Methods and tools team – crafting tools for peace

Published on Monday, 31st of August 2015

The methods and tools team develops new methods to help facilitate peace processes.

Methods and tools team from the left: analyst Mikko Patokallio, analyst Juha Törmänen and senior manager Mikaeli Langinvainio.

Successful peace processes need experienced mediators, but also flexible process design which favours creativity. At CMI, we strongly emphasise the development of new approaches and practices, which allow for adaptable yet systematic process design.

Before any concrete effort to a peace process is made, a solid conflict analysis and actor mapping is critical. This lays the groundwork for successful process design. Who is involved and how? What is being discussed, to what end, and when? How to do we structure the discussion and the overall process? How do we measure change?

The answers to these questions also change constantly during the process. We need active monitoring and analysis to ensure that our design continues to match the evolving environment and support the end goals.

Looking for the best approaches

CMI’s methods and tools team works closely with the other teams to support their work. The methodologies we use and develop help to structure and support the mediation and dialogue processes. Our underlying philosophy is that the responsibility for reaching a sustainable solution rests with the conflict parties. Our responsibility is to assist them in finding that solution.

We base the development of our methods on two complementary pillars. Firstly, we continuously seek to distil the best practices from our own programme. Secondly, we actively follow and adopt the best approaches from both the broader peacebuilding community, and other scientific disciplines and professional practices.

Innovative designs

We have been able to develop some components that we perceive as rather unique in our field. These include new ways of working on-line, visualising the results of the conflict analysis and the participants’ views, using data mining to capture key messages from inclusive consultation processes, and building roadmapping methodologies that enable the considerations of political positions alongside more technical components of the process.


Looking ahead, we see two different goals. On one hand, some of the methods should be mainstreamed even more broadly within CMI and possibly beyond. On the other hand, we hope to be able to retain our curiosity and continuous learning, so that our programme can continue to be a responsible test bed for innovation.

This article was first published as part of CMI’s Annual Report 2014-2015. The report is available here as PDF and here as a web version.

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