MediaLAB Amsterdam

The KJ Method

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A brainstorming and prioritizing method that places emphasis on the most important ideas and actions.



How do you assess what is most important? This method allows to prioritize your efforts.



1. Set up a group meeting and a room. You need at least 5 participants to generate a sufficient amount of ideas.

2. Select a moderator. This moderator frames the design challenge.

3. Participants generate many ideas and write them on post-its.

4. Collect the idea post-its, shuffle them, and hand them out. No one should get one of their own ideas.

5. Ideas are read out as the moderator transcribes them on flipchart pages. During this phase, anyone can ask for clarification of any idea brought up and recorded. Ideas are categorized in groups (post the post-its on a wall or whiteboard). No more than 10 groups!

6. Best ideas are voted up, so that each group has clear winners. Discuss the insights.

7. Individuals take ownership of ideas and take responsibility for implementing or further developing each on a deadline.


Although all items may be discussed, debate or criticisms of ideas is not allowed.


A starting point for a design solution and a priority list for actions and directions.


Combine the KJ Method with practical concepting and prototyping methods to work out your ideas.


Source: MediaLAB Amsterdam


OHIWA, Hajime, et al. KJ editor: a card-handling tool for creative work support.Knowledge-Based Systems, 1997, 10.1: 43-50.

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