Affinity Diagrams.

This short insight is from of our Methods series: A discussion of useful working practices and ideas for better ideation and execution.  We discuss what each method is, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.


In this workshop exercise, a group will individually list their priorities onto sticky notes before collectively organizing all priorities by relationships. Then, the overall group priorities will be established by voting.


To combine multiple expertise, ideas, and opinions into a group consensus. This is useful for establishing priorities on subjective, qualitative data—especially between larger groups of stakeholders or groups likely to disagree.


  1. Firstly gather a group of at least four participants for 90 minutes, providing them with sticky notes and pens.
  2. Create a focused question about the project, and select a facilitator to lead the exercise. An example could be: "What are current issues with our content creation process?"
  3. Give everyone five minutes to write at least three responses to the question. Each response should be written on its own sticky note.
  4. Instruct all participants to place their answers on the wall. Assign 15 minutes for clustering similar answers and allowing participants to write further additions.  This step is particularly key as viewing other perspectives will likely cause further inspiration and stronger answers.
  5. After a final clustering of ideas, participants should each come up with names for each group of answers. Each name should be placed on the wall next to the assigned cluster group, with any duplicates excluded.
  6. Repeat the original question and have each participant rank the three most important clusters of answers on the wall. Use dot voting to establish the group consensus.
  7. Combine duplicates and their points if the entire group agrees they are identical. Three or four groups will usually rank higher than all others, and these will become your priorities for the question.
The KJ-Method is a fascinating mix of independent brainstorming, group dynamics, and democracy.

With this method a team can be creative and critical in a productive manner. Strong personalities or internal office politics succumb to independent perspectives and experiences of the team.  The mix of collaboration and independent thinking offers balanced perspectives at speed.