Here's a simple graphical template I developed for brainstorming sustainability drivers and internal factors - effectively a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. Despite the crudeness of my artwork (despite a little help from clip art), I find the graphical approach gets people into a more creative mood. The analogy of the organisation as a yacht (inspired by Dame Ellen MacArthur) has a nice sustainability theme - limited resources, renewable energy powered, working with nature etc.
The four factors are:
- Winds: external forces blowing you in the right direction (opportunities, threats of 'do nothing')
- Choppy waters: external factors holding you back (threats)
- Sails: internal ability to catch those winds (strengths, internal opportunities)
- Anchor: internal factors holding you back (weaknesses, internal threats)
Typically, I will print this onto an A0 sheet and pin it to the wall. I ask participants to write their ideas individually on Post-Its then take it in turns to put them up, debating them as we go along. It helps to use different colour Post-Its for each of the four areas and have a fifth colour ready to record the other ideas and insights that inevitably tumble out as you go along.