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Workshop Tactics

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Theme Sort

Affinity Sort

Also known as Affinity Mapping or Affinity Sorting - simply put, group similar things together to make sense of them all.

What is the Theme Sort workshop tactic?

Theme Sort is a great tool for making sense of a large amount of information during your meeting.

Theme Sorting works by clustering similar items together to help you find the theme. When you have a lot of sticky notes, grouping them by similarity allows themes to emerge. This helps you sort a large amount of information, ready to be prioritised.

Tip: it’s easier to Theme Sort as you go. If you try to do it afterwards, it becomes more difficult to organise the information.


How to use Theme Sort in your workshop

1. Make sure you’ve got a lot of wall space.

2. Whatever kind of information you have on your sticky notes, make sure there is one point per note.

3. Put the sticky notes on the wall, reading each one aloud as you do.

4. Each time you put up a new sticky note, ask yourself if it’s related to or similar to a previous one. Place it near the existing note. If it’s exactly the same, place it behind.

5. When all the sticky notes have been clustered, write a title for each on a larger sticky note. These are your themes.

6. Review the outliers; they may belong in smaller clusters.

7. Consider using Priority Map or Blind Vote to determine which theme is most important to the group.

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