Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills)

Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills)

“Introduction … Problem demarcation … Actor analysis – Part 1 … Actor analysis – Part 2 … Discusion”
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  • 8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.2 Problem demarcation > Problem demarcation
  • 8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.3 Actor analysis - Part 1 > Web lecture: The importance of actor analysis
  • 8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.3 Actor analysis - Part 1 > Web lecture: Example of an analysis of a policy network
  • 8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.3 Actor analysis - Part 1 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, step 1 and 2
  • 8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.3 Actor analysis - Part 1 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, step 3
  • 8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.4 Actor analysis - Part 2 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, step 4
  • 8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.4 Actor analysis - Part 2 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, step 5
  • 8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.4 Actor analysis - Part 2 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, (final) step 6

8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.2 Problem demarcation > Problem demarcation

  • First and foremost, it is in your client’s interest that you establish what is the problem that is most relevant to analyze.
  • By demarcating the problem you make clear to your client what will be the scope of your analysis; in other words, the things that you will consider, and also the things that you might have considered, but decide to ignore.
  • This allows both you and your client to reflect on how this will eventually limit the conclusions that you can draw, and the recommendations that you can make.
  • So how do you do problem demarcation? In principle, you go through five steps: You begin by choosing one issue that appears to be of immediate interest to your client.
  • You then develop alternative problem statements, and for each problem you make an objective tree and outline the associated system boundary.
  • To give just one example: if your client is the Port of Rotterdam, several issues might surface during your first talks: The port might, for example, want to deepen the harbor, increase the capacity of its container stacks, or reduce its CO2-emissions.
  • You use a verb phrase because a means-ends box also represents something your client can do.
  • You begin by asking “why?” to discover higher level ends that explain why your client wants to reduce CO2-emissions.
  • Then you start asking “how?” to identify for each end the means that could help your client achieve this end.
  • You draw an arrow to indicate that using means S will help achieve the higher level end H. You then ask “why does my client want to achieve H?”, which will produce again a higher level means-ends.
  • There may be other means, in addition to H, by which your client can achieve F. Likewise, there may be more ways, in addition to S, to achieve H, and possibly your client should focus on these.
  • By continuing to ask “how?”, you may discover that your client has a wide range of means to achieve its ends.
  • In principle, you should consider each box in the diagram that has boxes connected to its bottom, because that indicates that your client has the means to achieve the end in this box.
  • In a means-ends diagram every box is an end, that is, something desirable for your client.
  • The way to do this is to ask yourself “what are the undesirable side-effects of my client’s means?” Let me show you how this works: First, you pick a box in your means-ends diagram and you take this to be your client’s focal objective.
  • For each means, you then consider what side effects may occur when your client would use it.
  • Instead of A, we focus on B, we see that our client has two means to achieve B. Both again have side effect X, and one also has side effect Z. This would then give as problem statement “How can our client achieve B without too much X or Z?” We can do exactly the same for the other means to achieve A. Each time we look for undesirable side effects to identify the tradeoffs involved.
  • So we imagine what would happen if our client decides to use means G and H to achieve C. We do the same to find the tradeoffs involved to achieve D. And let me give just one more example: when we consider G as focal objective, we imagine what would happen if our client would use means J, K or L, and if that leads us to identify also U and V as undesirable side effects, a fifth problem statement would be: “How can our client achieve G without too much U, X or V?” What you do then is consider each of the problem statements you have formulated.
  • By defining the criteria, we actually define part of the boundary of the system that we should consider when analyzing this problem: In our analysis, we should establish how strongly the means of our client will affect the criteria.
  • If we do this for each of the alternative problem statements, we get an overview of alternative ways of demarcating our client’s problem.
  • By doing a quick scan of each problem, you can then make an informed decision about what is most relevant for your client.

