Saunders Education

How do you engage all the stakeholders in a client workshop?


After a nearly three hour stakeholder workshop recently, with 18 variously involved parties, this seems to be a difficult question to answer.
There were three people who were very vocal; we had a client sponsor who had laid out a 1:1 tape replica of one of the floors outside; specialist groups with seemingly pre-determined spokesmen; and the remainder who asked only one or two questions. To facilitate discussion we bought in a throw-away physical model, 3D BIM model, precedent images and a visual agenda; all intended to assist the interpretation of the design and relationships between spaces, enabling everyone to get individually involved.
In our minds, at the beginning of the meeting we had three options, including various advantages and disadvantages for each. We discussed, created, and reviewed each option with input both from the 1:1 mark-up outside and our physical model. The outcome included a number of specific feedback items and one evolved design that we could develop during the next stage of the process. In theory the workshop was a success, as stakeholders felt fully involved and most importantly they have been able to make a difference.
But are all the stakeholders really happy, as not everyone spoke very much? Is this typical of all engagement workshops? We look forward to the next one to see.