The National Forest Foundation enlisted the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) to study stakeholder engagement in collaboratives that advise the United States Forest Service in the agency’s stewardship of National Forest System lands.
The project aims to help collaborative group conveners devise and implement structures and strategies to best promote ongoing stakeholder engagement in the collaborative processes. To accomplish this purpose, HNMCP students Brady Bender, Han Ding, and Michael Reiterman, with supervision from Heather Kulp, conducted stakeholder interviews, hosted focus groups, observed collaborative meetings, and reviewed academic literature. The team created a white paper which catalogs reasons that stakeholders engage in—and disengage from—collaborative processes. To complement this white paper, the team also designed a tool that conveners, facilitators, and collaborative members can use to identify collaborative design elements that can aid groups in achieving their work goals or overcoming barriers to stakeholder engagement.
This tool is intended for collaborative groups to use as a starting point for discussion. The elements identified are suggestions, not prescriptions and, by reviewing this tool together, groups may come up with their own elements or ideas about how to address collaborative goals and barriers to engagement.