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.
Rose, Bud, Thorn Worksheet
How to do it
Identify a topic for analysis. Possibilities include systems, products, processes, organizations, etc.
Pull together a diverse group of stakeholders, users, and subject matter experts.
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.
Encourage participants to generate multiple issues, insights, or ideas, but to capture only one per sticky note.
Group the colored sticky notes on a whiteboard or similar surface according to rose, bud, and thorn.
If desired, participants can group or cluster items further by priority or related themes and give each group a title.
- Easiest tool to explain
- Participants catch on very quickly
- Very easy to come up with ideas
- 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
Trimming to narrow down buds the team wants to take action on