An Affinity Diagram is a special type of brainstorming process that is used for organising large groups of information into meaningful categories. It helps us to clarify and make sense of a large or complex problem, e.g.
- How to implement a process of continual improvement throughout the organisation?
- Which causes of waiting time in the hospital should we be working on?
How To Do It
- Define the problem or issue to be explored. Use Problem Definition and ensure that you state the problem as clearly and unambiguously as possible.
- Brainstorm for ideas, but instead of everyone shouting out ideas, everyone silently writes down their ideas on sticky notes or index cards.
- When the brainstorm is complete mix up all of the notes or cards and stick them on the wall or spread them out on a table.
- Let the group arrange the notes or cards into related groups as follows:
- Take two cards that are related in some way and put them together.
- Find other cards that belong to this group and put them with the first two.
- Build other groups of cards in the same way until all of the cards have been grouped (about 10 groups maximum).
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