SWOT Analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or organization. SWOT Analysis can be used to "kick off" strategy formulation, or in a more sophisticated way as a serious strategy tool.
Common used of SWOT Analysis include:
- Develop and build organization or personal strategy.
- Brainstorming and recording to organize information as a communication device.
- Reveal possibilities and limitations for change.
When to use it?
Adapt: to identify organizational or situation capabilities adapt our organization to better fit its environment.
Generate: to determine where change is possible. If at a juncture or turning point, an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses can reveal priorities as well as possibilities.
Implement: to make decisions about the best path for your initiative. Identifying your opportunities for success in context of threats to success can clarify directions and choices.
How to do it?
Define the basic goal you are considering and clarify the reasons for pursuing that direction
Assess the organization’s:
Strengths: what about your organization give your innovation an advantage over others? What are your organization’s capabilities in technology, operations, people, knowledge or skill sets?
Weaknesses: what aspects of you current organization will make it difficult for your objective to be realized? How do you weaknesses put you at a disadvantage?
Opportunities: what is happening in the “market-place” that indicate the likelihood that your innovation intent will succeed? Where are the gaps in offerings that you can filly? Why are they not currently being met?
Threats: what are the external threats to realize you innovation intent? What elements exist in the current environment that will be barriers?
Organize finding into a 2 x 2 SWOT diagram using brief statement (no more than 7 or 8 per quadrant)
Determine the relationships between the quadrants. For example, what opportunities do our strengths open up? What threats are also opportunities? How can our strengths compensate for our weaknesses? What opportunities are there to improve on our weaknesses?
The most common users of a SWOT analysis are team members who are responsible for decision-making and strategic planning, or are attempting to address a common issue or problem. An individual or small group can develop a SWOT analysis but it will be more effective if you take advantage of many stakeholders as it offers different perspectives on strengths and weaknesses through different experiences.
SWOT analysis are usually completed in a short period of time, approximately 30 – 60 minutes.
Pros and Cons
- The success of SWOT is mainly owed to its simplicity and flexibility as it does not require technical knowledge or skills.
- Can be utilized as a foresight method – in particular when examining opportunities and threats.
- Correlations can be made between internal factors (strengths/weaknesses) and external (opportunities/threats) to develop actions that are mutually reinforcing.
In developing a SWOT, there may be a tendency for oversimplification or use of ambiguous language in communicating the analysis. The use of multi-perspectives may counter this trend as addition insight may require additional clarity and insight.