8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.3 Actor analysis – Part 1 > Web lecture: The importance of actor analysis

  • We, people, are “social animals”; peole and groups of people operate in networks; we relate to other people and other groups because most of today’s problems in society cannot be solved by a single person, by a single actor; they are too complex.
  • Often we are not aware of the networks we are operating in; the social fabric of the company or organization we are working in, the people inside and outside our organization we need to get things done, but if you make these linkages and these dependencies explicit , you can use the power and the means of the people and the organizations in your network to get things done, and you can think about strategies to prevent that other actors with different objectives obstruct your plans.
  • Knowing more about the actors and the networks in which they operate helps you to: Improve the quality of your analysis as you can tap on the wisdom of the crowds and exploit local knowledge.
  • By now, we already used some terms that need better definition, therefore you should remember the following: ‘Actors’ we define as “social entities that have an interest in a system, and/or have some ability to influence that system” Actors are often groups and organizations, but also individuals can be considered as actors.
  • WHY actor analysis? I will show you one example to illustrate why actor analysis can be important – in this case for the oil company Shell, who in the 90ties of the past century wanted to dispose of an old oil rig, or in fact a huge buoy that had been used for storing crude North Sea oil and which would be sunk into the deep sea as extensive studies had shown that deep sea disposal would be the most environmental friendly option.
  • Shell had not been very attentive to other actors who were opposed to this solution and were able to mobilize their network to support a very different solution.
  • In 1995, Greenpeace portested against Shell’s intention to dump the oil platform Brent Spar into the sea.
  • Ultimately, this led to Shell changing its decision of dumping the Brent Spar to dismantle and recycle it.
  • The Brent Spar was jointly owned by Shell Oil and Exxon, but Shell UK was responsible for the decommissioning.
  • What to do with such a huge structure? Well, Shell commissioned no fewer than 30 separate studies to consider the technical, safety and environmental implications of disposal resulting in four possible options: One is Disposal on land, second is Sinking the buoy at its current location, the third one Decomposition of the buoy on the spot, or, Deep-sea dumping in depth greater than 2,000 meters within U.K. territorial waters.
  • After considering these options, with their risks and benefits, Shell concluded that only On land disposal and Sinking in the deep sea were viable.
  • Deep sea dumping became Shell’s choice because of the relatively low cost and of the small environmental impact.
  • Shell got permission to dispose of the Brent Spar through deep-sea sinking from the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry in December 1994.
  • Shell security personnel and the Scottish police were dispatched to remove the protestors.
  • The media predominantly supported Greenpeace in its coverage: One should not spoil our seas! Greenpeace activists were portrayed as heroes defending the environment, fighting Shell and the U.K at sea.
  • Greenpeace, with the support of other actors in their network, like nature conservation groups, mobilized an effective consumer boycott of Shell gasoline stations in Germany, Holland, and parts of Scandinavia.
  • In Germany, Shell gasoline sales declined by 20% and fifty gas stations were vandalized, two were even fire bombed by activists.
  • Shell Germany and Shell Netherlands, feeling the pressure of the boycott, publicly criticized Shell U.K. and the U.K. government and questioned the disposal decision.
  • At this point, Greenpeace made claims regarding their scientific analysis of the contents of the storage tanks on the Brent Spar, stating that there were large quantities of heavy metals and other highly toxic organic materials present and that Shell had failed to declare in their analyses.
  • The claims by Greenpeace about the contamination and heavy metals inside the buoy prooved to be false and the environmental and health impact of the on-land decommissioning was indeed considerable.
  • Maybe this all could have been prevented if Shell had paid due attention to the social environment it was operating in and had taken along the concerns of their opponents from the start of the process.
  • The general message is: know your playing field, beware of the concerns and issues of other actors and keep them in mind when you design your policies and try to create support for your plans and policies.

8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.3 Actor analysis – Part 1 > Web lecture: Example of an analysis of a policy network

