Data Visualization: A True Stakeholder Map

During my internship at Grontmij I had so extra time during the summer during which I was waiting for feedback on my thesis. This was’t really what I hoped for, but on the other hand I was presented with a wonderful other assignment which I otherwise wouldn’t have had time for.

As a large engineering company Grontmij gets most of its large assignment through tenders. For this they always have to go through multiple rounds and present and write multiple reports, which means that it is always necessary to keep in some creativity to try out new things to keep both the teams and the clients awake.

During the summer a tender was held for all engineering design for the refurbishing of a several km long road that has to become the most sustainable road that is possible. One of the most important scoring points for this tender was showing that you (as a company) were not looking inward but that you had a stakeholder network in the area, and another large scoring point was sustainability in any way possible. This has led the team to talk to a variety of stakeholders and to ask them to think with them about how they could help make the road (and nearby area) as sustainable as possible.

After these talks they compiled a nice table of the stakeholders including what they could do for the project. The information in it was fine, but in this way absolutely useless for a tender document. Luckily there are many creatives in this world, and so one (not me) came up with the idea of putting all the stakeholders on a map from which it could somehow become clear what they were offering.

At this point I came in. I was handed the list, a Google maps screenshot on which the location of most stakeholders was shown and the assignment to figure something out to make it work visually.

I somehow figured that it would be nice to use a hexagon (since hexagons are often used in nature, think for example of a bee-hive) around which the different types of help from the stakeholder could be placed. This led to six different types of help, each with their own symbol, with right in the middle the number that was given to that stakeholder. On the map only the types of help provided by the stakeholder would be shown, all other types of help are left out. In the figure below the legend of this can be found.

Tekening N470 step2

The next step was creating an actual underlay for the stakeholders, so first of all the main characteristics of the landscape were formed in a land-use sketch (often used in architecture to create a quick overview of a landscape or building) to which the main roads, railroads and waterways were added. Also the names of the cities were placed on the respective places in the form a sign that is also normally used in the Netherlands for this. Later on the exact borders of the cities were added to clarify it at certain points. This led to the map below.

Tekening N470 step1

The final step in creating the map was putting all the stakeholders on their respective spots and adding their types of help. In one area a specifically high concentration of stakeholders was found which meant that a loupe was added to magnify this piece (idea stolen from this). That led to the following completed map (without the names of the stakeholders).

Tekening N470 step3-02

In order to incorporate the map into the plan of action two pages had to be used, which meant two pages less text. As a workaround it was decided to make it into a cover for the plan. This meant adding a gutter in the middle, adding some extra text and refining the lay-out. In the end this was used as the cover (with the logos of the stakeholders on the right-hand side).

Voorpagina N470 PvA Final

Unfortunately the tender was lost to a competitor, but I’m sure that it wasn’t due to the work that we did in those weeks and the creation of this awesome stakeholder map.