3.1 Synthesise what you heard
Cluster your post-its by theme. Find themes, patterns and common traits.
This step is a collaborative activity that will take up most of a 2.5 hour workshop session with colleagues. Use the rest of the session to write insight statements (see 3.2 Write insight statements)

๐Ÿง™โ€โ™‚๏ธ Tip: The process of doing this is as valuable as the output, so donโ€™t rush it.

๐Ÿ› ๏ธ Tools

The online whiteboard you created in step 4.

๐Ÿง๐Ÿฟ Solo or collaborate ๐Ÿ‘ซ?

Do this with two colleagues. Do it with one if you canโ€™t.
Donโ€™t do this solo.

๐Ÿ‘ฃ6 Steps

1. Brief your colleagues

Explain to your colleagues that you need their help to sort and organise the things your users have told you. Tell them it will involve using post-it notes on a whiteboard and then writing down insights together. Tell them it will take around 2.5 hours, including a break.

2. Look at the synthesis session example on your whiteboard.

It will give you an idea of what a synthesis session output looks like.

3. Write down 3-6 high level themes

Look at your interview questions. Identify any high-level themes they explore. Examples could include:
  • Feelings about [situation]
  • About them
  • Family
  • Behaviour when stressed
  • Online habits
  • Accessing mental health information
  • Coping strategies
  • How they like to learn
Use short labels of 1-3 words for each theme. You can change these later.
Add these themes to the โ€˜Affinity clustersโ€™ section on your whiteboard.

4. Group post-its by theme

Gather your team around the post-its on your whiteboard.
Working together and individually, group the post-its by theme. Itโ€™s good to discuss what they mean and where they should go.
Add new themes when you need to. Group things that make sense together.
Discard post-its that arenโ€™t relevant. Pruning is important.
Split post-its that hold two pieces of information.
Duplicate post-its if you need to because they fit into two places.
Discuss anything you arenโ€™t sure of. Discard anything that doesnโ€™t easily fit a theme. This will help you focus on what is important.
๐Ÿ”—๐Ÿ”— Affinity clustering (video)

5. Break themes into sub-themes

Do this if you have large amounts of notes in one theme.
Gather again around your whiteboard.
Working individually or together, sort each cluster of post-its into sub-themes. Do this in lines to make it easier.
Add short labels to describe each sub-theme.

6. Remove and re-sort if needed

Look at where your sub-themes only have one or two post-its. Discard these post-its or sort them into other themes if they fit naturally.

๐Ÿง™โ€โ™‚๏ธ Tips

Keep your labels brief. Label themes and sub-themes with 2-5 words.
Discard any post-its or sub-themes that arenโ€™t relevant or donโ€™t naturally fit.
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Outline
๐Ÿ› ๏ธ Tools
๐Ÿง๐Ÿฟ Solo or collaborate ๐Ÿ‘ซ?
๐Ÿ‘ฃ6 Steps
1. Brief your colleagues
2. Look at the synthesis session example on your whiteboard.
3. Write down 3-6 high level themes
4. Group post-its by theme
5. Break themes into sub-themes
6. Remove and re-sort if needed