How to map root-causes with Ishikawa’s fishbone diagrams
The ‘Fishbone Diagram’ is one of 30 techniques included in our PLAYBOOK, the free toolkit for creative thinkers.
WHAT IS A FISHBONE DIAGRAM?
Devised in the 1960s by Kaoru Ishikawa, it helps uncover and illustrate the root-causes, bottlenecks, or failure points in a process. Also called a cause and effect diagram or Ishikawa diagram, it usually ends up looking like a fishbone.
HOW TO USE IT?
The fishbone diagram is a visual tool to help you think about and categorise potential causes of a problem in order to identify its underlying root causes.
You can download the worksheet below.
Start with the head
On the right-hand side of the page, draw a triangle or circle, and describe an issue or problem within it.
Layout the backbone
Draw a horizontal line across from the issue on the right to the left-hand side of the page.
Map themes and causes
Identify the primary symptoms or themes of the problem and map them along the backbone. For each of these, explore all the potential underlying causes and any contributing factors.
Discuss and reflect
Review the completed diagram for useful insights, revelations and possible hints at how to address the issue.
The worksheet is included in our free PLAYBOOK, a collection of 30 of our favourite tools and techniques. Download them all now in the PLAYBOOK.