Section 1: Actor analysis

Section 1: Actor analysis

“Introduction … Actors involved … Problem statements”
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  • Step 1: Actor analysis > Actors involved > Video actor identification
  • Step 1: Actor analysis > Problem statements > Video problem statements

Step 1: Actor analysis > Actors involved > Video actor identification

  • Who could be involved in this problem field? Well, an obvious first list of actors involved is: the minister of transport, the travellers and the people living close to the proposed high speed rail line, the inhabitants.
  • What can you contribute here as an analyst, consultant, or maybe as being one of these actors yourself? Well, by identifying these actors and making the problem as they see it explicit, you help the different stakeholders in knowing and understanding the goals and interests of each other.
  • You will reduce discussions about one solution being better than the other, as people focus more about what the stakeholders want to achieve with a certain solution.
  • The solution that eventually will be implemented to provide this new connection will always affect the actors involved.
  • This table provides a brief overview of the interests of the actors involved in creating a new connection from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to a major city on Europe.
  • This particular table is quite small, because a lot of actors that were actually involved in real-life are left out in this table to have a simple example.
  • The different interests somehow relate, each and every one of them, to the total problem.
  • A first step is to formulate a problem statement for each actor.
  • Let’s give you a simple example for one of the actors.
  • You can easily expand this to the other actors involved.
  • “How to provide a better connection between Schiphol Airport and Antwerp, without causing too much nuisance?” Performing such an analysis in an early phase, not only for this actor, but for all actors involved helps to prevent problems that might occur along the way of problem solving and contributes, in the end, to finding a solution that is supported by all actors involved.
  • My field of research is decision making processes in networks of actors.
  • The actors in these networks are interdependent, that is to say, they need each other to realize their goals.
  • It is important to realize that actor’s goals and criteria in networks are not so clear and well-defined as you might initially think.
  • In the first place actors are continually learning, including about their own goals and criteria.
  • As time passes and they carry out their work, they get an increasingly better insight in what they really find important and what their own objectives are.
  • Another learning process is that they gain insight into what is achievable within the network of actors in which they operate.
  • In the second place, actors in networks are well-aware that they need others if they are to get anything done.
  • Actors can meet each other in negotiating processes.
  • This means that in many cases the objectives you first hear from an actor, are not his or her actual objectives.
  • In the third place, actors may be ashamed to openly admit their objectives, e.g., if their goals are associated with highly personal ambitions.
  • These actors realizes that honestly and openly admitting their objectives, will put them in an impossible position.
  • What does all this mean? Does it mean that an analysis of actors and their goals is useless.
  • You have seen Alexander’s explanation and Ernst’s experience with actors.
  • They both use actor analysis as an initial step in getting a grip, as, eventually, we want to solve a complex problem.
  • What other actors are present? At both sides of the house, neighbours can be found.
  • These neighbours enjoy the peace and quiet environment they usually live in and want to have a good night sleep.
  • Bringing all these interest together in one table, can you see a solution that might fit? What could you do to make all these people choose for one solution? Having seen the initial analysis step of actor analysis and some examples, it is now time to start applying it! The best way to learn this technique is to try and see what it brings you.
  • When you’re finished with that, I have the following two questions for you: What actors are involved in this problem situation of your case? As a rough guide, make a list of around 10 actors.
  • Identify one of these actors as the owner of the problem.
  • Even you could be the problem owner, from now on this actor is your virtual client.
  • Doing an actor analysis is not about who you need for a certain solution.
  • If not, you better make an analysis for another actor.

Step 1: Actor analysis > Problem statements > Video problem statements

  • Hello everybody, welcome back to the course! We have listed actors involved in the complex problem we analyse.
  • Usually, these actors do not make their problem very explicit.
  • In order to find the core of the problem, we will make explicit what each of these actors’ ideas and perceptions of the problem are.
  • Many actors have defended their solution against others, while actually, they have comparable goals and perceive a part of a shared overall problem.
  • Not defining the problem in a good way, leads to finding probably beautiful solutions, but for the wrong problem.
  • Initial problem statements are good starting points for a discussions with actors.
  • Then their problem statement could be: “How to provide the Dutch citizens with energy and heating, without compromising the safety of the citizens” This particular problem statement opens the doors to many more and different solutions than the previous one.
  • The simple idea is that when you want to solve a problem you first need a very clear problem definition, then you need the right information, and when you have the right information you can make the right decision.
  • The second reason is that a problem statement is not made by one actor, but that there always many actors in the game.
  • There are many, many actors involved, and all these actors might have different perceptions, different perspectives of the problem.
  • So different actors have different perceptions of the problem.
  • That is why it is so extremely important to identify these actors and to identify their problem statements.
  • ” Having seen the examples in this video, it is now time to apply it yourself, find out how useful it is in your complex situation An easy way to start is to study the paragraphs 2.1 and 2.2 from the book Solving Complex Problems.
  • When you’re finished with that, design a good problem statement for each actor you have identified.
  • When you are the client yourself, for instance when you analyse your own complex situation, that means you design a problem statement for yourself.
  • I did when I followed the course, and so did Fieke and Alexander when they designed problem statements for the first time.
  • Useful and practical problem statements contain a dilemma.

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