  • We have just seen why it is important for policy makers to know the social and political environment they are operating in.
  • Therefore we are gone look at an example from our own consultancy practice and it shows you the results of the analysis of a very complex network; it depicts the network of actors that a group of policy makers is operating in.
  • Provinces in the Netherlands are politically responsible for the water quality and the EU requires all its member states to improve their surface water and groundwater quality.
  • After a number of interviews and a series of workshops we were able to construct this map and it shows the platform in the center of the map and its relations to over 80 other organizations, including authorities, private bodies, industries, farmers, environmental/nature/landscape NGO’s, Land-owners, professional representatives of the shipping sector, the chamber of commerce, and so on.
  • Moreover it turned out they were fighting in four different arenas and at two different levels: in their province and with the national and European authorities.
  • In green – agriculture; in red – the build environment, in brown – road and rail infrastructure and in blue – the water transport and water quality sector.
  • In these five ovals representing the different arenas you see the issues they are fighting over; for instance rural development and the use of herbicides in the rural network; garbage collection and dog shit in the urban areas.
  • What lessons did we draw from this analysis and what advice did we give the people form the platform? Our advice was based on what these maps showed.
  • One is don’t mingle with agriculture/rural areas; the second map with the arenas shows that the farmers are overburdened by national en EU regulations; they are struggling for survival and water quality is about the last of their concerns.
  • The actor-map shows that in this arena there are few allies and many strong opponents.
  • Our analysis shows that these issues are dealt with elsewhere and there are no strong allies either.
  • Roads and water transport sectors; here the maps show they have easy access to some strong supporters who actually have the means to do something about issues like anti-fouling and road run-off.
  • These partners show in the map: they are the province itself and the regional water boards.
  • Up to now what have you learned: Well, the Brent Spar example has learned us that it if you want to solve a complex problem or design a new policy it is important to know the playing field and to know who are your friends and who are the foes.
  • You have to know the concerns and issues of other actors and you may need to take those into account when designing a strategy for problem solving.

8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.3 Actor analysis – Part 1 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, step 1 and 2

  • We will go through these steps one by one and we will illustrate each step with an example from practice which we call: ‘Wind at Sea’, with the Netherlands national government as the problem owner and wanting to stimulate the generation of “green” wind energy at sea.
  • We then make an inventory of the actors involved, map their formal relations and then make an inventory of their interests, objectives and perceptions We try to find out about their interdependencies: what are their resources and salience? And finally, we think about and list the implications for problem formulation and for the client We will first take Step 1: Problem formulation of the client as point of departure In our first step What do we have here? Well, The problem owner is the Ministry of Economic Affairs as they are responsible for the national energy policy in the Netherlands What is the problem or the cleft? Well, there is insufficient capacity installed at sea and we won’t make the target.
  • What causes the problem? Well, generating wind energy is relatively expensive and the production is intermittent: dependent on weather conditions.
  • The basic method for making an inventory of actors is by using your preliminary causal diagram or systems diagram and by asking two questions: Which actors can actually influence important factors in my system? And Who has an interest in the problem and/or is affected by the possible solutions? So, there are two I’s: Influence and Interest! So, we start from the Ministry of Economic Affairs: What are its objectives? As we just learned, they want more off-shore power generation without impeding the security of the Dutch energy supply and affordability.
  • Here at the right, we put ‘percentage off-shore power generation’ and affordability which we translate into ‘costs of energy provision’, and thirdly ‘security of supply’.
  • Both means positively influence the ‘number of new wind farms’ and the licences will also influence the size of the windparks; ‘number’ and ‘size’, on their turn, influence the ‘installed capacity at sea’ and the ‘investment cost’.
  • The ‘installed capacity’ on its turn influences the objectives ‘percentage off-shore generation’ and the ‘investment cost’ influence the ‘cost of energy provision’.
  • What else at the cost side? Well, transport costs of the generated energy are important and these are influenced by the distance between windfarms and the connection point at land.
  • Wind does not always blow, so there needs to be a dynamic balance between the supply and the demand of energy.
  • Now we can ask our two questions: We just ended with the balance on the net; clearly the network administrator ‘Tennet’ is responsible here, and the EU determines the number of international connections while the energy companies, the power generators and R&D agencies do research after energy storage.
  • The energy companies are the main investors in windpower generation and finally, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment is responsible for planning at sea and thus determines the location: waterdepth and distance to shore.
  • We ask the question: “Who holds an interest in the project and/or who will be affected by the project?” or to be more precise: “Who holds an interest in any of the factors in our system?” When looking at the means, it is the investors: the energy companies and the project developers who hold an interest in speeding up the permits and getting subsidies for the project.
  • We see a number of familiar faces too: The EU and its international connections, Tennet, the network administrator with stakes in security of delivery and transport cost; the energy companies worrying about costs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment worrying about the percentage of wind in our energy mix.
  • We have now seen how you can use INFLUENCE and INTEREST as tools to identify actors involved in an issue.
  • Just to give you an impression of what a good use of the presented actor identification techniques may lead to, we now show you the longlist of actors we created for our wind energy case.
  • The first is that you should realize that the problem owner is an actor too and there may be more powerful parties involved than your problem owner alone.
  • There should be a balance between the different interests and positions for instance you have five environmental NGO’s all wanting more or less the same, or three Ministries trying to reach the same objective although for different reasons, you may combine them and you call them ‘joint NGO’s’ or ‘joint Ministries’.
  • You recognize our two I’s here: Influence and Interest! The axes of the grid are power at the bottom with the high end to the right, and interest to the left with high interest on top.
  • These two axes we use to form four quadrants and now we start positioning the actors on our longlist according to our estimation of their relative power and their relative interest.
  • Do you remember the colorful map on diffuse pollution? It held four of these grids! So. When we have positioned our actors in the grid, we consider the parties on the top right as ‘Players’: they are the ones we think are holding important means and are having interest in the subject.
  • A practical way to do this is by filling out a simple table and by jotting down in the columns the values, perceptions, resources, the actors we selected for further inquiry and we tried to see the networks they are operating in.
  • There is one last issue about making an inventory of actors that we need to discuss: how to go about with composed actors.
  • The energy producers for instance, rather than being individual companies like Vattenfall or Essent or Eneco, have much more in common and they can be seen as one actor: EnergieNed.

