SWOT Analysis and Brainstorming

SWOT Analysis involves looking at an issue or proposal from the point of view of its:

  • Strengths (Positives)
  • Weaknesses or Areas for improvement (Negatives)
  • Opportunities
  • Threats.

Groups can be given the opportunity to look at an issue from a number of standpoints.


Some cultures (for example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures) may react negatively to the use of the term Weaknesses.  In such situations the facilitator should substitute a term such as Areas for improvement.

Steps in a Facilitated SWOT Analysis

  1. A skilled facilitator is appointed to coordinate the activity.
  2. The issue under discussion is displayed prominently.
  3. Specific areas within the room (usually tables) are designated for each of the four standpoints: that is, one area is marked 'Strengths', another is marked 'Weaknesses', and so on.
  4. All members of the group silently move around each area and write down suggestions relating to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
  5. These are then collated by the facilitator and announced to the group. A group consensus can then be reached or the individual comments fed back to the policy development committee.


Brainstorming is a group technique for gathering creative ideas at a staff meeting or similar. It is a method of getting many ideas up in front of people quickly and without judgement.

Brainstorming is used to gather new ideas.  In an organisational setting, these ideas are often gathered to solve problems or to design something new. It would be very useful in the policy development process.

Usual Steps in a Facilitated Brainstorming Exercise

  1. Appoint a facilitator for the group.
  2. Get consensus on the issue to be brainstormed.  Write this up as a phrase or sentence and display it prominently.
  3. Groups/members are encouraged to be creative, think broadly, and not to be constrained by the conventional way things have been done in the organisation.  They are given 10-15 minutes to write down silently their list of ideas.
  4. One at a time, all ideas are written up, as stated.  No criticism of any kind is permitted, but having fun is encouraged.
  5. The list is then scanned for clarity.  Similar ideas can be combined or grouped into a manageable number of related factors. Use group discussion to arrive at a consensus about what each grouping really means.  These ideas can then be prioritised and given to the policy planning committee.
Last modified: Wednesday, 12 December 2018, 3:19 PM