An Affinity Diagram is a tool that gathers large amounts of data (ideas, solutions, problems, opinions, issues) and organizes them into categories. It is a great tool to use:
- At the beginning of projects
- Sift through large amounts of data
- Synthesize thinking
- Encourage new patterns of thinking
- Where there are many individual pieces of information held by different people, but no clear picture of the overall problem
Click here for a downloadable PDF: Affinity Diagram
- Space for play – whiteboard, flipchart, wall, etc.
- Sticky notes – 3×3 or larger
- Pens and/or markersNumber of participants
Number of Participants: 4-7 participants. If larger, break into smaller groups then put all ideas together after brainstorming.
Time: 1 hour – more for larger groups
Step 1: Write the problem. Write for all to see – on a whiteboard, wall, flipchart, etc. Leave plenty of room below – this is your planning space.
Step 2: Brainstorm ideas. Silently: Have each person write ideas about the problem or goal on sticky notes, 1 idea per note.
Step 3: Place ideas on wall. Have each person place their sticky notes on the planning space.
Step 4: Sort into themes. As a group, group the ideas into categories or themes. Any that don’t fit can go onto the “Parking Lot”.