Building block 7: Strategically develop and expand relationships with and between selected groups of actors
Building blocks 5 and 6 were about identifying, better understanding and presenting the totality of potential stakeholder groups in the community. In this module, the aim is to strategically develop a sequence for dealing with the groups of actors and to set priorities. On the one hand, this is necessary because of the complexity of communities, which makes it impossible to do justice to all groups of actors (at the same time), and on the other hand, it is necessary because of the limited resources of community development.
The overview of the groups of actors ensures that a conscious choice and targeted relationship building can be made with particularly relevant groups of actors. This prevents, for example, the habitual cultivation of certain community relationships, to which access may be relatively convenient but which are not necessarily the most effective in relation to the core idea, from being continued unquestioned. And it allows for the inclusion of previously unconsidered or under-considered stakeholder groups that can give the community a strong and innovative push. The aim of community development is to focus on all the groups of actors who can most effectively implement the core idea.
ACCESS: For the ACCESS context, the following questions arise:
- Which stakeholder groups are currently prioritised in the ACCESS context and are these the ones that are most effective in terms of implementing the core idea?
- Which groups of actors with high relevance for the ACCESS core idea should be focused on more strongly in the future?
In addition to the in-depth understanding of these selected groups of actors in the form of actor group profiles developed in Building Block 6, the next question should be related to their current state within the community,
- what history connects each of these groups of actors to the community context,
- with which activities each of these groups of actors is currently advancing the core idea,
- how strong their presence, engagement and commitment within the community currently is,
- what the current value and benefits of community participation are for each of these stakeholder groups,
- the extent to which each of these stakeholder groups and their contributions are currently recognised within the community,
- how often they currently use which forms of communication and interaction within the community,
- with which other community stakeholder groups each of these stakeholder groups is currently particularly strongly connected or not connected at all, and
- who are currently particularly committed, inclusive key players within each of these stakeholder groups.
The next step is to define the target state through community development, i.e. in which direction the relationship with each of the selected groups of actors should be developed, namely whether and how
- the community story of each of these groups of actors can be more fully integrated into the overarching community narrative,
- each of these groups of actors can be motivated to continue, modify or intensify their activities to implement the core idea,
- Presence, engagement and commitment of each of these stakeholder groups within the community can be strengthened,
- the value and benefits of participation can be sustained and enhanced for each of these stakeholder groups,
- the recognition of each of these groups of actors and their contribution within the community can be enhanced,
- the communication and interaction of each of these groups of actors within the community can be improved,
- each of these stakeholder groups can be more connected to other community stakeholder groups,
- particularly committed, inclusive key persons within each of these groups of actors can continue to be involved or be involved to a greater extent.
Finally, this module should venture a look into the future as to how each of the selected groups of actors will ideally contribute to the future implementation of the core idea and what role they will play in a desirable future of the community. These future perspectives can in turn be incorporated into the community's future narrative (Building Block 4).
The prioritisation carried out in this Building Block 7 should not only be carried out once, but on an ongoing basis or at regular intervals. On the one hand, this is due to changing resources: if these become more abundant, other relevant groups of actors may be brought into focus and the community can be expanded quantitatively. Changes in the overall socio-economic context may mean that certain groups of actors become more relevant and should be included for the progress of the core idea. And internal progress in the community context itself can also result in new actor groups becoming important for the implementation of the next development steps. In this respect, the selection of the prioritised groups of actors, supported by continuous "community monitoring" (Building Block 6), should be questioned and revised again and again.
ACCESS: The points listed under actual and target state and the ideal view of the future should be deepened for the relevant actor groups of the ACCESS context and recorded in the actor group profiles set up under Building Block 5. The reprioritisation of the actor groups relevant to the ACCESS core idea should be carried out anew at regular intervals. The previous analyses in the actor group profiles should also be updated.
This guideline was developped by Anni Roolf (https://www.anniroolf.eu/)