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Theme - Opportunities and threats
by Changeroo
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This Strategy Narrative focuses on the opportunities and threats that potentially increase or reduce the ToC’s effectiveness. It can also be used to communicate about the risks your ToC faces, although you might also incorporate these in the form of assumptions.In fact, risk analysis is relevant not only in relationship to threats and assumptions, but also in relationship to situation analysis and the identification of context elements.

 Right now  Future
 Opportunities Which areas of your ToC could you strengthen when you consider current opportunities?


  • An innovation in mobile data exchange that is just launched, presents an opportunity to improve the ToC
  • The influx of refugees from a neighbouring country provides (how sadly though) opportunities for new products or services
What potential future conditions could you take advantage of once they occur?


  • A future ‘critical juncture’Critical junctures and the opportunities they present, is discussed in more detail with regard to “complexity aware monitoring”, here. Include reference to Expert lens ‘Complexity theory and systems thinking’. You may build a ToC entirely based on positioning yourself to capitalize on these opportunities once they occur. such as a war or a political or economic crisis; if you build connections and trust between key individuals now, you will be able to rapidly take collective action and create momentum in the future
 Threats What threats to your ToC’s effectiveness exist right now?


  • A negative side-effect of the ToC may hurt the organisation’s legitimacy
In which areas do you need to anticipate developments that might threaten your ToC’s effectiveness?


  • Pending legislation, once approved, may prevent a ToC’s activities
  • Norms within a culture may be changing in a way that changes actors’ response to the ToC’s activities making some of the assumptions underlying your ToC invalid and these activities ineffective

Stakeholder Engagement

Social organisations

Stakeholders can engage to express their viewpoints on the opportunities and threats that may exist to prevent the realization of the vision of success and hence, the ToC’s effectiveness. By so doing, these stakeholders add knowledge, ideas, experiences and offer solutions.

For example, scientists involved in a new innovation may search for ToCs for which their innovation is relevant, and can then suggest their innovation as an opportunity. Another example, community members may inform the organisation about ongoing development relevant to the ToC. Stakeholders thus suggest where they see room to improve the ToC to further advance social value creation and make the ToC future-proof.


As a stakeholder, this theme allows you to learn about the future potential of the ToC. You can engage to add your knowledge, ideas, experiences and solutions under the opportunities and threats theme.

For example, scientists involved in a new innovation may check ToCs for which of their innovation is relevant and can then suggest it as an opportunity. Another example, community members may inform the organisation about ongoing developments relevant to the ToC. Stakeholders thus suggest where they see room to improve the ToC to further advance social value creation and make the ToC future-proof.

Questions to Ask

Identify Topics that May Affect Your Ability to Create Societal Value (Material TopicsMateriality aims to identify the societal and environmental issues that present risks or opportunities to an organisation while taking into consideration the issues of most concern to stakeholders. The process of labelling material topics in an organisation calls for a comprehensive framework that methodologically identifies and prioritises issues, risks and opportunities, commonly known as materiality analysis. The ‘more about’ section below, discusses materiality in more detail.)

  • What external developments and trends – such as in technology, legislation or public opinion – can we identify that offer business opportunities?
  • How are contextual elements changing and how do changes affect our ToC?
  • How is the public opinion regarding our ToC developing? What negative opinions are out there and how much support do they have?
  • On what social and environmental topics does the organisation run the risk to lose its licence to operate, in the long or short term?
  • What concerns do other actors in the ToC’s ecosystem have? Who are the stakeholders with significant potential to influence our organisation or ToC and what topics related to our mission and ToC have caught their attention?
  • Is there any research being done on the interests, motives and concerns of our stakeholders? For example, by other organisations in our geographic area or by similar organisations in other geographic locations?
  • What topics are there repeatedly in the media concerning our stakeholders? Search for keywords in all different kinds of sources to determine ‘evidence of interest’ from stakeholders.
  • What ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) topics are mentioned in sustainability reporting standards such as GRI and social reporting standards such as GIIRS that are not addressed in our ToC? How do we perform on these topics and how do we compare to benchmarks? Are there opportunities for improvement?
  • SASB makes materiality analyses for industries in the USA. Which of these issues apply to us?
  • Can we identify material topics with the help of the Value Driver Model? This model, developed by the UN Global Compact and PRI, gives an overview of the drivers of financial performance related to sustainability strategies. These drivers are: 1) growth from sustainability-advantaged products, services and/or strategies, 2) cost savings (and cost avoidance) from sustainability-driven productivity initiatives, and 3) reduced sustainability-related risk exposure that could materially impair a company’s performance.

