Evolutionary Stakeholder Discovery

Evolutionary Stakeholder Discovery is a recruitment technique using multiple waves of invitation and creating optimal criteria that the participating stakeholders may represent.

Problems and Purpose

Evolutionary Stakeholder Discovery is a recruitment technique developed by Dialogic Design to ensure the selection sample is fair, inclusive, and reflects a community's contributions and perspectives. [1]

Origins and Development

Evolutionary Stakeholder Discovery was developed by Peter Jones of the innovation research firm Redesign Network.[2] Peter used the method in 2012 to recruit participants to a design lab organized by Toronto's Strategic Innovation Lab as part of a multi-stakeholder panel for the SSHRC Imagining Canada's Future initiative.[1]

How it Works

The process of Evolutionary Stakeholder Discovery reveals stakeholders several “waves” of invitations sent in batches to stakeholders that meet certain subsets and intersections of pre-determined criteria. Each batch captures an inclusive set of categories, and are continually sent until all gaps in the criteria are filled. The sampling is often attuned for knowledge and power/influence depending on the political or organizational contexts. Political perspective/leaning may also be considered. The process generally takes 3-weeks.[1]

Analysis and Lessons Learned

While the process is labour intensive and time-consuming, those who use it stand by its results.[3] According to its developer, Peter Jones, the technique is notable for its flexibility: "the Evolutionary approach, consistent with Third-Phase (or post-normal) Science, ensures that the evolutionary discovery returns the products of our learning to the context of the dialogue itself. We can see this as a classical wicked problem dynamic, where the problem frame shifts a bit as we discover the stakeholders interested in the initial framing. Working with a core group [...] we continually reviewed the stakeholder selections and triggering question, adjusting the question as we understood the variety of interests identified with participants."[1]

See Also


[1] Peter Jones, “Discovery Sampling for Requisite Social Variety,” Design Dialogues, September 16, 2018,

[2] “ABOUT,” Design Dialogues, accessed May 2, 2019,

‌[3] Annie Rappeport, “Who Will You Invite? An Exploration of Stakeholder Selection in Dialogue and Deliberation,” NCDD, March 4, 2019,

External Links 


Lead image: Design Dialogues,