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An affinity diagram, or affinity mapping, is a brainstorming technique where all ideas are listed out, then similar ideas are grouped together. Finally, each group is titled and given subsets

Affinity diagrams are a standard tool/practice used in design thinking brainstorming sessions. Noting all ideas and categorizing them based on their similarities to one another allows for stronger organization of ideas, and ultimately a more organized plan of action. Instead of having 60 new ideas with 60 new plans to get them to work, you can have 3 main ideas – each with 4 subsets – and each of those can have 5 ideas. A typical affinity diagram can be created following these steps:

  1. Note all ideas on note cards
  2. Put all ideas that are similar or related into the same group
  3. Categorize those groups and note the overarching theme

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