Finding themes is about exploring the commonalities, differences, and relationships between the information you’ve gathered, in order to find meaning.
- 30-60 Minutes
- Post-it notes
- design team
Have the team go to the wall or board where they have placed their key story and insight post-its and select the five most interesting quotes, observations and/or insights.
On a new board, sort these into categories or buckets, and then cluster the related ideas into themes.
Ask the team to look for patterns and consider the relationship between categories. Check to make sure the themes are at the same level and covering the same things. If a theme is too specific, find the bigger idea. If a theme is too broad or has too many different ideas under it, break it down into several buckets.
Try moving the post-its around to re-group the data in different ways. Get input from the team and/or expand to seek input from a broader group.
When finished sorting, give each theme a title on a new post-it. Make sure there is enough space between or below the different theme categories for the next step of identifying opportunities.
Creating themes can be an engaging and rewarding experience, as you start to group and transform the data before your eyes. Some good techniques for doing this are:
- Work together as a team to decide how to create buckets and themes.
- Arrange and re-arrange the post-its on the wall until the team is satisfied with the groupings.
- If there is a theme that contains almost all the post-its, break it out into several smaller themes.
- Try to see not only the connections, but also the relevant differences between the information.
Remember P.O.I.N.T., a handy technique for translating the problems and needs identified in storytelling into Insights and Themes.
P = Problems
O = Obstacles
I = Insights
N = Needs
T = Themes