Tools and Techniques
"We face problems of one type or another every day of our lives" (Robertson, 2001, p. 3). What we are going to wear to work, whether or not we are going to go out for dinner, who to call for a babysitter, the list goes on. There are several tools and techniques that can be used to solve a problem. This paper will define the Affinity diagram as well as an application example. This paper will also discuss when this tool should be used and when the tool should not be used.
The affinity diagram "provides a useful means to organize and produce agreement on categories of ideas; doing so facilitates a group's ability to address organizational problems" (DeJanasz, Dowd, & Schneider, 2002, p. 5). This tool is used usually after a brainstorming session has been done. This tool requires all brainstorming ideas be placed on post-it -notes so the ideas can be categorized.
A few steps must be considered first when utilizing this tool:
1. Agree on questions to be answered. This is a good place to brainstorm strategic questions.
2. Brainstorm ideas. This requires all team members to write down one idea per post-it -note.
3. Randomly arrange completed notes. Notes are placed on a white board, a chalkboard, or a desk, wherever all team members can easily see them.
4. Silently sort each post-it-note into groups. This is done in silence so that others can concentrate on what he or she is reading.
5. Discuss and clarify. This is where each post-it-note is discussed and questioned among team members and each note is then modified if neccessary.
6. Brainstorm a title. This last step requires all team members to come to a concensus on the title for each group of post-it-notes.