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The KJ method aims to help solve complex problems through a simple and brainstorming-centric process.


The KJ method (also called affinity diagram) was invented by Jiro Kawakita. This Japanese anthropologist developed this method in a participatory approach and to factualiser dialogue. It was introduced in the Western world by Shoji Shiba as part of the TQM in the years 1985.


Simple to implement, it will enable to efficiently animate a brainstorming of problem solving and/or creativity. This method takes place in 6 steps:

  1. Agree on the subject to be addressed
  2. Each participant notes on a support (sheet, post-it) a fact or an idea that the moderator recovers. Every idea or fact is on a different medium. The facts noted must be verifiable.
  3. As a team, we gather similar or close post-it. Be careful to limit the number of groups to a maximum of ten.
  4. Title The groups and check through the title that the post-it matches the right group.
  5. Show the relationships between the groups and present them in a visual way.
  6. Decide on the conclusions to be drawn and possibly decide by a vote


Below is an example of an affinity diagram.


J. Kawakita (1991) – The original KJ method
J. Brilman, J. Haque (2011) – Management, concepts and best practices

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