The honeycomb diagram is essentially a tree diagram laid out in a more graphically attractive manner. This can be helpful in gaining a better psychological engagement of a group with developing and reviewing its content.
A concept to be explored (such as a strategy for example) is written into the central hexagon. The group then breaks down the concept into (up to) six different primary aspects or ideas around the concept. These are written into the six bolder coloured hexagons around the diagram.
Each of these aspects or ideas is then explored further in the same way, with the new thoughts being laid out in the hexagons that surround each of the bold coloured hexagons. The goal of the exercise is simply to develop a clear and shared understanding of a situation, idea or problem prior to thinking through a way forward. It can help people to see the whole picture, reconcile different perspectives, and identify what might be important.
The honeycomb diagram is more about preparing people’s perceptions rather than reaching a clear conclusion or insight.
Honeycomb diagrams are often used to present management concepts in presentations. They are easily understood and inherently attractive and interesting. Using the honeycomb as a tool for exploration exploits this to engage people’s attention in the exercise. Their downside is the restriction to two levels of exploration and six perspectives on each, however, this is may be counterbalanced by better engagement of the team in the exercise.
Furthermore, there can also be advantages of the constraint of ‘6’ – it can encourage prioritisation and/or further exploration where there would otherwise be more or less than six. The human mind has some interesting and constructive responses to handling constraints, and the hexagon diagram can sometimes tap into these.
Track your progress to ensure the efficacy of this strategy.