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Individual Creativity Exercise

SWOT Analysis

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Brief description of creativity technique

SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing the four aspects - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats - of a business. Each of these factors needs to be carefully examined to plan the growth of the organization by making the information gathered about a specific issue systematic and provides key information for defining strategies and positioning in the market.

Such factors may be:

  • Internal factors can be positive (strengths) or negative (weaknesses) and are manageable, as they can be controlled and if necessary modified or improved.

  • External factors can be positive (opportunities) or negative (threats) and are cannot be controlled.

 

This technique works also on a personal level as it supports those who are looking for a job, or who already have one, in identifying their professional potential and weaknesses, and considering that it is often asked during a job interview.

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Exercise for skills at the level of:

Individual

Leadership

Team

Organization

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Learning objectives of the exercise

SWOT analysis guides students on company's competitive position evaluation and strategic planning development.

It facilitates in a simple way students to get a realistic, fact-based, data-driven look at the strengths and weaknesses of an organization or initiatives.

SWOT technique works to emphasize students’ collaboration. It also helps to encourage students to think critically, be analytical and attentive to details.

Besides, the analysis also helps students to identify areas of improvement and goal settings. Doing a SWOT analysis for a student helps him to achieve a clear picture of where he stands.

 

The application of the SWOT technique does not depend on the level of competence of the students and there is no problem to include students from different levels in this kind of analysis.

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Skills developed/enhanced by the exercise

Adaptability

Communication

Collaboration

Curiosity

Initiative

Leadership

Problem-solving

Self-discipline

Tolerance of ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity

Others, please specify

Attentiveness

Confidence

Critical Thinking

Divergent thinking skills

Inventiveness

Negotiating skills

Resilience

Strategic thinking

Visualisation

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Duration

In person: SWOT analysis requires a lot of free and creative thinking so cannot be completed in a quick brainstorming session, but it is essential to come back to it after some time to evaluate it again.

 

Online: same as in person

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How many people are needed?

Teams of 5-7 students each.

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Materials required

In person: a sheet of paper/dashboard and stickers to write ideas or a collaborative diagramming tool (Mural, Realtime board, …)

 

Online: a collaborative diagramming tool (Mural, Realtime board, …)

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Instructions for conducting the exercise

Step 1. Facilitator divides students into teams

Step 2. Facilitator writes and explains to teams a well-defined and realistic problem

 

Step 3. Facilitator asks the teams to brainstorm about the problem following the rules:

  • Ideas are offered in a rapid-fire manner, moving quickly from person to person (max 5 minutes)

  • Ideas are offered as single words or short phrases

  • Ideas are not evaluated  or clarified (that will come in next steps)

 

Each team focuses on a single factor area at a time. It is also possible to go back and forth on the 2 Internal and 2 External factors. It is preferable in each of the 4 factor areas, write no more than 15 and no less than 10 ideas.

Step 4. For each of the 4 factor areas, Facilitator asks each team to consolidate ideas examining duplicate points, to simplify the list as much as possible while still capturing distinct areas of strength, to clarify any ideas that participants have questions about

 

Step 5. Facilitator asks each team to identify and summarize the Top Three Strengths

 

Step 6. Facilitator asks each team to repeat previous steps for Weaknesses.

 

Step 7. Facilitator asks each team to repeat the previous step for Opportunities.

 

Step 8. Facilitator asks each team to repeat the previous step for Threats.

 

Step 9. Once each team finishes, it is possible to have a better understanding of the internal and external realities facing them, and chart and plan a course forward.

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Case study from desk research

This technique has been used and is recursively used by many companies, including Coca Cola, Amazon, Google, Ferrero.

As part of the Business Organisation course of the Bachelor degree at the Department of Business and Management of the Luiss Guido Carli University, case studies are analysed relating to SWOT analyses carried out by companies in order to examine aspects related to the strategies adopted as a result. 

In addition, the soft skills module introduces the technique for an effective personal SWOT Analysis.