Affinity Diagramming

Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI)

Collaborator: Kendall Hageman + Guests

Each year the Institute for Emerging Issues holds several stakeholder meetings where they seek to identify 'emerging issues' that may affect North Carolina's future productivity and innovation across multiple policy areas: health, the natural and built environments, the economy and education. Affinity Diagramming was used for the first time, and with great success, to cut across the diverse backgrounds and experiences of experts in different fields. The team identified and discussed similar or analogous problems and opportunities, and grouped them according to patterns and trends they saw.

Affinity Diagramming gave the different stakeholders an opportunity to group similar opportunities and problems independent of context, and discuss and classify larger, emerging trends.


Workshop with Elizabeth Sanders, 2011

Collaborator: M.E. Miller + Marysol Ortega

Mixed Media

After a presentation about the MakeTools approach to design research by Elizabeth Sanders, graduate students in design worked in groups to quickly discuss and make a collage that addressed the past, present and future of Design. Each group presented what they made, then discussed the points of convergence and divergence in opinions across the workshop about the future of Design.

maketools (toolkit)

Scoring of Downtown Raleigh: the view from every bench

Raleigh Community Study

Collaborator: Marysol Ortega

What we discovered in our scoring of Downtown Raleigh is that it is a gathering place for people. We spent the most time in Raleigh’s town squares. And, while we did not directly observe many people on those cold January days as we documented the views from each park bench, we did find evidence that people had spent time there—and together.

Scoring of Downtown Raleigh: the view from every bench

These findings during the scoring process directly influenced the shape of our delivery mechanisms for methods. Because we know people come to downtown, but we did not see many people gathered together at once, we developed methods that utilize social media, rather than depend on reaching many people sharing the same physical space at the same time. And because we learned that historic sites and monuments are generally meaningful to residents, we could ask more specific questions about what else contributes to their sense of where they come from and who they are.

Scoring of Downtown Raleigh: rubbings of any sign with a date

Raleigh Community Study

Collaborator: Marysol Ortega

In those same locations—Moore Square, Nash Square and the State Capitol—we saw physical monuments and commemorations of important people, events and ideas. We came to believe these spaces and markers contribute to Raleigh citizens’ sense of belonging to the city and to each other.

Task Flow Diagram

Collaborator: Parsa Beheshti + Kezra Cornell + Josh Dillard + Ryan Foose