What is an Affinity Diagram?
An Affinity Diagram organizes a large number of ideas into their natural relationships.
Why an Affinity Diagram?
An Affinity Diagrams is used as a means to organize or achieve ‘sense-making’ from a large set of needs, ideas or design concepts.
Method Card Reference
- Work in a team. Compile a list of needs interpreted from the discovery phase
Write on Cards
Write each need onto a single card or Post-it Note
On the Wall
Paste cards on the wall (by yourself or with your team)
As you put cards on the wall, cluster them based on similar meaning
Do method with a cross-functional team, including stakeholders
Define and name themes based on content of ideas
In clustering cards, first do it intuitively. Don't agonize over getting it perfect the first time.
Read needs aloud to the team while placing card on the wall, one at a time
This video gives you a walk-through on how to create and use an Affinity Diagram, through a worked example of a Autonomous Vehicle Design Challenge.
Here are examples of Affinity Diagrams, with clustered needs.
Affinity Diagram - Design Thinking Book. (2016, February 02). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/ewWFFe-243s
Mitchell Thieman. (October 14, 2018) "Designing the Online Shopping Experience". Retrieved from https://www.mitchellthieman.com/portfolio/karavel-shoes
Camburn, Bradley A., Jan M. Auernhammer, Karen Hui En Sng, Paul J. Mignone, Ryan M. Arlitt, K. Blake Perez, Zack Huang, Subarna Basnet, Lucienne T. Blessing, and Kristin L. Wood. "Design Innovation: A Study of Integrated Practice." In ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC), pp. V007T06A031-V007T06A031. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2017.
Teo, K., Wee, Y., Swee, A., Altybayeva, A., Gopal, M., Kamiso, N., Foo, D., Lauff, C., Wood, K.L., “Design Innovation (DI) Learning Modules,” SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC), SUTD, Singapore, idc.sutd.edu.sg, 2018.
PathMaker: An online tool to help with brainstorming and affinity diagramming