Rose, Thorn & Bud is a reflection method to identify situations, events or outcomes as positive (rose), negative (thorn), or having potential (bud).
This helps to reflect and analyze projects, problems or strategies and leads to better decision-making for the next steps and areas to focus on.
The board is divided into three categories. Participants are then instructured to reflect on each category and write down their thoughts on sticky notes.
Rose is the category where positive points will be listed. These can be successes, highlights, or even the most minor wins.
Thorn is where negative points will be listed. These can be areas of difficulty where someone needs more support or obstacles that will impede the end result.
Bud is where you would list areas of potential. This can be a new idea or something to explore further.
If this is a new activity for the group, some participants may struggle to come up with points. Here are some questions you can ask to get people thinking about what is a rose, thorn, or bud:
- What have you done this week that you feel proud of?
- What have you been doing that’s been working well for you?
- What has been the highlight of the project so far?
- What has caused you stress during this process?
- What aspects of the project do you feel are not working?
- What is the most difficult part of the project?
- What can improve this project?
- What do you look forward to in this process?
- What ideas can we expand further?
A good example for Rose, Thorn, Bud is to do the method to assess a project at the beginning of a reflection or ideation workshop. That way, you can collect insights about people's perspectives and find out what participants are missing and where they see areas of opportunity.
Below, you can see an example of how a Rose, Thorn, Bud method could look at the end.
The first group to utilize the concept of Rose, Thorn, Bud appears to be the Boy Scouts of America, as a way to think about whatever situation they encounter. As the organization promotes looking at this methodically, this makes a lot of sense.
Over time the technique has developed. As RTB is a versatile technique, the method will change slightly from situation to situation. However, the core principles remain the same.