Tool no. 31 - A More Positive SWOT Analysis

This may enable users to discover ideas that may otherwise be overshadowed by fear or antipathy

The Tool's Purpose

  • SWOT analysis is a much-used (and helpful) tool but it can precipitate a negative mindset
  • It is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
  • We wanted to create a tool that offers a more creative and opportunistic frame of reference
  • If successful, users would find themselves occupying a more serendipitous space of conjecture
  • This does not mean that 'Threats' or 'Weaknesses' do not exist.
  • Our tool is not a panacea for every situation - more for the creative aspects
  • Others have found it practically helpful and enjoyable to use

The Tool's Context

  • The business world has tended to work within a post-Spenserian frame of reference
  • This has encouraged a metaphorical repertoire that emphasises 'competition', 'power' and 'winning'
  • But more recent evolutionary theory (e.g. Margulis, *) has shown that this is a costly approach
  • The quest for synergies that optimise the use of resources is much-needed in the 21st century

The Tool's Process

  • An alternative to SWOT is POUT
  • Each letter has an alternative meaning


    • 1) Predicament’s benefits
    • 2) Potential


    • 1) Outcome-based visions
    • 2) Opportunities


    • 1) Unnoticed
    • 2) Unnameables


    • 1) Transformatives
    • 2) Triggers.
  • There are also alternative ways to arrange these four letters,
  • Its use is straightforward and needs little expert introduction
  • Context/conditions for use

An Example

  • POUT can be mapped within a quadrant, using 2 (X-Y) axes
  • The values of the X axis can be made to correspond to Left=evaluative and Right=creative
  • The values of the right axis can be made to denote Bottom=ambiguous values and Top=explicit values
  • This equates it with our system of 'working styles, i.e. where:
    • P=Envisioning
    • O=Pushing-Doing
    • U=New Knowing
    • T=Languaging


  • This tool is inpired by the SWOT tool that is extant in the business community.
  • This acronym means - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
  • (JW) had the idea of replacing the 2 negatives (Weaknesses and Threats) with positives.
  • Hannah's joke inspired the acronym 'POUT'

  • We may need to think about a glossary of categories
  • We may find we don't need categories <?>
  • The final keyword list may become really important
  • What other m21 tools have a family resemblance, or similar purpose? (e.g. Tool no.1 : Peer-to-Peer Topologies)

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