Tool no. 31 - A More Positive SWOT Analysis

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

See also new knowing

Running Shadow

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
  • If people perceive something as a danger or threat (rather than a useful challenge) their blood vessels etc. contract.
  • This physiological change is likely to impede their ability to think in a constructive and affirmative way.
  • 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 Process

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

Predicament’s benefits or Potential
Outcome-based visions or Opportunities
Unnoticed or Unnameables
Transformatives or Triggers

Please define your PREDICAMENTPick out the hidden OPPORTUNITIESSpecify aspects that are UNNOTICEDSpecify small action/s that might TRIGGER IMPROVEMENT
Re-think it as a POTENTIALSpecify your ideal OUTCOME Specify action/s that are UNNAMEABLE Specify adjustments that are TRANSFORMATIVE
  • 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:

U=New Knowing

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


  • This tool is inpired by the SWOT tool that is extant in the business community.
  • SWOT was created by Albert Humphrey when working at the Stanford Research Institute.
  • The SWOT acronym means - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
  • John had the idea of replacing the 2 negatives (Weaknesses and Threats) with positives.
  • Hannah's joke inspired the acronym 'POUT'
  • See the Blindspotting Analysis Tool by James Greyson

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