Affinity Diagrams

An Affinity diagram is a tool used to organize and present large amounts of information when working in a group . It divides information into logical categories based on perceived relationships. It is one of the first brainstorming steps that can be used. Affinity diagrams are often made using post it notes. Each idea, issue , solution and problem is written on a post it note and than grouped according.(Benyon, Turner & Turner) Basically, you write each concept on a Post-It note and tack them onto a wall. Group members move the notes to groups based on how they feel the concept belongs with other concepts. Than headers are created to describe each group. Leaving you with the major and issues related to any given topic or theme.

Steps in constructing an Affinity Diagram

1.) Write each separate requirement, wish or need on a Post-it
2.) Diagram is built bottom-up, done by identifying common themes and structure.
3.) Post-its are grouped; at this stage discard similar or duplicated ideas and create headings
4.) Record the groups and headings (Benyon, Turner & Turner)

When Using an Affinity Diagram can be helpful

1. To sift through large amounts of information- because it allows you to organize large amounts of data into smaller groups.
2. Encourage new patterns of Thinking- allows people to share their gut reactions rather than thinking about an issue. All ideas are valid at this stage no matter how crazy or out there they may lead to something more.(Affinity Diagram)

Tips to creating Affective Affinity Diagrams

Work Silently- Don’t talk about what your doing just do it. Allow group members to change and move around ideas and concepts at will
Use you gut reactions- Don’t think about what you’re doing just do it . Write down crazy ideas and group things together with out thinking about it . Speed over deliberation.
Avoid Arguments- If you disagree with the choice of a group member just move it. Nothing is set in stone. Like a wikispace this is meant to be collaborative.(Affinity Diagram)


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Works Cited

"Affinity Diagram." Basic Tools for Process Improvement. <>.

Benyon, Turner & Turner; 2005. "Designing Interactive Systems: People, Activities, Contexts, Technologies."