The Situation-Complication-Resolution (SCR) framework

The Situation-Complication-Resolution (SCR) framework

What is it?

The Situation-Complication-Resolution (SCR) framework is a distinct approach to storytelling that leverages the innate human tendency to understand the world through change—the shift from one state to another. It's a narrative strategy designed to capture attention, evoke strong emotional responses, and inspire action.

It consists of three main components:

  1. Situation: In this initial phase, you set the stage by describing the current state of affairs or context. You provide essential background information, data, or trends relevant to your topic. This step helps your audience understand the starting point or baseline of the discussion.

  2. Complication: After presenting the situation, you introduce a challenge, problem, or complication that needs attention or resolution. This part of the framework is designed to capture your audience's attention and make them recognize the significance of the issue. You describe the obstacles, risks, or issues that are impeding progress or causing concern.

  3. Resolution: The final phase involves presenting your solution, recommendation, or plan of action to address the complication. You explain how your proposed actions will improve the situation and overcome the complication. This part of the framework outlines a clear and actionable path forward, demonstrating your expertise and providing a basis for decision-making.

What sets the SCR framework apart for other methods is its universality and adaptability. Consulting firms, management consultants, and professionals across diverse industries have embraced and customized this tool because it excels at conveying complex ideas with clarity and persuasion. But it's not just for experts; the SCR framework is inherently beginner-friendly. It mirrors the way we naturally discuss and solve problems, making it an accessible and high-impact tool for newcomers to the world of presentation storytelling.

When to use it

  1. In presentations where you need to address problems, challenges, or issues.
  2. For pitches, such as business ideas, projects, or investments.
  3. When conveying information to decision-makers or stakeholders who require a structured grasp of the existing situation, possible obstacles, and the strategy to navigate them.

Remember to

  1. Avoid unnecessary jargon or complexity that might confuse the audience.
  2. Ensure that each phase of the SCR framework receives appropriate emphasis. While the complication often grabs attention, it's essential not to rush through the situation or resolution phases.



Gather research

Begin by collecting essential information and data relevant to your presentation topic. This includes acquiring background information, such as historical data, key events, or foundational concepts related to your subject matter. For instance, if you're working on a presentation on the current state of renewable energy adoption in your region, gather data on the history of renewable energy in your area and its evolution. In addition, conduct a comprehensive analysis of the current state of affairs regarding the topic. This involves gathering data, facts, and figures that directly relate to the subject. Staying with the renewable energy example, collect statistics on current energy sources, consumption patterns, and environmental concerns in your region.


Establish the situation

Once you've gathered your research, it's time to create the "Situation" section of the presentation. Start by sorting the data and facts you've collected. Identify the most important numbers and statistics that paint a clear picture of the current state of your topic. Explain why this information matters within the broader context of the presentation. To make it more relatable, think about including a relevant story or narrative. This story can help your audience connect with the data and understand its real-life implications


Brainstorm complications

Next, shift your focus to complications. Consider potential challenges, obstacles, or complexities related to your topic. Generate a list of complications without worrying about filtering at this stage. Aim for quantity to ensure a comprehensive exploration of potential issues. To aid this process, consider using tools such as mind mapping, group discussions, and SWOT analysis, focusing on "Threats." These methods help accumulate a range of possibilities that can later be assessed for resonance with the target audience.


Narrow down the most resonate complication

Evaluate the resonance of each complication with the target audience. Choose the one that will best capture their interest and concern. Ensure the complication you select is feasible to address within the scope of the presentation and directly related to your topic. This step is crucial as it sets the stage for your presentation's core message.


Draft the resolution

Define the resolution that will effectively address the chosen complication. Clearly articulate the necessary action or solution, providing context on why it's required and how it connects to both the complication and the overarching topic. Use data, examples, and research to substantiate your proposed resolution. This section forms the heart of your SCR framework, offering a solution to the problem or opportunity identified.


Finalize the presentation draft

Now, bring all these elements together into a cohesive presentation draft. Refine the content within each section of your presentation. Ensure that explanations are clear, well-structured, and supported by relevant evidence and examples. Maintain a writing style that is concise yet engaging. Avoid overly technical language that may confuse the audience.

Pay close attention to transitions between sections. Use transitional phrases or sentences to guide your audience smoothly from one topic to the next. This helps maintain a logical and coherent flow, preventing your audience from getting lost in the presentation.


Review and feedback

Review the draft with relevant stakeholders, team members, or clients. Request specific feedback on the following:

  • Situation: Is the initial setup clear and engaging? Does it effectively establish the current state of the topic?
  • Complication: Does the complication presented create a sense of challenge or intrigue? Is it directly related to the situation, and does it resonate with the audience?
  • Resolution: Is the proposed solution or action well-defined and logically connected to the complication? Is it supported by data and examples?

Based on the feedback received, make necessary revisions to the story and the SCR framework. Ensure that the narrative effectively conveys the situation, complication, and resolution, aligning with the presentation's objectives.