Knowing your audience

The Alignment, Interest and Influence Matrix (AIIM): A Basic Introduction

By 4 January 2012

AIIM is a stakeholder analysis tool.

It is often used in a workshop setting and works best when it involves a diverse group of project partners – each with insights into different actors or parts of the policy landscape. After defining the objectives of the intervention and carrying out some background context analysis (or in-depth research depending on the degree of complexity of the challenge), AIIM can be used to help clarify where the main target audiences and targets stand in relation to its objectives and possible influencing approaches.

The first step of the process is to identify and list all the actors (or stakeholders) who might affect the policy outcome. If you are short of time time focus your attention on the most influential, relevant or well-known policy actors. These may be organisations, networks, groups, departments, teams or even individual members. The level of focus will depend, in part, on how specific the policy objective is.

The second step of the process is to map actors onto a matrix according to their level of alignment and interest. This should be based on evidence about their current behaviours and therefore it is important to consider their discourse, attitudes, the procedures they follow, and the content of their formal and informal statements relting to different policy options.

The third step is to start to start planning how to move all the actors into the highly aligned and highly interested corner of your matrix.

If you have a great many actors on your matrix then stop and consider just how influential they are. For this optional fourth step mark the most influential, and prioritise them.

A fifth step involves the development of a pathway of change for your target audiences. This step can be supported by other steps of the ODI ROMA process, but in essence it involves suggesting the trajectory that you expect and hope that each actor will follow. Each point along this context-sensitive pathway must describe a specific change in behaviour. This process could also be supported by developing a Theory of Change.

This information comes from  ODI RAPID paper ‘The Alignment, Interest and Influence Matrix (AIIM)’ written by Enrique Mendizabal.