Actor mapping is best employed after a period of intense research has identified the problem or challenge to be tackled and an idea has emerged out of a wealth of possible solutions. It’s a really useful way to identify potential human challenges that may arise as the idea is implemented with different groups in your school, workplace or community.
How does it work?
- Choose an idea that’s been researched with a few prototypes already created, but hasn’t been publicised yet
- Place your idea at the centre of the map, using A1 paper or a flipchart
- From the centre of the map, draw half a dozen concentreic circles and divide into six slices (think cake!) labeled WHO, WHAT, HOW, WHERE, WHEN, WHY
- First of all identify the WHO – from the people who will benefit most to the people who will benefit least
For each WHO work out:
- WHAT they or you need to do for the idea to be implemented
- HOW this could or would happen
- WHEN it would happen and finally
- WHERE it would happen
- Consider the point of view of each WHO – it’s a great exercise in promoting empathetic thinking, encouraging participants to put themselves in other people’s shoes
- The process should reveal obstacles that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, allowing you to adapt and change ideas for the better
- Hexagonal thinking is a good way to show how ideas connect
- Don’t be afraid to highlight disconnections – people, groups, actions – what can you do to bring them closer to the idea?
- Keep a note of each action suggested by the participants and use this to inform the next prototype