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Organizing ideas effectively

Effective organization of ideas is the only way to truly realize the potential of large amounts of information.Is it a bad thing to have too many ideas?A wealth of data is good unless the information is unorganized which can cause confusion and you will not be able to gain all of the potential of having all of the data.Hence, effectively organizing your ideas is paramount to success.

When you are in a situation with a lot of information, you may find it difficult to organize everything into a useful format so that you can make a decision.You may be brainstorming a situation or you may be trying to solve a problem or analyze a situation.The important thing to do is organize the information into a format that you can easily see all the information so that you can come to the correct decision or resolutions.

A lot of time can be wasted trying to examine all of the information or trying to assimilate all the little pieces.You may find an affinity diagram one of the best methods to effectively organize your ideas.We will use the ideas gathered from a brainstorming session to illustrate this diagram for the rest of the article.

An affinity diagram helps to synthesize large amounts of data by finding relationships between ideas.The data is organized into meaningful groups where they can be examined closer.From these groups you can clearly see what you have, and then begin your analysis or even go directly to the decision making process.

The affinity diagram will help show common themes from the grouped ideas that you may not have seen until then.Also the diagram will discover previously unseen connections between various ideas or information.Additionally, the diagram can assist in the brainstorming process to discover root causes and solutions.

After you complete a brainstorming session you may find that you have pages and pages of ideas.Because brainstorming is supposed to be free thinking, the ideas won't bee censored or edited in any way.Many of the ideas will be similar and many will be closely related to others in a variety of ways.The affinity diagram will help you start to group the ideas into themes.
You may want to complete the diagram as a group or an individual.In the group setting you may find that more ideas come as the relationships between the information becomes clear.Using a whiteboard you can list your first idea.Immediately start listing all of the ideas.Those that are related go into the same list.Some ideas may not be related to anything.Once all of the ideas are listed you may want to give each list a heading.At this point you may want to show if ideas are connected to others that are not in the group.
You now have the information in a more readable format.You may be able to cut the problem up into smaller sections using the different groups.You should be able to analyze the information in smaller chunks.This is the basics for organizing your ideas.You will find that with more information, you may need sub-headings and groups.You may want to divide into 3 or 4 person groups to put the affinity diagram together because each group may come up with slightly different relationships.
In summary, affinity diagrams are one way to effectively organize data.The data is grouped together in meaningful relationships which allow you to see the problem and solutions from a different angle.Additionally, you are then able to address each group separately instead of working with the data all at once.

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