Identify Opportunities and Threats on Basis of the Identified Topics

  • Has the topic been incorporated in our ToC yet?
  • If it has been incorporated in the ToC: Do we see opportunities to improve on effectiveness or do we see threats that may hamper the way we’ve incorporated the topic?
  • Could the topic change the future effectiveness of our current ToC? If so, how?

Identify ‘Critical Junctures’

  • What kind of disruptive events, such as wars or political and economic crises, would present opportunities or threats that our ToC is well equipped to capitalize on? Do bear in mind, there needs to be a reasonable chance that such an event may develop in order to incorporate it into your ToC.

What to Describe

Typical information to include about an opportunity or threat:

  • Description of the opportunity/threat and its potential effect on your ToC’s effectiveness, thereby explaining why it’s an opportunity or threat.
  • Information about the causes or trends, if any, that generate the opportunity/threat. How you monitor the development of these causes or trends.
  • In case of a threat: how the ToC seeks to neutralize the threat (or why it hasn’t yet done so).
  • In case of an opportunity: how the ToC seeks to capitalize on it and how such adds to bringing the vision of success closer. Or if the ToC has not yet incorporated the opportunity, why this is so.
  • Potential future directions to go with the ToC to incorporate the opportunity or threat, and thereby using the opportunity to further your societal cause or neutralizing the threat to it.

More About Opportunities and Threats


The opportunities and threats theme has a strong overlap with what in the sustainability field is referred to as materiality. Identifying opportunities and threats means finding out the “material topics” for your ToC that may call for future remodelling of your ToC. Material topics are the social and environmental topics that in the short or long term influence stakeholders’ assessments and decisions, and as a result the organisation’s performance. Global Reporting Initiative defines material topics as “those topics that have a direct or indirect impact on the organisation’s ability to create, preserve or erode economic, environmental and social value for itself, its stakeholders, the environment, and society at large”. How you deal with these topics thus determines the future success of your ToC.

A materiality analysis is used to prioritize issues, risks, and opportunities using stakeholder inputs and company insights. It seeks to identify those issues that are of strategic importance to an organisation and its stakeholders.

Opportunities and threats are the material topics that your ToC either has not or yet to build strategies around – and thus have not yet been incorporated in the ToC – or has strategies built around but there are reasons the effectiveness of these strategies could benefit from attention.

It thus calls for a materiality analysis as well as an assessment of which material topics have not yet been incorporated in the ToC; or are changing in a way that may affect the future effectiveness of the current strategies and may therefore, call for future adjustments of the ToC.

The ‘questions to ask’ section helps you conduct such an analysis and provides the appropriate questions to lead such an analysis.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis involves identifying your organisation’s key strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats that its environment presents. It helps you to identify issues key to your organisation’s success.

* An essential guide to SWOT analysis.

* Community Toolbox on SWOT analysis.

Community Guidelines

To make sure the Changeroo platform is a powerful vehicle for change, we’ve put together a few ground rules.

Content pages focus on consensus, integration of information and objective facts, instead of repetition and endless texts. Social organisations can open up these pages to stakeholder feedback and input.


  • Share your expertise and resources to be of influence and help social organisations move their social mission forward. Seek opportunities to contribute that align with your own values. Present yourself through your contributions.
  • Learn from stakeholders’ feedback and improve your understanding of an organisation.
  • Be constructive in your criticism.
  • Be open to disagreement and listen to other people’s opinions. Change happens when people with different backgrounds and perspectives can participate in a conversation.
  • Be reasonable, kind, respectful and use common sense.
    Do not use hate speech, do not impersonate others, do not violate others’ privacy, do not bully, do not be unnecessarily graphic, do not spam and do not break the law (which includes respecting copyrights in your posts).
  • Update your ToC with developments. When you’re candid with stakeholders and tell them what we do and don’t know and make them part of the process, it’s much more engaging for them.