A tool to create a visual overview of all the actors that have an influence on the problem you are trying to solve. The Actor Network shows all the actors involved, their relationship and their level of influence on the problem and the solution.
Creating an Actor Network will trigger thoughts about your role in relation to the stakeholders involved. It will help you to identify opportunities for new connections beyond the “usual suspects” in your network and it can help to ensure all perspectives are taken into account during the design process.
1. Write down all the actors (person, organization, object, technology, etc.) who are connected to the design challenge that you are working on.
Note: if you have created a vision, you can also review it to see if that might help you identify other actors.
2. Group the actors in clusters (for instance: facilitators, donors, technologies, businesses, knowledge inst. etc). Assign a color to each group.
3. Draw circles representing each actor:
• The size of the circles represent their importance in relation to the others. For instance this organisation is bigger than the other because the relationship is stronger.
• The colors identify the group the actor belongs to. For instance, Artificial Intelligence and 3D printing are green because they belong to the group “technology”.
• Visualise how the groups relate to each other by using lines and/or arrows.
Tip: Actors can play different roles: look beyond the first label you put on the different actors. For example: a mother can also be a wife, an Instagram user, a consumer, a dancer, an entrepreneur or employee etc.
The actor network can help to focus your activities on certain targets or topics according to who is involved. It can help you move beyond the current actors and explore new partnerships.
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