When I visited TechFestival in Copenhagen last September I had a conversation with a Swedish NGO representative. She at the end of our conversation quickly pulled out her phone and by answering a handful questions captured she had met me as open data relevant stakeholder, how and why she thought it was of interest. This caught my eye as something useful for my company as well, especially now that we have more people out there bumping into different actors in our field.

I installed a LimeSurvey instance on one of my company’s domain names and created a very simple survey that asks for who did you meet, where/how that happened, the type of stakeholder it is, and why you think it is of interest, plus who is filling the questions out.

The survey, collecting 5 pieces of information.

At the back-end we will look at whether this captures useful info, and how to pipe it into activities. For instance who to follow on social media, or to add to a rss reader. Or who to connect to whom, or whom to approach.

I asked all colleagues to add the little survey as a button on their phone’s home screen, so that capturing is as easy as possible. Like in the white circle on the image below.

Not that we are out and about these days, as we’re as locked down at home as everyone in the Netherlands. However we’ll bump into stakeholders online too, and we’ll start there. In a few weeks we’ll evaluate how things worked or not, what to tweak and what to do as follow up (the mapping part of stakeholder mapping).

The bookmark as button on my phone’s home screen, in the white circle.

Through a posting of Roel I came across Rick Klau again, someone who like me was blogging about knowledge management in the early ’00s. These days his writing is on Medium it seems.

Browsing through his latest posts, I came across this one about homebrew contact management.

Contact management is one area where until now I mostly stayed away from automating anything.
First and foremost because of the by definition poor initial data quality that you use to set it up (I still have 11 yr old contact info on my phone because it is hard to delete, and then gets put back due to some odd feedback loop in syncing).
Second, because of the risk of instrumentalising the relationships to others, instead of interacting for its own sake.
Third, because most systems I encountered depend on letting all your mail etc flow through it, which is a type of centralisation / single point of failure I want to avoid.

There’s much in Rick’s post to like (even though I doubt I’d want to shell out $1k/yr to do the same), and there are things in there I definitely think useful. He’s right when he says that being able to have a better overview of your network in terms of gender, location, diversity, background etc. is valuable. Not just in terms of contacts, but in terms of information filtering when you follow your contacts in several platforms etc.

Bookmarked to come up with an experiment. Timely also because I just decided to create a simple tool for my company as well, to start mapping stakeholders we encounter. In Copenhagen last September I noticed someone using a 4 question page on her phone to quickly capture she met me, the context and my organisation. When I asked she said it was to have an overview of the types of organisations and roles of people she encountered in her work, building a map as it were of the ecosystem. Definitely something I see the use of.

Handshakes and conversations is what I’m interested in, not marketing instruments. Image Handshake by Elisha Project, license CC BY SA