Develop plan

   Stakeholder Identification Canvas

Ideate a more comprehensive & representative set of relevant stakeholders to your project.

Session Length: 10+ minutes Group Size: Individual or up to 8 people Prep Time: 5 minutes


Stakeholder Identification is best early in the process but is an important step whenever you need to consider the people involved, interested, or impacted by your project or initiative. Revisiting the stakeholders throughout the phases of an effort will ensure that the right set of people, groups, and organizations are being considered. Use this as an ideation strategy before you begin developing your stakeholder engagement strategy.


Considering individuals and organizations who are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by your effort is essential to project success. Characterizing stakeholders helps provide clarity that will be helpful when developing an Engagement Strategy.

This tool will help you identify a more comprehensive set of stakeholders, including groups who may benefit or become burdened — helping you to be mindful of the needs and priorities of the larger community, encouraging a diverse and inclusive approach to collaboration, and considering secondary and tertiary affects.


STEP 1: Begin on the left. In the “Who are all the stakeholders” area, quickly write down potential stakeholders for the topic. Once you’re done, take a look through and begin categorizing & marking stakeholders into groups. If you’re stuck, one common marking to use is those who provide resources (R), permission (P), and/or are decision makers (D).

STEP 2: Now move to the top right half of the canvas. Categorize your stakeholders by moving them to the customers, connectors, and audience of focus areas.

STEP 3: Next, move to the middle right half of the canvas. Answer the prompts in the “Build Empathy” and “Notice Bias & Assumptions” areas.

STEP 4: Evaluate whether this is the full set of stakeholders that need to be considered for this effort. If not, continue to ideate until you can answer “yes” with confidence or have identified a strategy for determining how you might determine whether it is the full set or not..

STEP 5: Lastly, move to the bottom portion of the canvas. Based on the prior discussion, narrow down your list to 2-3 stakeholders that the team needs to understand better. Capture any actions that have arisen in the discussion.

Want to learn more about the equity lens embedded in this tool? Check out this blog post!

Stakeholder Identification Canvas|Worksheet

ITK Stakeholder Identification Canvas


  • Don’t spend too much time in the initial “Who are all the stakeholders” area because you can continue to add stakeholders throughout the canvas and categorizing will help to expand your list.
  • When Building Empathy, it helps to think about who might experience a difference or consequence from the effort.
  • Considering primary, secondary, and tertiary effects of the effort will help you recognize a comprehensive list of stakeholders and vice versa.


Additional questions to help guide the discussion

  1. Who else is important in the customer’s organization?
  2. Who receives from the customers?
  3. Who are the joint stakeholders?
  4. Who has the problem that is being solved?
  5. What community is being served (or not)?
  6. Who is a beneficiary or becomes disadvantaged in this effort?
  7. Who may have been overlooked?
  8. Who is delivering or creating approaches (e.g., potential solutions)?
  9. Who needs to be involved from the community to help inform or develop the approach?
  10. Who is the champion of this effort?
  11. Who are the enablers?
  12. Who may help us get/create buy-in?
  13. Who is an ally?
  14. Who provides governance?
  15. Who are the decision-makers?
  16. Who needs to be involved (esp from the community) in decision-making processes?
  17. Who may have a conflict of interest?
  18. Who will challenge this effort?
  19. Who will block this effort?
  20. Who interfaces with whom?
  21. Who is this project responsible to?
  22. Who must we report to?


  • For any areas of the canvas that remain blank or have little information, do some research to fill in the knowledge gaps.
  • It’s common for teams to iterate between the process of Stakeholder Identification, Analysis, and Engagement.

Download this tool to print out and start using with your team. Each download includes a tool description and if applicable, a template and example.