roles of non-targeted users such as adversaries and indirect stakeholders such as bystanders are often overlooked by the designer.

If students only think of people in terms of users, they might end up focusing on immediate tasks and short-term goals without considering the ripple effect of their design that might cause unforeseen consequences in a long run. Students may end up unintentionally creating products, systems or services that do more harm than benefit for some people.

Through this activity, students will become able to identify a diverse range of direct and indirect stakeholders, and discuss their different roles and values implicated in products, systems, or services. This understanding is materialised in the worksheet Direct and indirect stakeholder analysis, which enables discussion and reflection between teacher and the groups about the impact and ripple effects of a specific product, system or service.


After the teaching activity students will be able to:

  • know the difference between indirect and direct stakeholders,
  • identify and list multiple stakeholders,
  • describe each stakeholder’s role, key values, “benefits” and “harms” in relation to a specific product, system or service.


  • Prepare settings for group work.
  • Distribute the worksheet Direct and indirect stakeholder analysis (1 set per student or project group)
  • Find a text that describes the concepts of direct and indirect stakeholders (e.g. Friedman et al., 2013; Friedman and Hendry, 2019). Ask students to read it as preparation for the activity.
  • Give examples of direct and indirect stakeholders that showcase the broad range of people that are potentially impacted by a certain product, system or service.
  • Highlight the fact that a single individual can take up multiple roles at different times (e.g., a person can use Facebook as a parent to upload baby pictures, and also use it as a professional to communicate their work with her/his colleagues).
  • Remind students to think broadly and be imaginative when it comes to stakeholders (e.g., consider non-human stakeholders), their values, harms and benefits.
  • Walk through and explain how to use the worksheets (e.g., show an example of completed Direct and indirect stakeholder analysis) in order for students to gain an understanding of what they are supposed to do during this activity.


  1. Instruct students to identify key stakeholders and complete the stakeholder section on the worksheet.
    • Ask students: Who are the important people, groups, or communities involved?
  2. Go around among student groups to see how they work. If students struggle to come up with a rich list of stakeholders, brainstorm together with students.
    • Ask students: Who else do you think would care about this product, system, or service and why?
  3. Encourage students to think about different roles a single individual can take up.
    • Ask students: Think about an individual who at one point in time is in the role of a direct stakeholder. Can this person’s role change into an indirect stakeholder at another point in time? If so, how? List all the roles into separate rows.
  4. Encourage students to think about non-targeted users.
    • Ask students: Is there anyone who is left out? Is there anyone who is marginalized by the product, system or service (e.g., people with disabilities, homeless people, elderly people, low socioeconomic population)?
  5. Encourage students to think about non-human stakeholders.
    • Ask students: What other living species do you think might be affected by this product, system or service (e.g., animals, environments)?
  6. Instruct students to fill out the key values, benefits, and harms sections on the worksheet.
    • Ask students: For each stakeholder, think about their key values (what they consider most important in life), and what benefits and harms the product, system or service might cause for each stakeholder?
  7. As a class, ask each group to share three to five most interesting stakeholders identified.
    • Ask students to describe the stakeholders, how they arrived at it, and anything interesting that emerged in their process.
  8. As a class, reflect on challenges and benefits of identifying diverse stakeholders. Talk to students about how this stakeholder identification activity can help their design project as it moves forward.
  9. Ask students to capture and share their stakeholder identification.
  10. Ask students to review and comment on each other's stakeholder identification focusing on gaps, questions, insights and potential problems.
  11. Ask students to read the review of their stakeholder identification and consider how to integrate the review into their ongoing design project (if relevant).


To assess whether the intended learning outcomes were attained by the teaching activity the following assessment activities can be carried out (in class or after class).


Assess students' learning by asking them to do a peer feedback (authentic assessment) on each other’s stakeholder identification. Ask them to comment and pose questions in relation to how the stakeholders were identified and how the stakeholder identification could play a role in their project.

Assess students' learning by asking them to record a group video on stakeholders (ipsative assessment) where they through a visual medium illustrate their insights into possible stakeholders beyond the direct users and how this might influence their product or process.


In the assessment activity ask students to focus on:

  • showing they understand the diversity of possible stakeholders,
  • showing they can reflect on the possible consequences of considering diverse stakeholders in their project.


Read Section 6 in:

Friedman, Batya, Kahn Jr, Peter H., and Borning, Alan (2006). Value Sensitive Design and Information Systems. In: Doorn N., Schuurbiers D., van de Poel I., Gorman M. (eds) Early engagement and new technologies: Opening up the laboratory. Philosophy of Engineering and Technology. Dordrecht: Springer.

Read Chapter 2 in:

Friedman, Batya, and Hendry, David (2019). Value sensitive design : shaping technology with moral imagination. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.