Designers and Stakeholders
This teaching activity broadens students’ perception and understanding of all stakeholders concerned given a specific challenge, especially the multiple relations between them and the different values they hold and/or share.
By partaking in the activity the students will learn to relate a diverse range of direct and indirect stakeholders to the challenge at hand. They will learn to identify stakeholders’ values and relate them to each other in a value landscape that visualises their position. They will also learn to reflect on the outcomes and the impact of kind of visualisation of the value landscapes.
In nowadays society, we are facing complex challenges that can no longer be addressed by individual designers or design teams. Addressing challenges such as sustainability, the energy transition, and obesity requires a multi-stakeholder approach.
When working on such challenges, students should be aware of and understand all the direct and indirect related stakeholders that might have stake or influence the challenge, even though they might not be able to actually run a multi-stakeholder project and meet all these stakeholders. Hence, students require competencies to explore the broader perspective on people and the societal context in which products, systems, or services will be integrated.
In case students lack these competencies, they might not consider the ripple effect of their designs, which could have unforeseen consequences, such as excluding specific user groups. Moreover, with such complex issues, there is a fair chance their design solution will be experienced as rather naïve, or their design will never end up in practice, if they ignore the multistakeholder perspective.
In order to gain such a broader perspective on people and the societal context, they can create a stakeholder value landscape. A value landscape visualises the (key) stakeholders and beneficiaries related to the challenge/topic at hand, as well as the key values that they hold and share and how they differ between the different stakeholders.
The stakeholder value landscape aims at showing basic values, which Schwartz calls those trans-situational goals that guide people to live their lives (Schwartz et al., 2012), but it also shows other meaningful and valuable relations stakeholders have, both intangible (e.g. needs, feelings, expressions), tangible (goods and services), financial (money), or in the form of information.
Creating stakeholder value landscapes can be done in various ways, depending on the topic at hand, the intended outcome and the availability to meet stakeholders. A very well known example is the “value flow model” by Den Ouden and Brankaert (2013), although they put less emphasis on basic values. There are many more (expressive) forms of value landscapes that can be made to explore the challenge. See the provided slides for various examples.
The mapping is best done after having done the initial research phase so students can have some understanding about the stakeholders involved.
After the teaching activity students will be able to:
Prepare the introduction and handouts:
Prepare a short presentation on mapping value landscapes, elucidating the different value flows and relations they can have, and showing a few examples of value mappings. Include an example of a completed session using the tools the students will also use, in order for them to gain an understanding of the activity planned.
Collect the suggested papers on human values (Schwartz, 2012, 2017; Schwartz et al., 2012) and human scale development (Max-Neef, 1991), which students will use during the mapping activity, and provide them to the students.
Initially, this teaching activity focuses on guiding students to map a value landscape. If students become more experienced, they can also facilitate workshops with external stakeholders to have them map value landscapes.
Step 1 - Explanation activity at the start:
Step 2 - Mapping a value landscape:
Step 3: Reflection
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 write a reflective value report (formative assessment) where they present their value landscapes, understanding of stakeholders and reflect on how the relations between stakeholders might impact the project and the other stakeholders involved.
Assess students' learning by making them do peer feedback (authentic assessment) on each other’s value landscapes. Ask them to comment and pose questions in relation to how it reflects an understanding of all stakeholders concerned given the specific challenge and how well it identifies stakeholders values and relations to each other.
In the assessment activity ask students to focus on:
Max-Neef, Manfred (1991). Human scale development: conception, application and further reflections. New York: The Apex Press.
Schwartz, Salom H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 25, 1–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60281-6
Schwartz, Shalom H; Cieciuch, Jan; Vecchione, Michele; Davidov, Eldad; Fischer, Ronald; Beierlein,Constanze; Ramos, Alic; Verkasalo, Markku; Lönnqvist, Jan-Erik; Demirutku, Kursad; Dirilen-Gumus,Ozlem; & Konty, Mark (2012). Refining the theory of basic individual values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(4):663-688. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029393
Schwartz, Shalom H. (2017). The Refined Theory of Basic Values. In Roccas, S. & Sagiv, L. (Eds). Values and behavior: Taking a cross-cultural perspective (p. 51–72). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. http://10.1007/978-3-319-56352-7
Ouden, den, Elke & Brankaert, Rens G.A. (2013). Designing new ecosystems : the value flow model. In C. Bont, de, P. H. Ouden, den, R. Schifferstein, F. Smulders, & M. Voort, van der (Eds.). Advanced design methods for successful innovation (p. 189–209). Den Haag: Design United.