Thursday, April 14, 2011

TSA Affinity Diagram

I just read the news about the 6 year old girl that received a pat down in an airport. No need to search the video if you haven't seen it. It is what I've described.

Did you know the TSA has a blog? Well, they do... and they responded to all the attention the video has gotten. For my Affinity Diagram exercise I'm not concerned with what the TSA blogger had to say. More; I was interested in what the public had to say in response to this event. Which is: Video Posted, TSA responds.

What is an Affinity Diagram?

It is a way to organize thoughts simply. Take the comments that people make and put them into categories. What you find is that most people are saying the same thing and by grouping them you take your own feelings out of the equation and really drill down to what the problem may be or find what is really bothering people or what is working.

An Affinity Diagram can help in many ways. For example: if you work in HR and have a tight budget and are not sure what to put in the break room to improve things then an Affinity Diagram may help prioritize. You (the HR person) may think a larger coffee maker is important and think that that will satisfy most. But if you were to listen to employees use it daily you may find that an air conditioned area might be better. Or maybe a window so folks could see outside.

In any case, Affinity Diagrams should be done quickly and without to much analysis or arguing.

SO. How did American's respond to the video of the 6 year old and the follow up blog post?

28%: Reasonably Against.
When I say reasonably, it doesn't necessarily mean "smart". Just means the poster was against the action taken on the 6 year old.

"It's unfathomable that TSA can continue to miss the point over and over and over again. Nobody is questioning if the TSA agent in question disregarded the rules and went rouge in her assault on that child. People are furious that TSA rules allow and even mandate this sort of action in the first place."

17%: Sarcastically Against.
Commenter just dropped by to say "FAIL". Or "I flew on a flight, you guys suck".

16%: Vile / Obscene / Disgusting.

10%: Against Societal Norms.
"Putting your hand down the pants of a 6 year old violates societal norms."

09%: General Comment on Posting or other issue.

06%: FREEDOM!!!
The patriotic response or ones with quotes by founding fathers.
"Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

<5%: Terrorist's Have Won.

<5%: Abolish the TSA.
Yes, a few used the term "Abolish" so I gave it a category.

<5%: Support for TSA.

Finally; Sympathy for the TSA Employee. 1%


To get the percentages I ran through 135 comments.


If I were in Congress or a PR employee in the TSA (do they have them?) I would look long and hard at working to change things. The public clearly does not approve what happened here. After throwing out the sarcastic comments you can still see that over half the people here (55%) disapprove of what happened and only a small percentage approve. The argument that the TSA makes is that it helps protect our skies. But what I've noticed is that Americans don't think it's being gone about the right way.

It's muddy water to try and determine if current security measures are preventing acts, so to argue for or against "pat downs" is futile. Look to the concerns of the people and try and resolve them while maintaining security. Taking a blind stance against the concerns of the public (as in the TSA blog post) and supporting an action that is overwhelmingly disliked is misguided and unfortunate.

Better can be done. This is America after all, and last I checked "we, the people" were in charge. Not the TSA.

(Chalk that one up under: FREEDOM!!!!)

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