Two Stakeholders

This creative problem solving technique has been designed and tested in the software development world, but is just as applicable to any team looking for a way to generate creative options - especially where stakeholder views are important.

The idea is to generate as many ideas as possible by looking at a problem from different standpoints. Once you have the problem clearly expressed in a way that invites solutions (see here for how to do this), the Two Stakeholder process1 cleverly gets us to look at many diffferent viewpoints.

The structure of the process asks us first to imagine two key stakeholders and use a 'divergent thinking' mindset (no judgement of ideas, be as imaginative as possible, go for quantity of ideas not quality, and use others' ideas as further inspiration) to generate as many ideas as possible that would appeal to both these stakeholders.

We then repeat the exercise looking for ideas that would appeal to one stakeholder but not the other, and round off by looking at other possibilities that would not appeal to either of these stakeholders. When we have all these ideas, we can then apply convergent thinking techniques to pull out the highest quality, most feasible options.


Designed originally to improve Requirements Elicitation in software development, there is evidence that this process produces more, and higher quality, ideas than brainstorming1

Quick Tip for Teams or Individuals

(1 hour - or less if you allocate less time to each step)

1. Think of a challenge you or your team are facing at the moment.

2. Formulate the challenge as a question that invites a creative solution.

3. Follow the Two Stakeholders process as your divergent thinking process.

4. Select the most promising option using the convergent thinking guidelines.

The next job is the biggest part of all - making it happen! You might want to have a look at our 'Managing Stakeholders' page, which will give you more tips and briefing about how to handle this important phase.


1 This process is known formally by the name 'EPMcreate', and is generalisable to consider any number of stakeholders. See the following: Victoria Sakhnini, Luisa Mich, and Daniel M. Berry. The effectiveness of an optimized EPMcreate as a creativity enhancement technique for Web site requirements elicitation, Requirements Engineering (2012) 17:3, 171-186. (see here); Victoria Sakhnini, Luisa Mich, and Daniel M. Berry. "Group versus individual use of power-only EPMcreate as a creativity enhancement technique for requirements elicitation." Empirical Software Engineering (2017), 22:4, 2001-2049. (see here)