At the beginning of this challenge we suggested it might be more fun, more productive and more sociable to undertake the challenge with others.

In this way you can compare your existing knowledge by comparing how many questions you can answer, how much you know about different aspects of your organisation and so learn from each other.

The challenge was designed to encourage your curiosity about learning, your ability to find and use data and information, and your skills of communication and collaboration. Whether you did this as an individual or as part of a team, these are invaluable employability skills.

How you use this newfound knowledge and the skills you have used is entirely up to you but we hope you will carry on learning to remain prepared for a rapidly changing workplace and for achieving your potential.

Further resources

Below are the full definitions for two of the diagrams you have seen in this challenge.

Challenge 1 Outside in – The STEEPLE diagram

Social factors includes the demographic and cultural aspects that affect customer needs and the size of potential markets. Examples include population growth, age distribution and changing social habits and trends.

Technological factors e.g.cyber security, innovation and technology disruption have the ability to increase operational efficiency, pose certain risks and can lower barriers to entry for new competitors. They can create new products or ways of delivering services, change marketing and promotion mechanisms.

Economic factors can affect the purchasing power of potential customers as well as your organisation’s cost of capital. Examples include economic growth, interest rates, exchange rates and inflation.

Environmental factors may include stakeholder pressure on your organisation’s environmental performance, or its impact on the natural environment, its dependence on natural resources. For example, moves towards plastic reduction, alternative energy sources and incentives.

Political factors define both formal and informal rules under which firms operate. Examples include changes in government or government policy, tax policy and political stability.

Legal factors would include examples such as laws and legislation that covers a multitude of operational and environmental aspects from anti-discrimination and employment conditions, to health and safety, waste disposal, information security, advertising standards and so on.

Ethical factors cover the organisation’s reputation within its communities. Issues over trust, confidentiality, fair treatment and how the organisation operates and is seen to operate.

Challenge 5 Making sense of it all – The SWOT diagram

Strengths A strength is a competence, a valuable resource or any other positive attribute that an organisation uses to take advantage of opportunities or to counter threats arising from the external environment. Therefore, a strong order book, product pipeline and staff with current skills and knowledge would be examples of strengths.

Weaknesses A weakness is a lack of a competence, resource or attribute that an organisation needs to take advantage of opportunities or to counter threats arising from the external environment or to perform better than its competitors. For example, over reliance on old products or processes can be a weakness as can a lack of skilled employees, insufficient knowledge of customer preferences, or financial resources.

Opportunities Opportunities are changes in the external environment that an organisation identifies for their use and benefit to create new options for growth or profit. For example, changes in technology have provided new opportunities for marketing and communication with customers. Another example might be changes in tax law that may make investment in new technologies more cost effective and, thereby, provide more customer choice.

Threats Threats have the potential to damage an organisation’s performance. They often arise from competitors activities or other external factors outside the control of the organisation. Threats may include changes in legislation or regulation, changes in technology that the organisation finds it difficult to adopt or trends in consumer tastes or habits. Competitors may reduce prices on similar products or introduce new products.