SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

SWOT analyses provide a structure for ideas about an organisation's internal state (strengths and weaknesses) and the external elements which might affect the organisation (opportunities and threats).

SWOT analyses are often conducted as group discussion and recorded in a 2x2 matrix with a box for each of the four categories.


It’s a simple tool to set up and access. It helps to open up critical thinking across the spectrum of everything you do, and helps to build up a balanced view of an organisation.


It is tempting to brainstorm a list and not do anything with it. Remember that it will only capture the views of the people participating in the exercise. It’s a well known tool and some people feel that can be a barrier to fresh thinking.

When to use it

Your list of strengths and weaknesses can provide a useful starting point to look inside your organisation for future options. The opportunities and threats can lead you to explore your external environment.

What are your experiences of using this tool? Share your triumphs and tribulations with our network members or write your own tips by commenting on this page.

More information about this tool is included in our guide Tools for Tomorrow.

Last updated at 17:54 Mon 12/Apr/10.


How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

Log in or join for free to comment.

Funded by Capacity Builders and Improving Support