Open rose with buds and leaves.Rose, Bud, Thorn is a versatile and easily applicable evaluation technique that is used to guide a group to reflect on areas of success, potential growth, and opportunities for improvement. Each participant has an opportunity to share their favorite aspect or most memorable moment from a program (Rose), something that could be further developed (Bud), and a negative element or area that needs to be improved (Thorn).

When to Use: At any point in a project

Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Participants: Young Children, Youth, Groups + Facilitator

Supplies: Flexible depending on setting and group. Try these different options.

  • Verbal responses - No materials
  • Sticky notes - three colors to designate rose, bud, and thorn; wall space
  • Index cards - three colors to designate rose, bud, and thorn; collected and sorted
  • Worksheet or whiteboard - written responses under each category, markers

Sample Questions: 

  • Rose
    • ​What is something that is working well?
    • What is something positive about the event/ project/ product/ experience?
    • What are you proud of?
    • What was the highlight?
  • Bud
    • ​What is an area of opportunity?
    • What is an idea that can be explored further?
    • What can be improved? 
    • What are you looking forward to?
  • Thorn 
    • What is something that isn’t working?
    • What is something negative?
    • What caused stress?
    • What was difficult?