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The Innovator's Toolkit: 50+ Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth, 2nd Edition by Neil DeCarlo, Philip Samuel, David Silverstein

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Technique 30

KJ Method

Group and organize ideas by their natural affinities.

 

KJ method provides a way to organize and refine your innovation ideas, sparking further dialogue and achieving consensus about which ideas are worth developing. Also known as an affinity diagram, KJ method works best when you have more ideas than you can readily handle or process in your mind.

Usually, KJ method directs participants to generate ideas via classic brainstorming. However, given the many other powerful ideation tools in this book, we recommend you use KJ method to help you organize and prioritize the highly creative and innovative ideas you've already generated.

KJ method was named after Jiro Kawakita, a man of many talents who was a professor of cultural anthropology in Japan. After extensive field research in Nepal during the 1960s, Kawakita developed KJ method to improve the integration and categorization of qualitative data around such factors as the environment, population, relationships, hierarchy, and religion.

Steps

Scenario: Let's see how KJ method helped the Patient Crusaders team organize and prioritize their ideas for making dental patients more comfortable and less afraid during treatment (also see Heuristic Redefinition, Technique 7).

A team of six to eight people is optimum for KJ method. Fewer than this can make prioritization too subjective; more than this can make it difficult to gain consensus.

1. Prepare Ideas

Write each idea you've come up with on a sticky note, ...

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