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Interrelationship Diagraph

The Interrelationship diagraph (ID) is a Gateway tool© to focus the efforts of the team or organization on one or two priorities. Additionally, it has been found to be helpful in identifying the cause and effect relationships among various issues. Often the ideas are generated from an Affinity Diagram.

 Interrelationship diagraph

Tools required: flipchart paper, sharpie type markers, post-it type notes, and colored markers.


  1. Arrange the ideas. Issues, header cards or ideas are arranged in a circle on the flip chart.

  2. Look for relationships. Determine the existence of a relationship between each item and all other items.

  3. Determine the direction of influence. Consider the direction of greater influence between each item and all other items. Draw an arrow from the greater influence to the lesser influence.

  4. Tally the arrows. Count the number of arrows going into each item and out of each item.

  5. Identify the Driver & Outcome. The item with the most arrows going out is the driver and the item with the most arrows going into it is considered an outcome.

  6. Review the chart. Discuss the Driver (greatest influence to all other items) and the Outcome (greatest influence by all other items).


   Suggestions for the Facilitator:


  • Limit the number of items to 8 or less. More than 8 can be time consuming and weary for the participants.

  • Agree on a small number, combining those that are similar or don't seem to fit.


  • Some items will seem to influence each other equally. Generate discussion and come to agreement on a greater influence (even a little greater). No arrows in both directions.

  • No influence is OK=no arrow. If you find an item with no influence to several items, discuss, it may need to be removed from the diagraph.

  • The participants may lose interest at mid-point, but will gain acceptance and praise for the results.


    For more information on the use of this tool and/or a brief interactive exercise to demonstrate the tool,


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