8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.3 Actor analysis – Part 1 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, step 3

  • Checking the internet will reveal there are at least three European Guidelines with respect to construction at sea: The Birds and Habitat Guideline, the Framework Directive Marine Strategy and Natura2000.
  • In the Netherlands there are at least five laws to consider: Law on Nature protection Electricity Law Law on Town and Country planning Water Law Law on control of state public works So that’s a lot.
  • Infrastructure and Environment is responsible for planning at sea and the choice of locations, they have a Directorate North Sea responsible for this subject When looking into more detail and checking out policy documents we soon find additional agencies and departments within the Ministries managing other subsidies and implementing European laws and regulations.
  • For instance relating to the EU Energy Law and the Guidance for Birds and Habitat protection.
  • For now, we think we know enough and we try to map the formal relations and responsibilities.
  • They are dependent on Economic Affairs for their subsidies; and on Infrastructure and Environment for the location permit and the Nature 2000 permit.
  • The energy companies respond to Economic Affairs on behalf of the Energy law and they need permits from the Planning Ministry for their installations on-shore According to the Electricity law, Economic Affairs is supervising and Tennet the net coordinator.
  • Oh, and it might be nice to put in the current users of the North Sea the fisherman and nature protection organization, the shipping agents and others who are lobbying the Ministries to protect their interests.

8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.4 Actor analysis – Part 2 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, step 4

  • Before we can start looking for them we first have to define what we mean by objectives and interests; Well, objectives are the goals that an actor wants to achieve in a concrete situation; for instance Greenpeace wants to prevent that an old oil rig is dumped in the deep sea.
  • Interest are deeply embedded in our personal values and they are relatively stable over time; we can easily change our objectives but we don’t easily betray our interest.
  • Remember in Step 2 we made a first provisional inventory of actors; in this step we will elaborate and do in depth research after the interests, objectives and means.
  • Let us start with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and its Directorate Space & Water.
  • Typically the interest or fundamental objective of I&E Space and Water is a Safe, efficient and profitable use of the North Sea, while the concrete objective is creating Space for offshore wind, without impeding other uses.
  • They want to reduce pollution and are concerned about CO2 emissions; their objective is 20% renewables, preferably at sea.
  • We can now do this for all other actors such as for instance the energy companies and fill out their interests like producing energy and their objectives in the same way.
  • As a final step in making this inventory you might make an overview table where you can see in one glance all the actors, their interests, objectives, the problem as they perceive it, its causes, the preferred solutions and their means.

