A team-based tool used to organize and categorize large amounts of non-numerical information into logical, cohesive groups. This technique is used to group like ideas together during problem-solving or idea-generation brainstorming sessions, resulting in separate groupings with coherent central themes. Also referred to as KJ Analysis.
1) Give meeting participants large index cards or large sticky-notes and markers. 2) Instruct the group to brainstorm ideas, writing one idea per card, and calling out their ideas as they are handed to the facilitator to hang on the wall. 3) When done brainstorming, have the participants come to the wall and conduct a silent sort. Without discussing the ideas or where they should go, they should group the ideas into like-categories. 4) When the sorting is complete (or reaches an impasse) the facilitator should take the lead in discussing labels for each group of cards. 5) The facilitator then leads the group to eliminate duplicate ideas and verify the grouping. 6) The facilitator records the ideas for distribution to the group and further work.
MoreSteam Toolbox on Affinity Diagrams: http://www.moresteam.com/toolbox/affinity-diagram.cfm
ASQ's Quality Tools - Affinity Diagram - http://www.asq.org/learn-about-quality/idea-creation-tools/overview/affinity.html