The MSP Guide
How to Design and Facilitate Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships

Paper: 978 1 85339 965 7 / $39.95
Published: June 2016  

Publisher: Practical Action
188 pp., 6 1/8" x 9 1/5"
4-color throughout
In recent years, multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) have become popular for tackling the complex challenges of sustainable development. This guide provides a practical framework for the design and facilitation of these collaborative processes that work across the boundaries of business, government, civil society and science. The guide links the underlying rationale for multi-stakeholder partnerships, with a clear four phase process model, a set of seven core principles, key ideas for facilitation and 60 participatory tools for analysis, planning and decision making.

The guide has been written for those directly involved in MSPs – as a stakeholder, leader, facilitator or funder – to provide both the conceptual foundations and practical tools that underpin successful partnerships.

What’s inside draws on the direct experience of staff from the Centre of Development Innovation (CDI), at Wageningen University & Research Centre, in supporting MSP processes in many countries around the world. The guide also compiles the ideas and materials behind CDI’s annual three week international course on facilitating MSPs and social learning.

This work has been inspired by the motivation and passion that comes when people dare to “walk in each other’s shoes” to find new paths toward shared ambitions for the future.

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction

2. Multi-stakeholder partnerships
What are Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships?
Characteristics of an MSP
Different MSPs for different purposes
Who is involved in an MSP?
Designing and facilitating an MSP process
When is an MSP the right choice?

3. Designing the process
Process matters
The process model
Phase 1: Initiating
Phase 2: Adaptive planning
Phase 3: Collaborative action
Phase 4: Reflective monitoring
Process design in practice

4. Seven principles that make MSP effective
Principle 1: Embrace systemic change
Principle 2: Transform institutions
Principle 3: Work with power
Principle 4: Deal with conflict
Principle 5: Communicate effectively
Principle 6: Promote collaborative leadership
Principle 7: Foster participatory learning

5. From design to practice
The human dimension
Getting organized

6. Choosing tools
Tools for connection
Tools for shared language
Tools for divergence
Tools for co-creation
Tools for convergence
Tools for commitment

7. MSPs in action
A civil society perspective
A business platform perspective
A public sector perspective
A producer organization’s perspective
A science perspective

8. Additional Resources

Reviews & Endorsements:
“Managing multi-stakeholder partnerships is both an art and a science. This guide offers both practical guidance and unique insights drawn from real experience, providing the most comprehensive resource available on the subject.”
- Lisa Dreier, Head of Food Security and Agriculture Initiatives, World Economic Forum USA
“Multi-stakeholder partnerships are, although not the easiest, certainly the most effective way forward to make sure no one is left behind when taking decisions that affect us all. I am struck by the amount of experience and quality of insight gathered in this guide, which echo many situations we encounter at the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) throughout our continuing learning journey to ensure inclusive policies for zero hunger and malnutrition.”
- Gerda Verburg, Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS)