Prep Time:
Time to run:
30 min

Rose, thorn, & bud template

Understand a situation and identify opportunities for improvement

Courtesy of our friends at

About the rose, thorn, & bud template

Use this template to gain insight into how participants view a current situation (by identifying roses, thorns, and buds), and draw connections from responses. This activity will help examine how a situation is working and can help guide positive next steps.

What is a rose, thorn, bud activity?

The rose, thorn, bud exercise is a problem-solving technique that can be used to brainstorm potential solutions to a problem.

The exercise involves listing out the problem, the positive aspects of the problem (the rose), the negative aspects of the problem (the thorn), and possible solutions to the problem (the buds).

This exercise can be used by individuals or groups, and it is a helpful way to generate new ideas and perspectives on a problem. The rose, thorn, bud exercise is an effective tool for problem-solving because it helps to identify both the positives and negatives of a situation, and it provides a structure for brainstorming possible solutions. With this exercise, you can explore all facets of a problem and come up with creative and innovative solutions.

How to facilitate a rose, thorn, bud activity

  1. Gather a diverse, cross-functional team so that you bring a wide array of perspectives to the activity — this will help ensure that you're avoiding potentially glaring gaps in your thinking
  2. Introduce the topic and define the parameters of the discussion so that it stays focused and on point
  3. Have everyone brainstorm and list aspects of the topic that they find positive, negative, or as having potential using the color-coded sticky notes in the template
  4. Once you've gathered your feedback, organize it by clustering the ideas by topic, helping you analyze any consistent themes and reveal potential next steps and action items

How to create a Rose, thorn, & bud template

Facilitate rose, thorn, bud activities in a visual, engaging way

MURAL's unique features make team brainstorming, ideation, organization, and alignment on next steps faster and easier
Sticky notes & text

Sticky notes & text

Add ideas, action items, and more as a sticky note or text box — then change the colors and cluster to identify patterns and new solutions.



Add comments and tag collaborators for smooth asynchronous communication.

Private mode

Private mode

Avoid groupthink and get authentic feedback by allowing collaborators to add content privately.

Real-time collaboration

Real-time collaboration

Add more productivity and engagement to meetings and calls with features to guide collaboration.

Summon collaborators

Summon collaborators

Easily direct everyone’s attention to a specific part of the mural — no screen sharing required.

Tags on sticky notes

Tags on sticky notes

Customizable labels make it easy to find, organize, and categorize your work in a mural.

Rose, thorn, & bud template frequently asked questions

What is the rose, thorn, bud technique?

What is meant by design thinking?

LUMA Institute

Template by LUMA Institute


LUMA offers acclaimed in-person training, custom innovation programs, and a unique digital platform (LUMA Workplace), used by innovators in over 70 countries. Leading organizations around the globe rely on the LUMA System of Innovation — a practical, flexible, and scalable approach to Human-Centered Design.