Guidance for generating multi-stakeholder solutions to global problems
Dr. Peter Vogel,one of the GES’s Young Fellows 2013, has worked on a concept for solving global problems.
The world we live in is becoming increasingly complex and interdependent. Traditional institutions are having difficulties keeping up with the pace of change that we are facing and as a consequence solving global problems. In order to solve the world’s most pressing issues, we need to implement multi-stakeholder solutions (MSS) that span across sectors, geographies, philosophies, languages, races, religions and all other potentially imaginable barriers.
So how can we implement MSS? Inspired by a paper I wrote on entrepreneurship ecosystems for the G20 Youth Forum, I’d like to highlight a few thoughts and recommendations:
- What’s the problem you’re trying to solve and what is your proposed solution? As with every other major problem solving strategy, you need to start by clearly articulating the problem that you are planning to solve. Sounds easy? In fact, the majority of people have a really hard time putting the problem and solution statement into a short and concise “elevator pitch”-like format; a format that everyone can understand and a format that raises everyone’s attention. This is, in many ways, the most essential step of the process as all the other steps are derived from it.
- How do you know that you are successful at what you‘re doing? Once your problem and solution proposal have been clearly stated, you need to specify how you’re planning to measure the success of your solution. What is your Key Performance Indicator (KPI)? To give you a practical example related to entrepreneurship ecosystems – which is also one of the discussion topics of the 2014 GES: There are multiple potentially relevant KPIs, ranging from the number of new ventures created, the number of new high-growth ventures created, the number of jobs created by new ventures, the number of unemployed individuals that have entered the workforce by starting a new venture, the aggregated taxes paid by all new ventures, etc. There is no “one-size-fits-all” KPI and it really depends on what you want to do to identify the most suitable KPI. Who do you need to report to? What are their goals and concerns? How are you satisfying them?
- Who are the key stakeholders that you need to take into account? MSS need to account for at least two of the following groups of stakeholders: (1) government and international institutions, (2) corporations and businesses, (3) civil society including NGOs and NPOs (e.g. schools and universities), and (4) individual citizens. Which of these stakeholders are essential to implement your solution?
- Involve all the stakeholders from the beginning! Once you have decided which are the key stakeholders for your solution you should start reaching out to these stakeholders and get key opinion leaders from all the relevant stakeholder groups onto one table to ensure that you really implement a MSS.
- Coordination and supervision, not regulation! For many solutions, policy could take on a facilitating and enabling role rather than a regulating role. Nonetheless there is a certain degree of regulation that is needed, depending on the problem that is being addressed.
- Focus on the heroes! Who are the solution champions in your group of stakeholders? Involve them and make sure that they serve as role models for others to follow. Embrace them and make sure that they act as a source of inspiration for other people.
Employing a multi-stakeholder perspective allows us to tackle some of the most complex global issues; issues like those that are being addressed at the Global Economic Symposium. I hope that this short write-up serves as guidance for all GES solution providers when preparing their write-ups.
Dr. Peter Vogel (@pevogel) is a serial entrepreneur and scholar. His work focuses on entrepreneurship ecosystems and the youth labor market. His upcoming book “Generation Jobless?” explores the current youth unemployment crisis and takes a multi-stakeholder perspective to showcase best-practice solutions from around the world.