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The main purpose of the paper is to present the rationale, the methodological details and a practical example of the application of the enhanced SWOT analysis in the context of technological foresight. The authors take into account and propose an innovative extension of SWOT analysis by an additional dimension (expanding known in the literature SWOT analysis model that includes three criteria of factor division: occurrence in time, source of origin and nature of influence): the assessment of factor significance in two time perspectives: the current state and the hypothetical horizon. As a result, a thirty-two-field SWOT diagram is obtained. The paper also presents the practical implications of the proposed methodology by offering a case study.
As a theoretical contribution to the field of technology management and engineering management, the authors recommend the enhancement of SWOT analysis taking into consideration the foresight context. By its nature, foresight deals with the – usually distant – future states of reality that cannot be determined by extrapolating past trends.
Experience with the use of enhanced SWOT analysis in real foresight project led to the following conclusions: 1) Extended SWOT analysis allowed extending understanding of current and potential factors that have/may have impact on nanotechnology development in the region; 2) Methodological contribution: extension of SWOT analysis by an additional dimension: the assessment of factor significance in two time perspectives (present and future); 3) As a result, a thirty-two-field SWOT diagram is obtained; 4) Extended SWOT analysis is a valuable strategic tool for an organization or a region; 5) As opposed to typical SWOT (which focuses on the present), extended SWOT pushes your view into the future.
In the NTFOR project enhanced SWOT analysis represented a creativity dimension in assisting of brainstorming method. Regarding to the interaction dimension SWOT analysis next to workshops, structural analysis, surveys, brainstorming allows creating, by all participants – both experts as well as members of the key research team – common ground to create the desired vision of the future development by identifying key and priority nanotechnology. Within the expertise dimension by SWOT method (assisting by expert panels, key technologies, interviews) was possible identification of trends and areas of action for the development of nanotechnology, which made today will allow for the existence of the desired vision of the future, the created in the course of the entire project.
Systematization of factors generated in the NTFOR project in the enhanced SWOT analysis of the Podlasie region in the development of nanotechnology provides an opportunity to look at the future of the region with a broad perspective. It reveals in fact a number of irregularities and shortcomings of the province in terms of the possibility of the development of modern technology, but also indicates the key determinants of success. As a result, a look at the diagnosed factors can determine the current strategic position in the province of Podlasie in the development of nanotechnology, as well as pave the main lines of action in the future.
In conclusion it should be emphasized that the extended SWOT analysis is more suitable for future-oriented studies and may gain popularity in various foresight initiatives.