Complex systems can have many links and so we recommend that your team capture these links visually rather than in narrative form alone. As you develop the situation analysis diagram, keep in mind the following:
- The team should not make any decisions yet about which links are important or strong or can be altered, instead identify all links within a system that make it work the way it currently does. Do not consider any possible strategies yet. This step captures the world the way it is now, not how we’d like to change it.
- Be sure to include relevant emerging factors. Demographic, economic, political, technological and environmental factors all may affect the situation analysis. Attempt to identify the emerging factors that could strongly influence the situation analysis, such as impacts from and responses to climate change, new energy and agricultural technologies that will affect land use, and population growth. Include these factors in the situation analysis diagram.
- Not all primary interests will be connected to each other, and not all social or economic primary interests will be connected to conservation primary interests. The point of the situation analysis is to identify strong drivers of primary interests, and strong connections between social, economic and conservation primary interests.
A situation analysis diagram visually captures the relationships between primary interests and their primary drivers of change.