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The Affinity Diagram

The Affinity Diagram is a silent brainstorming tool which allows large amounts of information to be collected. Ideas are grouped into categories that are naturally related and then each category is identified by one concept which ties all the ideas together. It is a creative process, rather than a logical one, and produces consensus by visual sorting of ideas instead of by discussion.


1. Write the issue or question on a flip chart

2. Have each individual silently write responses, one idea to a post-it note, and place them on the flip chart in random order

3. Silently and quickly sort the post-it notes into related groupings

4. Select post-it notes to name the grouping, if appropriate, and place on flip chart at head of category. If not, write and place a post-it note on flip chart as a name for the grouping

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