An Interrelationship Diagram (also referred to as a relations diagram) is a graphical tool that identifies and displays all the interrelated cause-and-effect relationships among different concepts, ideas, or factors.
Creating an interrelationship diagram helps you identify the natural links between the different aspects of a problem. With the linked connections, you can better analyze the cause-and-effect relationships that exist among all factors of a complex situation. Ultimately, allowing you to develop an effective solution to the problem.
An interrelationship diagram is used to illustrate how factors relate to one another. With this tool, you take a central idea or issue and map out the logical and/or sequential links among related ideas or factors. However, instead of one factor always following another in a logical sequence, each factor may be connected to many other concepts or factors.
Using this technique shows that ideas or factors can be logically linked with more than one factor at a time. Thus, this process encourages you to think in multiple directions (lateral thinking) rather than just thinking linearly.
Once all the relevant connections between ideas or factors have been linked, the connections are counted. Those with the most connections will usually be the most important factors to focus on.
Gather sticky notes, flipchart paper (or white board) and markers.
Develop the problem statement
Write a statement defining the issue at the top of a white board or flip chart.
Brainstorm issues related to the problem
Brainstorm ideas about the issue and write them on individual sticky notes or note cards. Some of these ideas may be the result of a previous activity such as an affinity diagram, fishbone diagram, or tree diagram. Use those ideas to brainstorm additional ideas.
Identify cause-and-effect relationships
In this stage, you determine relationships between ideas.
Draw arrows to indicate directions of influence.
Use an arrow to connect related factors.
Analyze the Diagram to Identify Drivers and Outcomes