Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue

In recent years it has become increasingly evident that multi stakeholder dialogues are of utmost importance for social and organizational change and solving complex problems. Such dialogues are needed in many areas and at different levels. The approach to bringing people together to build a shared understanding of a situation by actively listening to each other and then using that shared understanding to create meaning and positive results has become a valuable complementary approach to debate, academic discussions, negotiations, and competitive approaches.

This is also reflected in the excellent book Democratic Dialogue – A Handbook for Practitioners, published by the United Nations and others in 2007, as well as a number of good writings by Otto Scharmer or Adam Kahaene, to name a few.

When we talk about Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue, we are talking about an interactive process that involves all types of stakeholders in decision-making and implementation efforts and/or those who are impacted by the implementation. We are also talking about a process that focuses on increasing understanding and relations among stakeholders and leads towards solutions and preferred shared futures.

Our Experience

Our first steps with this method of facilitation were made with a multi-stakeholder round table on drug-related issues in Delhi. From there we have been involved in creating a safe space for various groups in the Deep South of Thailand where we gained valuable experience about what works and what doesn’t. Since the official foundation of The Change Initiative in 2007/2008, we have had the privilege to be involved in a growing number of multi-stakeholder workshops of various types with people with real challenges and conflicting value systems, needs, and interests.

For example, we facilitated a regional dialogue between faith-based leaders and marginalized groups organized by UNAIDS. We facilitated a dialogue and collaborative action between youth leaders in Uganda, Pakistan, and Myanmar hosted by various political foundations. We have also facilitated real conversation between members of the narcotics police in the Mekong region. These are only a few examples of the work some of our facilitators have been involved in.

A final remark: Some of the approaches and tools we use in facilitating dialogue are taught in our training course: Large Group Facilitation.

If you want to find out how we can help you to initiate and/or facilitate a multi-stakeholder process or dialogue workshop, please contact Jost Wagner at