Rose, Bud, Thorn

What is it

Visually categorize positive (rose), potential (bud), or negative (thorn) aspects of a topic (e.g., system, product, process).

Why use it

  • Help quickly identify problems and opportunities to produce a structured summary of each.
  • Constructively discuss difficult topics, such as “what’s not working well.”
  • Build shared understanding among the team to analyze issues.

When to use it

When clarifying different facets of the challenge or opportunity and identifying areas needing further evaluation and exploration.

Level

Beginner

Outcome

Evaluate

Group Size

4+ people

Suggested Time

45+ minutes

Rose, Bud, Thorn Worksheet

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How to do it

STEP 1

Identify a topic for analysis. Possibilities include systems, products, processes, organizations, etc.

STEP 2

Pull together a diverse group of stakeholders, users, and subject matter experts.

STEP 3

Pass out red (rose), green (bud), and blue (thorn) sticky notes to participants and have them write the strengths, opportunities, and challenges associated with the topic. If colored sticky notes are not available, use red, green, and blue markers with plain sticky notes, or use a whiteboard with colored markers.

Optional: Use the Rose, Bud, Thorn worksheet as your guide.

STEP 4

Encourage participants to generate multiple issues, insights, or ideas, but to capture only one per sticky note.

STEP 5

Group the colored sticky notes on a whiteboard or similar surface according to rose, bud, and thorn.

STEP 6

If desired, participants can group or cluster items further by priority or related themes and give each group a title.

Benefits

  • Easiest tool to explain
  • Participants catch on very quickly
  • Very easy to come up with ideas

Challenges

  • Sometimes can turn into a vent or rant session
  • Need to translate the ideas into action items or else people won’t feel their complaints
  • have been taken into account

Combine With

Trimming to narrow down buds the team wants to take action on

Need help using this tool with your team?

Questions?

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