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Bild: td-netmehr

Risk & equity matrix

The risk & equity matrix helps to review how equitably risks, costs and benefits are distributed amongst parties involved in a research process; and to address risk mitigation strategies.

Strength of the method:The method has potential to increase transparency, trust, and a common understanding of different preconditions for involved parties of the project.
To be considered:

While the original source states that this method helps to discuss how to distribute risks, benefits and costs more equitably, the td-net web portal’s editors are hesitant to recommend to aspire equitable distribution. The method can help to make different stances and preconditions of the involved parties explicit, though. This may lay a foundation to discuss how to alleviate certain difficult preconditions. It may also lay a foundation to specify roles (but the method does not specify roles per se). The editorial board also recommends to clarify what the discussed risks refer to: it suggests to focus on the risks of the involved parties (vs. risks of the project’s impact on the situation).

Read here about the rationale of the brief factsheets (in comparison to method profiles of the td-net toolbox):


stimulate systematic consideration of potential impacts for all parties involved in a research process.

launch a discussion on different preconditions regarding the projects and potential ways to alleviate – where necessary and feasible – preconditions that complicate the process.
Location in td process phases:Can be applied anytime.
The matrix may be set up during the problem framing phase, serve as monitoring tool in the course of the project and as evaluation tool at the end of a project.
Bridging thought styles:

The matrix increases the understanding amongst the involved parties for their differing positions (regarding individual costs, benefits and risks, and mitigation strategies). It is helps to lay a basis for further knowledge integration, e.g. by creating transparency, trust and a shared understanding of the different perspectives/stances on the project (not necessarily on the content/topic).

Time required to implement the method:Depending on the number of involved parties and collaboration experience amongst them.
Preparation required:
  • Prepare matrix sheet for each involved party
  • Design a format how the sheet for each involved party is completed jointly with the project leader (or project leader team)
  • Clarify how the individual sheets for each party should be shared and discussed amongst all involved parties
Expertise required:

Low to mediate
MIT Governance Lab provides guiding questions for the conversations with stakeholders.

Convener & participants:

The project leader is often the convener. The completion of the matrix is considered a two-way exercise, jointly conducted with the involved parties.

For a detailed description of the method (online, open access), please visit:

Resource compilation in which it appears:

Provided by:Alisa Zomer, Selmah Goldberg (MIT Governance Lab)
Recommended by:Gabriele Bammer,

Integration and Implementation Sciences (i2S) website