Holistic Impact Assessment

Holistic Impact Assessment

When assessing the impact of solutions, take a systemic and holistic view.

Identify all the stakeholders and the effects of your solutions. Create a map correlating the stakeholders to the effects. Then, keep iterating to increase positive and decrease negative effects.

1 Hours
  • Large paper
  • Flip pad
  • Markers
  • Design Team
The HCD Toolkit
and all HCD methods are licensed under: Creative Commons License
Instructions for this Method
  1. Try to create a complete list of all the individual stakeholders that your solution might touch – in positive, negative, or neutral ways. Remember to include stakeholders that your team may not be focused on, such as: funders, people in the same community or adjacent communities who are not receiving direct benefits, and non-human stakeholders such as animals, the environment, and natural resources

  2. Convert the list into a map (like the example in Practical Pointers below). Write the name of the solution on a large paper or pad in a place where you can refer to it often. Write the names of the primary stakeholders who will be affected by the solution and draw a line connecting them. Next, from each primary stakeholder, draw a line to the secondary stakeholders that will be affected by the solution.

  3. Keep going by mapping more and more stakeholders, including human and non-human stakeholders. When you are finished, have the team assess which of the stakeholders might be better off as a result of the solution, and which might be negatively affected. Develop methods and techniques to measure the impact on the stakeholders who might be affected.

  4. As you see and track the effects of a solution, write the effects on the map. Color-code the stakeholders that receive benefits from the solution and those that experience negative effects. If possible, quantify the value of the effects.

  5. Continue to improve on the solutions to find ways to increase the positive effects and lessen negative effects. Capture thoughts and learnings in a section of the map so that it becomes a living document for helping the team learn and engage in discussion.


Example diagram/map showing stakeholders and their relationship to solutions.

Discuss this Method