- Define the goal or objective
- Brainstorm and review strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) in the context of the objective.
The key consideration before starting the analysis is to establish and agree the focus, whether you are working on your own or with a group in a meeting or workshop. Before any idea generation, determine what is the objective to be analysed and which feature(s) of the organisation, product or individual are to be examined in a given work session. In facilitation terms, we talk about identifying the focus question.
- Given our objective, what is it about the situation of our organisation/products/staff that needs to be addressed by strategy.
An example of this is:
Use this focus throughout the SWOT analysis - keep coming back to the objective - there may be many internal and external factors that might be considered but not all will be relevant to achieving the objective.
Stay within the context of the analysis. For a given session, it might be decided to focus only on selected capabilities, resources, performance or assets. This might be driven by the need to define strategy for a given market or product or for operational improvements. The focus might be on people, processes or technology. Agree what this focus needs to be and then work with it.
It is also useful to think of a next level of focus questions to help with the idea generation and to help control the analysis session.
If you are using MindGenius to undertake the SWOT analysis, you can use the 'Question Set' feature to define the questions and to use the question set to help drive the initial idea generation and analysis. This can help:
- Maintain the focus
- Break the idea generation and analysis into more manageable chunks
- Stimulate ideas
- Sequence or group the ideas.
In brainstorm mode, open the relevant question set, select each question in turn and add the ideas.
Each idea can be linked to the question it relates to - in this example it is useful to know whether an idea is a strength, weakness, opportunity or threat, for instance. If ideas come up that relate to questions reviewed previously, then move back to the relevant question, select it and then add the idea. However this is not critical as the ideas will be reviewed again later.
Use this new map to review the ideas generated thus far, expand on ideas or to add new ones.
More sophisticated question sets will provide further focus, segmentation and depth. Take a look at the default question set for SWOT analysis to see an example.
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