Getting started with STEEP analysis

Strategic analysts use STEEP to understand the complex interplay of forces over which they have no control:

  • Reduce the risk of missing important details
  • Rethink issues based on a broad understanding of the big picture
  • Identify the factors that explain events
  • Get beyond normative analysis and assumptions
  • Make sense of the overwhelming amount of information and data
  • Identify trends, uncertainties, and inflection points that will defne the future

STEEP is an acronym and reflects the five meta-factors that define any situation:

S = Society
T = Technology
E = Economy
E = Environment
P = Politics

STEEP in interchangeable with other outside-in analytical models such as PESTLE (prevalent in the UK and takes a more detailed view of Law) and STEMPLE (prevalent among national security and military intelligence professionals and evaluates Military factors in detail). Analysts can adapt STEEP to add factors for more granular detail or demote factors that may not be relevant in a situation.

I will dive into STEEP in future posts:

  • Specifics of each factor
  • Standards of source reliability and data credibility
  • STEEP as a foundation for advanced analysis and problem-solving
  • Applying STEEP to current events and challenges analysts are dealing with today such as the Covid-19 pandemic

Resources:

Making Sense of a Fast-Moving World Awash in Information with STEEP Analysis

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