At the outset of an organization, and at various stages in its life cycle, there are a given number of positive and negative factors it faces. These factors are commonly broken down into four categories that can be analyzed, so that informed decisions about the organization, it’s projects, and/or products and services can be made. The decisions often become the objectives for the organization. These four categories are: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The first letter of each is where the acronym SWOT is derived.
Strengths are positive qualities that the organization has right now. Examples include: well known and recognized brands, competent or experienced team members, and qualified leadership.
Weaknesses are deficiencies or things that the organization is missing. They’re generally internal factors. These can be a lack of resources, high staff turnover, or an unclear breakdown of the roles and responsibilities.
Opportunities are either internal or external potential, such as market growth, new technologies (these could either make new products possible or existing products more affordable, etc.), or supporting trends.
This category tends to speak for itself, but while the most common threat is arguably competition, there are other factors that can pose a threat to an organization. These are things like new government regulations, or a lack of executive support.
SWOT Analysis workshops often use a template that breaks these four categories into quadrants. These quadrants are displayed as a two by two grid, also known as a SWOT Matrix. Traditionally these are paper templates that are used to record findings from a group of participants in a workshop setting. Alternate templates feature a fifth category, often a circle overlapping the center of the four quadrants.
A workshop facilitator must select the appropriate temple, the right participants, as well as a date and time to host the workshop. Then, it’s on them to gather the participants together and explain the purpose of the workshop, as we did in the beginning of this post. Next it’s time to actually conduct the workshop. The stages or phases of the workshop will depend upon the template or framework that the facilitator has chosen.
Common to almost all workshops though, is a general education session, a collaborative discussion, a phase where the discussion findings are recorded, followed by final group discussion and review of the findings.
After the workshop, it’s then on the facilitator or team member delegated by the facilitator, to record the analog findings and share them with both the workshop participants, and the organization at large.
Idea Hunt is working hard to digitize the traditional, analog processes for meetings like SWOT Analysis, Brainstorming, and more. Check out the Templates Page or log into the app, to see all of the templates that we’ve digitized!