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Problem Solving Tools

Enter the Affinity Diagram!

Our last post introduced how Hoshin Kanri helps create Ahh-ha! moments to solve business related issues. Let’s discuss how the Affinity Diagram works in this process.

It allows a team of subject matter experts to quickly gather ideas and organize them into natural groupings. This exercise will have everyone discussing the merits of each idea without judgement or criticism and reach to agreement on the major categories of the issue at hand.

Perhaps you are thinking how does that work? Glad you asked!

The group should start with creating and agreeing on a problem statement to work with. Then each member of the team silently writes down 3-5 sentences on individual sticky notes that they feel is a part of the problem statement. This takes about 5 minutes. The facilitator has each member bring their sticky notes up, read, and then post them randomly on a flip chart. Once this is completed by each member of the team, they will work silently as a group to gather each idea statement into the naturally occurring groups of ideas that become apparent. Create and agree on a label for each group. These labels are important for the next two tools, the Interrelational Digraph and the Nominal Group Technique#continuousimprovementt #leanthinking #leanmanufacturing

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