Trends Environmental Scan

By Gail Martin,2014-05-16 23:04
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Strength Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis. SWOT analysis is a general technique, involving the generation and recording of the strengths


    The real art of discovery consists not in finding new lands

    but in seeing with new eyes

     Marcel Proust

Trends or Patterns (Environmental Scan)

    Trends, Environmental Scan is "a kind of radar to scan the world, systematically and

    signify the new, the unexpected, the major, and the minor" (Brown and Weiner cited in

    Morrison and Held, 1989).

    Scan in the areas of funding, technology, political, physical space or facilities, economics,

    social and demographics. Others?

Trend Types


    Events one-time or non-repeatable phenomenon, usually visible or dramatic, which has

    a short-term effect on a system. An event focuses on an occurrence at one point in time

    (Friedel & Lapin, 1995). An event is a discrete, confirmable occurrence that makes the

    future different from the past (Morrison & Held 1989)

    Emerging Issues

    An emerging issue is a potential controversy that arises out of a trend or event, which

    may require some sort of response (Morrison & Held 1989).

    Wildcards the what ifs; low probability of occurrence, but could have high impact

    (Rockfellow, 1994)

Scenario Planning

    Scenarios (Schwartz, 1991) are stories that pose alternative futures for the organization,

    based on assumptions about current trends and events. Usually a best-case scenario,

    worst case scenario, and a scenario somewhere in between are developed to map out

    the ranges of possible futures the organization might face, the threats and opportunities

    each future might pose, and what the "critical success factors" might be in addressing

    those futures (Leidecker and Bruno, 1984).

    The main benefit of constructing scenarios is to promote learning to plausible, though

    perhaps unlikely, futures; and develop strategies better able to handle most eventualities

    (de Gues, 1988, Shwartz, 1991).

Strength Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis

    SWOT analysis is a general technique, involving the generation and recording of the strengths,

    weaknesses, opportunities. It is customary for the analysis to take account of internal resources

    and capabilities (strengths and weakness) and factors external to the organization (opportunities

    and threats). Benefits SWOT analysis can provide:

    Though SWOT is practiced a lot, some feel the approach is not useful in today’s diverse and

    unstable markets. They also suggest that it can be ineffective as a means of analysis because

    of the generation of long lists, may be a slow process when fast is important.

     2 CStrategies February 2002



    ? What are your advantages?

    ? What do you do well?

    ? What do other people see as your strengths?

Consider this from your own point of view and from the point of view of the people you

    work with. Don't be modest - be realistic and bold.


    ? What could you improve?

    ? What do you do badly?

    ? What should you avoid?

Again, consider this from an internal and external basis - do other people seem to

    perceive weaknesses that you do not see? Are your competitors doing any better than

    you? Be realistic now. We often think we are better than we really are.


    ? Where are the good opportunities facing you?

    ? What are the interesting trends you are aware of?

    ? Opportunities can come from: Changes in technology and markets, changes in policy.

    Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, etc.


    ? What obstacles do you face?

    ? What is your competition doing?

    ? Are the requirements for your service changing?

    ? Is changing technology threatening?

    ? Do you have funding problems?

    SWOT Analysis Framework

    Environmental Scan

     / \

    Internal Analysis External Analysis

    / \ / \

    Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats


    SWOT Matrix

    2 CStrategies February 2002

A SWOT analysis helps find the best match between environmental trends (opportunities and threats) and

    internal capabilities.

    ? A strength is a resource or capacity the organization can use effectively to achieve its objectives.

    ? A weakness is a limitation, fault, or defect in the organization that will keep it from achieving its


    ? An opportunity is any favorable situation in the organization’s environment. It is usually a trend

    or change of some kind or an overlooked need that increases demand for a product or service and

    permits the firm to enhance its position by supplying it.

    ? A threat is any unfavorable situation in the organization’s environment that is potentially

    damaging to its strategy. The threat may be a barrier, a constraint, or anything external that might

    cause problems, damage or injury.

    The first part of any SWOT analysis is to collect a set of key facts about the organization and its

    environment. This will include facts about the organization’s markets, competition, financial resources,

    facilities, employees, inventories, market; management, environmental setting (e.g. technology, political,

    social, and economic trends), history and reputation.

     2 CStrategies February 2002

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