Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Part 4 of 5 for the September edition of "Converging over Coffee"
When the problem statement for infrastructure work expanded, the interests from external stakeholders also expanded. Stakeholders are a different proposition altogether. They are impacted in real ways by the outcomes either positively or negatively, but they are outside the core group charged to deliver the infrastructure work. Yet when we push towards our sustainable development goals, stakeholders are at the heart of it all.
Stakeholder interests cover a diverse range of issues. They can be about immediate impacts resulting from infrastructure decisions or future impacts that exceeds the consideration of current work. It seems fairly clear that if we want to achieve great outcomes from infrastructure development, working with stakeholders is way better than working around them. But how might we, or a given infrastructure development team, put together an adequate set of expertise to engage & address the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders?
Maybe the answer is that we don't. Stakeholders bring so much to the table. Stakeholder interests are very often the very things that elevate the true value of infrastructure. Finally, stakeholders already hold most of the expertise that a typical infrastructure development team may lack.
What we need is a brand of collaborative leadership that will give attention to building a coalition of stakeholders to tap this precious source of external capital and to co-develop their interests with our infrastructure work.