SWOT> Share a vision
The SWOT matrix is a strategic analysis tool for generating a global vision of a product, service or even team. It allows the group to share a common vision before committing to a project or action plan.
You’ll run this SWOT analysis with the Board tool. You should ask participants to prepare the facts they’ll need ahead of time to contribute to the diagnosis: assessment, studies, data, previously completed tools (BMC, PESTEL, etc.).
This is an analysis based on rational facts.
Prepare your Board:
Activity settings Board
- Activity format: Round by round
- Colours: enabled
- Vote: by Points or Likes
- Categories: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
- Time management: if needed
Present the activity to the group and make sure everyone understands the goal.
Ask them to spend about 10 minutes on the elements they’ve already collected to summarise them for analysis: they can then write the elements down on the Board’s notepad.
Each participant sends their information to the Board’s categories. At this point, you’ll have a veritable inventory of facts to analyse.
Now it’s time to lead the creative phase, which is an essential part of the SWOT activity. During this phase, create 4 new columns (in 4 distinct colours) and, for each of them, add an identical colour to ideas you’ll add to this column (these colours will be used to keep track of the idea’s type during the selection phase).
Position the Strengths and Opportunities columns side by side and add a ‘Chance’ column next to them (you can hide the columns to make it easier to manipulate the Board).
- This category will contain ideas that will answer the following question: ‘How do we harness our strengths to seize opportunities?’
- Ask the group to go through each possible Strengths/Opportunities pairing and to write their ideas in the new ‘Chance’ column – only match-ups that make sense are written here.
Position the Weaknesses and Opportunities columns side by side and add a ‘Challenge’ category:
- Ask the group to speculate on the following issue: ‘How can I make up for my weaknesses by taking advantage of Opportunities?’
- The group goes through each possible pairing and enters into the ‘Challenge’ column the possible ideas for when a Weakness meets an Opportunity
Position the Strengths and Threats columns side by side and add a ‘Conflict’ category:
- Ask the group to speculate on the following issue: ‘How can I use my strengths to fight the Threats?’
- The group goes through each possible pairing and writes possible ideas in the ‘Conflict’ column for when a Strength meets a Threat.
Lastly, position the Weaknesses and Threats columns side by side and add a ‘Danger’ category:
- Ask the group to speculate on the following issue: ‘How can I protect my Weaknesses from Threats?’
- The group goes through each possible pairing and enters into the ‘Danger’ column the possible ideas for when a Weakness encounters a Threat.
The next step is preparing your ideas to implement an action plan. We recommend hiding the original columns (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to make reading the Board easier for participants.
For the 4 remaining columns, group similar ideas together, remove incompatible ideas and then create new categories with the emerging themes (e.g. ‘Price’, ‘Reputation’, ‘Quality’, etc.).
Try to keep the ideas’ colours so you can always identify their origins (chance, challenge, conflict or danger).
These themes that emerge will form the main lines of your strategy.
If you wish to prioritise the first actions to implement, then you can hide all your Board’s columns and only keep the main lines. Participants will only be able to vote on the ideas shown.
When the activity is over, you’ll have a strategy to implement with the main lines and first group actions to take. Write down the initial actions and decisions directly in Beekast in order to anticipate future developments, and then share the session’s meeting notes with the teams involved.
Suggestions and variations
This is a creative SWOT method, which we believe is the best way to define a strategy relying on collective intelligence. But you can, of course, stick with a more traditional SWOT by:
Using the Board as explained in Steps 1 to 2 and 4 to 5.
Using a Matrix activity that you fill in with the help of participants in real-time or that you prepare ahead of time if you simply want them to participate in the evaluation.
This SWOT activity can be used for more than just the company’s strategic topics. It can be useful for other goals too: launching a new product, opening a new site, diving into a new business development segment, resolving a social conflict or creating a partnership.