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An actor map is a visual depiction of the key organizations and individuals that influence a topic, allowing insight into the players within a system. Breaking down the mapping process into 3 stages—preparation, facilitation, and revision—this guide provides detailed instructions, helpful hints, and visual examples for practitioners to follow as they create one type of system map called an actor map.

Top Takeaways

  1. Actor maps is intended to identify opportunities to improve a system's overall performance. For example, this could be done by observing where connections are weak or where gaps could be filled.
  2. Due to the complexity of systems, no 2 actor maps will be exactly alike. This guide helps practitioners create an actor mapping process customized to the specific context of their evaluation or initiative.
  3. Creating a comprehensive actor map requires both explicit data from evaluations and studies, and implicit knowledge from the participants. Making sure you have the right actors at the table, as well as a variety of supporting data, will lead to a more useful map.