Begining our series of posts on the Design Thinking tools for business innovation, we will now learn more about the Affinity Diagram, a visual thinking technique that provides a diagrammatic view to help define the challenges that are going to be addressed through the use of Insight Cards.
What is it?
The Affinity Diagram is the organization and grouping of Insight Cards based on affinity, similarity, dependence or proximity, which will create a diagram with the macro areas defining the subject at hand, as well as its subdivisions and interdependencies.
When to use it?
After the data collection stage of the Immersion phase, the next steps involve analyzing and synthesizing the information collected. To do so,the insights are arranged to obtain patterns and create challenges to assist in understanding the problem.
Whenever there is a large amount of data from the research (desk and/or field), to identify connections between topics and areas of opportunity for the project. After going to the field and at the end of the desk research, which should be carried out without any pre-conceptions, you will have a mass of data whose most relevant findings should be recorded in insights Cards.
You can have a multidisciplinary team sort them out on a table, on the floor or even post them on the wall in a collaborative manner, so that there is no single bias in the analysis.We can see some examples in the picture above and in this video that we created to illustrate the tool:
Throughout this process, we identify themes, sub-groups and often, the criteria that help understand the data. The organization can be redone several times and it can be carried out by different groups of people, depending on the complexity of the issue and the amount of data available. It’s important to record each step and the result should help understand the field data and contribute to the creation of the tools that will be used in the ideation phase.
An example: identifying areas of opportunity to monitor chronic patients
Aiming to develop innovative alternatives to monitor chronic patients, the Affinity Diagram was used to analyze the Insight Cards created during the research. This process enabled us to identify the connections between the themes and the list of nine areas of opportunities for the project:
- Relationship with the doctor;
- Healthcare system;
- Insurance company;