Traditional approaches to strategy development often begin with an analysis of external and internal factors, followed by some visioning, then planning. Typically this involves a “SWOT” analysis - a thorough examination of internal Strengths and Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats. SWOTs are praised for capturing "a balanced analysis" - the positive and negative, as well as an inside and outside perspective of an organization. The risk, however, is that focusing on weaknesses and threats can create a downward spiral of thoughts, actions, and behaviors in reaction to the perceived problems. This can lead to finger-pointing, blame allocation, and other negative group dynamics. Simply stated SWOT is not an inspiring place to start, if you want a creative vision and a top-notch strategy.
Organizations and Communities need to be inspired and to focus more on where they want to go. IPI’s model helps clients articulate a compelling vision of their most desired future, develop strategies to propel their business forward, and create innovative programs, services, and products to guide your strategic and operational activities.
IPI starts with a positively reframed SWOT analysis, called SOAR1 (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results). The strength-based approach creates an upward spiral of thoughts, actions, and behaviors from the get go, helping to ensure that creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, innovation, and collaboration – guide strategy development and implementation.
The SOAR framework helps identify and tap into an organization's internal assets, core strengths, aspirations, and opportunities for achieving measurable results and impact. SOAR fosters a constructive, growth-oriented, and possibility-focused understanding of the organization’s potential.
What are our greatest assets?
What are the best possible market opportunities?
What is our preferred future?
What are the measurable results, impact?
1Stavros, J; Cooperrider, D.; Kelly, D. (2003). “Strategic Inquiry & Appreciative Intent”