External Stakeholders

When you’re doing stakeholder analysis in order to understand the impact of your change you may identify external stakeholders in addition to internal.  These external stakeholders could be your customers, your suppliers, your community, etc.

Just as you plan for communication, training, and support for people internal to your organization, you will need to plan for those same things externally — different delivery mechanisms, but same concepts.

Some questions to ask to help you identify your external stakeholders:

  • Who will use the product / service?
  • Where will they use it?  Will it have any impacts on other people around them when they’re using it?
  • What else has to be in place in order for your product / service to be usable — for example; power grid, highway system, level of literacy, etc.?
  • Where will the materials come from geographically and who will you source them through?  How will they be transported?  Are they already in the right form, or do they need processing before they’re usable to you?
  • Will you make the product yourself, or will you have it made for you?
  • Who will quality check the product / service?  Can it be done internally, or will you need an external audit?
  • How will you get it to your customers?  Is it something the customer can carry away themselves, or will you need to provide some kind of delivery service?
  • At end of life, how will the product be disposed of?  Is it toxic and will it require special handling?  Is there an opportunity for reuse or recycling, and is there already an established reuse or recycling chain in place or will you need to develop one?  Who in the community will you need to work with to make this happen?
  • Is what you’re proposing governed by any agency or legal entity?  Are there approvals you will need to secure before you can move forward with your plans?
  • Are there public interest groups that care about the domain you’re trying to introduce something into?  Will they be happy with your proposal?
  • How will using your new product / service change lives?  Will something else stop being used and who makes / provides that something else — you, or a competitor?

There are many more questions to be asked, but this gives you an idea of some things to “follow the trail of” to try and identify all of your external stakeholders.

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