The creative SWOT for better business decisions

Identify new opportunities for innovation

SWOT is a widely used tool for strategic business analysis.

SWOT (which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is an analytical framework that enables organisations to identify internal strengths and weaknesses, along with the exterior opportunities and threats.

What is the difference between the traditional SWOT and the creative SWOT?

The standard SWOT analysis is meant to be used during the proposal stage of strategic planning and decision-making and it represents an invaluable tool in project management. The purpose of this analysis is to develop a strong business strategy, considering the business’s strengths and weaknesses and the future opportunities and threats it may face in the marketplace.

Based on the analysis that has already been performed, the creative SWOT pushes the traditional SWOT a step further.

It will complement it with an original reading within a logic of innovation. Its application compels us to think about our business in an entirely new way. By taking the four elements of the traditional SWOT and crossing their information, the creative SWOT helps with identifying new opportunities for innovation that are in phase with the company’s potential and market.

How to use it

  1. Start by drawing a 3×3 table on a white board.
  2. List the strengths and weaknesses, the threats and opportunities on colorful sticky-notes.
  3. Position the sticky-notes in the boxes corresponding to the four elements of SWOT.
  4. Now, by randomly choosing any sticky-note in abscissa and by crossing it with any sticky-notes in ordinate, ask THE question(s) corresponding to that particular association.
  5. Note all the ideas generated by these associations on sticky-notes of a different color. Every new idea could become a pathway of innovation for the company’s products and services.


At this stage, you might also want to have a look at the strategic questions to make the best of the innovation era and the Blue Ocean Strategy to create a new market.


  • The creative SWOT analysis can be performed individually; however, it is even more effective in a working group such as during a Product Management or Product Marketing workshop.
  • Do not try to cover all the possible combinations (potentially 36 in total). Encourage only those that seem very promising.
  • If an association does not seem to generate ideas quickly, move on to the next one.
  • Allow participants to choose their own associations of ideas.
  • Feel free to move between questions, crossing several different criteria in order to break the monotony and encourage creativity.

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