Affinity Diagram

Published on November 15, 2018 by

Themes: , , ,

Why:

To organise the material in meaningful groupings under appropriate headings

What:

The use of an Affinity Diagram encourages people to think inventively and make non-traditional connections in their ideas

Time:

Two to Three Hours

Materials:

A big sheet of paper, post-it notes, header cards

How:

In Small Groups

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You can do this design activity in the following way: firstly, phrase the issue under discussion in a full sentence e.g. ‘Why are patients waiting so long for test results?’ and participants then silently record their responses on post-it notes. As a minimum, they should use a noun and a verb; ideally there should be four to seven words in each statement. Randomly lay out the post-it notes on the big sheet of paper. Without any discussion, the members of the group then individually sorts the post-its into 5-10 groupings/themes: if someone disagrees with a grouping, they can move the post-it, but without discussion. Next, through a rapid team consensus, the group creates a summary or header card for each grouping to encapsulate the main theme: avoid one-word headers. Draw and record the finished diagram by connecting all the header cards with their groupings. Finally, review the result with the team and other key people (stakeholders).

CONSIDER ALSO

  • Neutral, positive or negative statements can all work well in addition to solution questions
  • A typical affinity diagram would have 40-60 items, but could have 100-200 ideas depending on the complexity of the problem
  • Large groups of post-its may need to be divided into sub groups
  • You may find it helpful to move headers and groups into a logical sequence

EXTRA RESOURCES

 

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