Affinity Diagram Template
Organize and cluster ideas and data in order to effectively develop solutions.
About the Affinity Diagram template
The affinity diagram template can help you organize and consolidate ideas from your brainstorming sessions. An affinity diagram is a tool that can lead to more innovative and better solutions when working through complex problems. But it’s not just ideal for brainstorms — this is a great template to use when you need to reach consensus or analyze data such as survey results.
What is an affinity diagram?
An affinity diagram is a visual brainstorming tool that allows teams to organize ideas according to their natural relationships. We’ve all participated in brainstorming sessions that seemed to go nowhere, and with so many people sharing a large number of ideas and perspectives, it can be difficult to distill these conversations into a coherent takeaway. This is where an affinity diagram comes in handy.
Benefits of using an affinity diagram template
You can use an affinity diagram to generate, organize, and consolidate information that comes out of a brainstorming session. Whether you’re building a product, working through a complex problem, establishing a process, or piecing apart an issue, an affinity diagram is a useful and simple framework.
Incorporate everyone’s perspective
An affinity diagram gives each team member the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas about the topic. By collecting everyone’s brainstorming ideas, an affinity diagram functions as a visual representation of a brainstorm that everyone can add to.
Find connections between ideas
Affinity diagrams are also a great way to discover novel connections between various components of a project. Synthesizing ideas into a simple visual framework allows teams to develop new solutions that they might otherwise miss.
Organize team thoughts and ideas
Finally, an affinity diagram template is a valuable tool of an organization that divides a project into various discrete components and allows you to dive deeper into each individual component. Organizing thoughts in this way can help you break up tasks and delegate responsibility.
When to use an affinity diagram template
Teams and organizations use affinity diagrams in a variety of situations. When your brainstorming session feels like it’s devolving and there are too many ideas to capture, or when the issues are too large and complex to grasp, you can use an affinity diagram to cut through the chaos.
But it’s not only useful during chaotic meetings; you can also use an affinity diagram whenever a consensus is needed, when analyzing data such as survey results when grouping ideas into themes, or when organizing datasets.
Our guide on mind mapping vs affinity diagrams can provide an additional perspective for when you need decide on the right tool for your team's needs.
How to use an affinity diagram template
Making an affinity diagram with your team is easy. Get started by selecting this affinity diagram template, then go through the following steps:
Step 1: Ideation
The first step of the process is to start recording the ideas that you’d like to sort into categories. Get everyone in the team involved and ask them to put forward a few ideas.
Step 2: Diagramming
Next, examine the ideas and try to find related concepts. Then, discuss with the group and start to tentatively draw connections between ideas. Invite team members to add sticky notes sharing their perspectives. When you notice related concepts, group them together. Repeat this step until you’ve grouped all the concepts.
Step 3: Grouping
Repeat step 2 until you’ve grouped all the concepts. It’s okay if there are concepts that seem to defy a grouping. You can return to those later.
Step 4: Team discussion
Discuss with your team and make sure everyone is on the same page. Do you agree with the groups? How should you label them? Do you need to make any changes?
Step 5: Synthesize ideas
Finally, combine these groups into “supergroups”, to synthesize ideas into a more cohesive whole. The completed affinity diagram can be used to enhance future project management and inform decision-making.
What is the purpose of an affinity diagram?
The purpose of an affinity diagram is to generate ideas and organize them in a manner that draws out the various connections and relationships between different ideas. Affinity diagrams are visual brainstorm tools, but with a focus more on the connections between ideas.
When are affinity diagrams used?
Affinity diagrams are used by businesses and organizations to analyze data, generate ideas, and organize projects or analyses. Any time you want to more clearly organize data or ideas to generate some useful conclusions, an affinity diagram can be used.
How do you use affinity diagrams?
You use the affinity diagram template after a brainstorming session or ideation. Afterward, group the ideas, concepts, and data gathered into clusters and see the connection between them. The affinity diagram template is done when you managed to synthesize your ideas up to the point you can inform decision-makers and identify solutions to the proposed problem.
Crazy Eights Template
Works best for:
Design Thinking, Brainstorming, Ideation
Sometimes you just need to get the team’s creative juices flowing for a brainstorm—and get them thinking of as many ideas as they can, as fast as they can. Crazy Eights will do it in a hurry. Favoring quantity over quality, this sketch brainstorming exercise challenges them to come up with eight ideas in eight minutes, which leaves no time to second guess ideas. It’s perfect for early stages of development, and it’s a team favorite for being fast paced and fun.
BCG Matrix Template
Works best for:
Use the BCG matrix template to make informed and strategic decisions about growth opportunities for your business. Assign your portfolio of products to different areas within the matrix (cash cows, dogs, question marks, stars) to prioritize where you should invest your time and money to see the best results.
Works best for:
While storyboard is typically associated with planning out scenes for a movie or TV show, it’s been widely adopted throughout the business world. A storyboard is a sequence of illustrations that are used to develop a story. You can use the Storyboarding template anytime you’d like to really put yourself in a customer or user’s position and understand how they think, feel, and act. This tactic can be especially useful when you know there’s a problem or inefficiency with an existing process. You can storyboard existing processes or workflows and plan how you would like them to look in the future.
Customer Problem Statement Template
Works best for:
Ideation, Design Thinking, Product Management
Put yourself in the shoes of your consumers with a customer problem statement. Figure out their problems and how your product or service can solve those problems and make their lives easier. As a bonus, you’ll better understand your customers throughout the process.
What? So What? Now What? Template
Works best for:
Agile Workflows, Retrospectives, Brainstorming
The What? So What? Now What? Framework empowers you to uncover gaps in your understanding and learn from others’ perspectives. You can use the What? So What? Now What? Template to guide yourself or a group through a reflection exercise. Begin by thinking of a specific event or situation. During each phase, ask guiding questions to help participants reflect on their thoughts and experience. Working with your team, you can then utilize the template to record your ideas and to guide the experience.
Idea Funnel Backlog
Works best for:
Design, Brainstorming, Agile Workflows
An Idea Funnel Backlog enables you to visualize your backlog and restrict the number of backlogged items at the top. In doing sos, you can prioritize items on your list without having to engage in unnecessary meetings or create too much operational overhead. To use the Idea Funnel Backlog, break up the funnel into different phases or treat it like a roadmap. Use the Idea Funnel Backlog as a hybrid model that combines your roadmap and backlog into one easily digestible format.