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SWOT analysis from Board of Trustees retreat, October 2006

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SWOT of the board retreat October 2006 (some minor items omitted)

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Hmmm, this was insufficiently explained. With the help of other participants, here is a more complete explanation of what we did. One of the methods we used at the board retreat to try and define strategic actions was a SWOT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT) analysis, as Oscar mentioned in his report.

The idea was to answer a set of questions to help identify the Strengths, the Weaknesses of the organisation (internal level) and the Opportunities and the Threats that the organisation faces (external level). and then combine all of these to define strategic objectives.

All participants were asked to list what they identified as SWOT for the organisation and we then compiled all answers to try and identify those which came under different forms but actually tackled the same subject.

These are the topics that came out of this analysis.

Numbers represent number of people who listed this (or something approaching), no numbers means that these came out of the general discussion afterwards. They were for some points listed by one person and were accepted by the group as worth mentioning.

Reminder: this is the SWOT of the Wikimedia Foundation (not of a project)


  • people (23)
  • mission/vision (Jimmy in particular-3) (15)
  • outside perception, recognised brand, market leader (15 )
  • organisation (13 )
  • multiculturalism/lingualism (11 )
  • content (9)
  • technology (6 )
  • financial - donations easy and reliable (5 )
  • less reflection as an organisation
  • less communication


  • lack of structure (management not adapted) (24 )
  • poor processes/delegation/decision making (15)
  • communication (13)
  • lack of trust (8)
  • unfocused direction, lack of planning or strategic vision (6)
  • finances, donor relationships (6)
  • divided opinions on board members
  • lack of responsibility
  • volunteers
  • reflection of organisation


  • money (18)
  • Internet penetration (more users coming) (9)
  • good will (7)
  • free culture movement success (7)
  • educational penetration (6)
  • global village (6)
  • support of free culture movement (5)
  • media and political interest (4)
  • content liberation (4)
  • technology (3)
  • hiring pool (2)


  • legal (16)
  • unmanaged growth (12)
  • fragmentation of the general organisation (9)
  • financial stability (6)
  • competition (6)
  • internal communication
  • Attrition rate

Steps of SWOT Analysis


The steps of SWOT analysis of strategic management are five. Such as:-

  • External Environmental Analysis
  • Industry and Competitive Analysis
  • Identification of Opportunities and Threats
  • Internal Environmental Analysis and Identification Internal Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Concluding SWOT Analysis and Drawing Conclusion

It is difficult to convey here the exact meaning that is put behind these words that may look random at first, as they were the result of discussions and brainstorming but it was a starting point for us to go on with strategic objectives. These are part of a process that is long and implies lots of discussion and should not be taken at face value. In order to be able to list the strategic objectives, the participants are then asked to cross the different categories (Threats with Weaknesses, Opportunities and weaknesses for example and come up with a set of strategic objectives.

As Oscar mentioned, we then compiled the strategic objectives into 7 categories: organizational, operations, finances and fundraising, program development, public relations and messaging, technology, and legal.

The strategic objectives were then detailed and presented as recommendations to the board from the group, which the board needs to review and reassess, confronting them with the reality of things, the resources and manageable timelines, so as to present their final strategic objectives and their course of action. The final strategic objectives will be the last part of the report, and they will take a little time to put together. We also need to agree on which information to publish and which not to publish. Do not expect final outcome tomorrow, nor in the following days.

Again, please be patient.