Affinity Grouping

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Affinity grouping is a method of grouping non-numeric data based on a common similarity. It may sound not very easy, but the core of this technique is simple and very intuitive. Brainstorm with team members, organize ideas into thematic groups and clusters. Affinity grouping typically works in conjunction with collaboration prioritization, where later the company sets up a few “affinity groups,” the team votes on the priority of each group. This activity resulted in a well-organized, high-priority list of ideas for the team. For example, a team member may be brainstorming ways to increase user satisfaction or seeking new revenue streams for their company.

Affinity Grouping

The data must be physically recorded in a small object, such as a flashcard, for affinity grouping to work. During the meeting, everyone should participate and come up with ideas. After that, the team enters the process of affinity grouping, checking each idea one by one and finding a theme. It is also a process that all participants should work together. Affinity diagrams show how to utilize the data effectively. Affinity Grouping allows the team to categorize items by business-relevant themes, such as which departments they relate to, which business goals they support, and which users see their work.

What is the use of Affinity Grouping?

For example, a company might gather UX teams to consider a design improvement for an app. Then, dozens or hundreds of ideas come out. When they try to put these ideas into actionable goals, they will be utterly blank unless they are using affinity grouping. If the company can organize information as a group and map it to agreed-upon, prioritized tasks, the company can make good use of everyone’s time in the meeting.

What are the difficulties with Affinity Grouping?

Affinity grouping requires effective management. Someone must grab the reins of the process right after it starts and get participants into the process quickly. He must maintain the momentum of the meeting. Finally, we need to manage the voting process to say which affinity group should take precedence over the others in the meeting. In addition, it is difficult to get ideas from participants, and sometimes conflicts arise due to differences in opinions. However, managers and dedicated meeting leaders who manage from start to finish can quickly resolve these problems.

What is meant by Affinity Diagram?

An Affinity Diagram is an excellent method to make all of their information meaningful when team members have a mix of data like ethnographic research, facts, user opinions, brainstorming ideas, user needs, design issues, and more. Affinity diagrams and clustering exercises are intended to bundle and group information, and this is one of the most valuable techniques. For this purpose, it is utilized in many phases of design thinking.


How to promote Affinity Grouping?

  • Affinity grouping does not require to be highly rigid and complex. Here is a fundamental procedure to proceed.
  • Gather participants. It is ideal for getting involved from various organizations to get various ideas and perspectives.
  • Organize ideas with members and organize related ideas into “Affinity Groups.” This group will help the product manager to organize their ideas by subject.
  • Write as many ideas in a group.


The common sense behind this approach is straightforward. Participants brainstorm a few opportunities and ideas. At the end of the affinity grouping, everyone will vote on which category to prioritize and then decide based on the results. Next, they work together in a group to divide the new ideas into thematic clusters. After setting up some “Affinity Groups” for the initiative, vote within the group to rank each group. At the end of the activity, companies can get a list of new ideas that are prioritized.

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