Friday, January 27, 2012

Service-Learning: SEE-PIE SWOT Focus …

This blog explores using the Triple Bottom Line Impacts for examining Service-Learning Projects.  This was discussed in the previous blog A Better Way ... Triple Bottom Line Impacts.  Projects are examined using Social, Environmental and Economic (SEE) impacts.

Drawing on the Funnel Triple Bottom Line Service-Learning Projects diagram gives a way to evaluate for Social, Environmental & Economic impacts as illustrated in the matrix rubrics.
This also gives a way to assess the priority of the Impact of interest.  Should the focus be on Social, Economic, Environmental or a balance of alternate Impacts?  Thinking through these priorities in the Design Concept stage should minimize later conflicts of SEE emphasis.

Service-Learning 1
Service-Learning 2

After writing this blog, I discovered that GCS Service-Learning was also using a similiar triad to represent Triple Bottom Line as People-Planet-Profit (PPP).  Where ever I have used Social-Environmential-Economic (SEE) then PPP is equilivant, see diagrams.

Using this and SWOT discussed below should guide in the critical analysis of design path options.  Keeping in mind the balance of SEE during the design funnel path development gives strength to the creation of Goals, Solutions, Products, Services, Processes or Experiences using PIE frameworks.  The January 23  Project Based Learning (PBL) ….. PIE blog discusses PIE frameworks as a Project Based Learning platform.

The Wikipedi article “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis” gives an additional way to evaluate SEE. “ SWOT analysis (alternately SLOT analysis) is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses/Limitations, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies.

Setting the objective should be done after the SWOT analysis has been performed. This would allow achievable goals or objectives to be set for the organization.

·         Strengths: characteristics of the business, or project team that give it an advantage over others

·         Weaknesses (or Limitations): are characteristics that place the team at a disadvantage relative to others

·         Opportunities: external chances to improve performance (e.g. make greater profits) in the environment

·         Threats: external elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project

Identification of SWOTs is essential because subsequent steps in the process of planning for achievement of the selected objective may be derived from the SWOTs.

First, the decision makers have to determine whether the objective is attainable, given the SWOTs. If the objective is NOT attainable a different objective must be selected and the process repeated.”

Since SWOT is used in industry, this type of thinking should be beneficial in connecting students to the future economy.
Time spent in up-front SEE-PIE SWOT analysis should give a more robust approach to the Service-Learning Project. 

Post script:
In the October 25, 2012 Piedmont Triad Livable Communities Summit presentation by Bethany Wilcoxon – The Tomorrow Plan slide 7 shows the SEE with Environmental as "natural and built" see image.  This is an interesting way to think about it, with a focus on Human created Environmental issues.

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