Environmental Scan aggregates easily available market and industry data as an early part of strategy development.
Strategy is about making good decisions. The best decisions are made on the basis of a combination of experience, intuition, and fact-based analysis.
The first step is to get oriented.
The environmental scan is a process I’ve found of great value in a complex strategy project. It follows the problem definition phase. The purpose is to gather and organize all the information you can easily reach, so you’re better informed when you go on to develop a research plan.
Some of the sources of data for the environmental scan include:
- Interviews with colleagues who have an opinion and (hopefully!) some knowledge on the subject. These interviews should be informal and exploratory, but they can help a lot not just because of the information they provide, but because they will indicate where there’s an absence of information, which is critical to your research plan.
- External analyst reports are often too far out of date to be helpful in the formulation of a strategy. But they can be very useful in this orientation stage, because they tend to cover a lot of the basic information. Remember that most analysts write to educate as much as to explain, and so they often provide a good basic coverage of a topic that you may need to analyze in more detail.
- Internet searches are a must-do, and they yield a few different kinds of information:
- News stories that can be helpful in understanding the actions of competitors and partners
- Opinion pieces perhaps ...