An environmental scan is a close look at the internal and/or external situation related to an organization, project or activity. It may be a snapshot in time or, more frequently, it is an ongoing effort to identify trends and different influential forces. A environmental scan provides a valuable introduction and insight into a topic or problem.
S few of the more common strategies are addressed in more detail on this page:
There are many other models and strategies for environmental scanning (and tools to support them) - force field analysis, Porter's five forces and so on, One way to identify techniques appropriate to a topic or problem is to examine the scholarly or professional literature for relevant studies.
SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) is largely used in industry and business, where the context is relatively well-defined but it can also be useful in other sectors.
This example from Kansas (https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/swot-analysis/main) applies this model to community organizing - a topic that may be relevant to public administration and nonprofit management.
In most cases, the context of the topic is
For less well-defined topics, it is useful to do a
But there may also be other areas added such
DIME Analysis is largely used in military and government contexts: it stands for Diplomatic, Informational, Military, Economic. The chart below illustrates some of the factors that come into play with each category: