Rose, Bud, Thorn


Rose, Bud, Thorn is a useful exercise that can help you to understand strengths, weaknesses, and areas of potential. Use this template to brainstorm, team build, or give and receive feedback on a project or idea.

In this exercise, roses are things that have happened or that you can acknowledge as good. These are typically the things you are most excited about but want to invest the least in since you’re already doing them well. Roses are demoted by red sticky notes in this template.

Green sticky notes represent a bud, or a potential opportunity. Buds are usually something that gives you a spark or inspires you in some way. These often show you different, new, and exciting opportunities that you can take. Buds are really based all around this idea of nascent, early signals that tell you things are moving in the right direction but may need to be cultivated or nurtured in some capacity in order to realize full potential.

Thorns are the blue sticky notes and represent the weaknesses or more tricky problems. These tend to be considered the “ouch” points of an idea. Thorns are areas that either externally we've heard validation or our intuition is telling us we really need to focus on because they’re just not quite right.

When considering a specific problem or topic, it is important to understand what’s working, what’s not, and what has potential.

  • Brainstorm ideas and start to group related topics together

  • Find common themes by clustering your ideas or using affinity mapping techniques

  • Give and receive feedback on your findings with your group

  • Remind your team to stay focused on the given topic and have an unbiased discussion about the subject or opportunity

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maad labs
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maad labs is a do tank, not a think tank, that performs digital experiments, provides executive training, builds our own (largely AI/ML/Data) products, and consults with both venture-backed and large, multi-national companies bringing bold, audacious, and complex ideas, experiences, and technologies to market. We help organizations get future-proofed by leveraging impending technological disruptions.
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