8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.4 Actor analysis – Part 2 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, step 5

  • Typical examples of categories of resources are: – information – knowledge – manpower – money – authority / formal power – position in the network: access to other actors – legitimacy – organization – and many others, which you can think of yourself.
  • When you think back to the examples of the Brent Spar and the dispersed pollution policy making you will realize that indeed some of these resources were used by actors to change the situation by either enabling or blocking policy implementation.
  • When you know what the resources of the actors are you can rank them according to their importance for problem solving and the extent to reach the resources or if means of one actor can be replaced by those of another actor.
  • If this actor and her means can be replaced by other actors or not and how depended you are on this actor for solving the problem.
  • We have listed the number of actors, typically the ministry of economic affairs, two directorates of the ministry of infrastructure and environment: water and space and environment and international, and the wind power industry.
  • Now we know who the critical actors are we have to determine who have a real interest in solving the issue; in other words who are the dedicated actors who want to invest in the new policy and are prepared to put in their means and who are the non-dedicated ones, who have little or no interest in the issue.
  • So we look at their perception of the policy issue: do they consider the problem and its potential solution in the same way as we do, or do they hold completely opposing views? Knowing about their dedication and perception allows us to distinguish friends and foes and to assess our chances for success and helps us to design an analysis and decision making process in such a way that makes our chances for success as big as possible.
  • We now return to our Wind at Sea case and we ask: What does the problem owner want? Well she wants more windmills at sea We can then ask ourselves the question: Do other actors want that too? How important is this objective for the other actors? Per now, we know who are the critical actors and we ask ourselves: who are the dedicated ones and who are the ones holding the same or conflicting views? We can summarize and organize these findings in one final matrix which is shown in this slide.
  • You see the main distinction in the columns between dedicated and non-dedicated actors while in the rows we distinguish actors holding the same interest and objectives and those with conflicting interest.
  • This leads to eight categories of actors with strong allies and strong opponents in the red column, as they hold critical means, and the indispensable allies and potential blockers are in the green column.
  • Our critical and dedicated actors are the Ministry of Infra and Environment especially the directorate on Water and Space and of course TenneT, the network administrator and the Energy companies.
  • Now we turn to the non-dedicated actors; they typically hold different interest and have other things on their mind and hold other priorities.

8. Bonus module: Problem demarcation and actor analysis (Skills) > 8.4 Actor analysis – Part 2 > Web lecture: Actor analysis, (final) step 6

  • In the previous step we filled out the matrix, distinguishing the critical and dedicated from the non-critical and non-dedicated actors; now we have to think about what we learn from these distinctions.
  • Well, looking at the implications of our newly acquired insights we will have to look at three different aspects: The Problem formulation; is the problem indeed the right problem or do we have to reconsider the way it is phrased and framed? The Interaction with the other actors, who do we have to involve in what kind of activities? And what are the issues that may need further research, what are the possible research questions and activities? What are the consequences for the problem formulation? We can look at this issue in at least two different ways; by taking into account important concerns and issues and the means of our critical actors and secondly by taking these along in reconsidering the systems diagram.
  • So for the Ministry of Economic Affairs it is important to look for locations that are near shore and not close to shipping lanes and it is important to share costs, to find investors and to safeguard subsidies.
  • The Interaction with the other actors, who do we have to involve in what kind of activities? Finding out who are your friends and foes will help you design a strategy for problem solving.
  • You can also use “the” matrix with dedicated and critical actors that we showed you before.
  • Typically in a power/interest grid we distinguish four categories of actors: 1) the players who might have high power/the means and a high interest; 2) the crowd with little or no means and low interest; 3) the subjects who have a high interest only and 4) the context setters who have important means but little interest.
  • Your new insights may lead to adaptation of the system and its delineation, which requires new modelling, while new issues that you discovered with other actors and new coalitions pressing for different solutions may spur the need for additional research too.
  • I want to warn you that doing this kind of actor network studies and the sustainability of the outcomes of these analyses, can be problematic.
  • Actor networks and the relation between actors are dynamic.
  • Moreover people and parties change position as they get new insights and they do so by learning both about the content of problems but also by learning about the perspectives and motives of other actors in the network.
  • A danger of making these tables is that these tables and graphs are abused for polarization, explicating the points of difference and conflicts, and not focusing on how to bridge these differences.
  • I now try to summarize what we have learned in this second part of the lectures on how to do an actor network analysis.
  • We introduced to you the matrix in which we distinguished the dedicated critical actors form the non-dedicated ones and the non-critical ones.
  • Finally we discussed the dangers and limitations of making this kind of actor network inventories; the snap-shot character and the danger of self-fulfilling prophecies.

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