Systems Thinking Using SSM and TRIZ for Stakeholder Engagement in Infrastructure Megaprojects

Johan Ninan, Ibukun Phillips, Shankar Sankaran, Swaminathan Natarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Infrastructure megaprojects straddle multiple stakeholder boundaries who have an interest in the project and are affected by the project. Multiple papers in the literature stress the need for holistic approaches to stakeholder engagement, as existing approaches only address the concerns of the noisy stakeholders. This research proposes an innovative approach in which Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is used for understanding stakeholder concerns, complemented by the use of Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) for identifying innovative solutions to address conflicting stakeholder goals. The researchers simulated the stakeholder engagement of the Coimbatore metro rail project, in India, through a workshop setting in a classroom to check the feasibility of this approach for stakeholder engagement. The 15 participants of the workshop were divided into four groups representing different stakeholders of the project. Data was collected through participant observations by the authors and oral feedback from the participants. The results show that while SSM helped to capture the concerns and goals of each stakeholder, TRIZ helped to identify and dissolve conflicts among these goals through innovative solutions. The theoretical, practical and pedagogical contributions are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Pages (from-to)48
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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