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Developing business ideas for drone technologies
Developing business ideas for drone technologies

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4.2 Primary and secondary stakeholders

A second approach to thinking about your stakeholders is to identify primary and secondary stakeholders. Primary stakeholders are individuals and groups, such as customers and staff, that have an immediate interest in the success of an idea, such as its effectiveness or other day-to-day issues. Secondary stakeholders, on the other hand, may have an interest in the business idea (such as regulatory bodies), but not as specifically as the primary stakeholders. Secondary stakeholders can, however, take an immediate interest, such as when business suppliers want to make sure that business agreements are upheld.

In the case of this second approach, your focus moves to the interest the stakeholder has in your idea. Hill et al. (2020, p. 357) recommend a five-stage approach to identifying and analysing stakeholders:

  1. Identify stakeholders
  2. Identify stakeholders’ interests and concerns
  3. As a result, identify the claims stakeholders are likely to make on the organisation (or idea)
  4. Identify the stakeholders who are most important from the organisation’s perspective (or from the perspective of developing a business idea)
  5. Identify the resulting challenges.

This five-stage approach can help you to think about who may have an interest in your idea and the kinds of concerns they may have. In the fourth stage, you prioritise the stakeholders you’ve identified – what interests and concerns do you need to address first? Then you build into your business plan if and how you can address these interests and concerns. In some cases, you may find that a primary stakeholder can contribute to the success of your business idea, such as an investor or a business partner. Or a primary stakeholder’s needs may require you to address their needs or concerns early in the development process, such as the customers you wish to attract.

One way to help you prioritise stakeholders is to use a power versus interest matrix (see Figure 16) developed by Johnson et al. (2008) adapted from an earlier model (Mendelow, 1991).

Power versus interest matrix. Four quadrants.
Figure 16 Power versus interest matrix

This matrix has become an integral part of identifying stakeholders, such as in managing projects. The four quadrants of the matrix help to prioritise your efforts with your stakeholders by mapping them with respect to the power to influence your business idea or organisation and their level of interest.

  • Quadrant A – these are stakeholders with low power and low interest. They will require minimal effort to satisfy but it is worth continuing to monitor this group of stakeholders in case their interest or power changes.

  • Quadrant B – you will want to keep these stakeholders informed because, even though they have low power over your idea, they are still very interested. It’s also worth mentioning that stakeholders’ power and interest are not static. For example, an interested community group may find an incident or accident with a drone galvanises the group to call for increased safety and privacy. This is particularly important as the general public is still relatively uninformed about civil drone usage (Smith et al., 2022).

  • Quadrant C – these are the stakeholders to keep satisfied. They have high levels of power, such as a regulatory agency, but they will have low interest in directly influencing your idea.

  • Quadrant D – these are the key players as they have a high degree of power and high levels of interest. These are the stakeholder relationships you will want to prioritise first and foremost and ensure your business plan addresses their needs and requirements.

In the next section you will look at how to prioritise stakeholders, using an example from ICAERUS use case 1, crop monitoring, Catalonia.