Starbursting Brainstorming Technique

Starbursting Brainstorming technique - Toolshero

Starbursting Brainstorming Technique: This article describes the Starbursting Brainstorming Technique in a practical way. After reading you will understand the definition, meaning and basics of this brainstorming and creativity tool. This article also includes an in-depth explainer video about how to apply this great Brainstorming Technique! Enjoy reading!

What is the Starbursting Brainstorming Technique?

The Starbursting Brainstorming Technique is an alternative way of brainstorming in which questions are generated systematically. It’s brainstorming, but without the focus on collecting answers and ideas, it focuses on generating questions.

That makes Starbursting a useful brainstorming tool for decision making or problem solving, since participants of these brainstorming sessions will better understand what’s going on exactly.

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Other techniques tend to indirectly explore the new ideas and make decisions based on team discussions. The Starbursting technique is a form of brainstorming that is focused on defining and collecting new ideas. This gives everyone insight into related factors. It gives them the opportunity to really think about something before coming up with a solution.

Starbursting Video (in-depth explainer)

Watch the in-depth video below for a recap of what you’ve just read, so you will remember it more easily!

Open-ended questions

Asking questions is a useful way to understand a new idea. The goal of a Starbursting session is to have the whole team participate. Everyone is challenged to come up with ideas and find the right question in an elaborate way. The six open-ended questions are a handy tool for that: Why, What, When, How, Who and Where.

Starbursting Brainstorming Method - toolshero

Figure 1 – the Starbursting Brainstorming framework

Generating a set of questions is incredibly important to understanding a new idea, concept, product, problem or (work) process. Because the participants get involved, they’ll be more loyal in the end and cooperate with the change. It enables each participant to accept challenges and come up with creative ideas and solutions.

In order to streamline the process, it’s best to assign a chairman or facilitator who leads the Starbursting meeting. He needs to make sure there’s a systematic flow of questions in a specific order and that the questions are relevant to the topic in question.

Application of the Starbursting Brainstorming Technique

The Starbursting Brainstorming Technique works best in teams consisting of at least three people. It’s a simple but effective technique that makes team members think about a new product or service, problem or difficult decision. It is however advisable to appoint a facilitator and follow the steps below.

Step 1: Drawing the star

Draw a six-pointed star on a large sheet of paper. The idea, product, problem or project name is written in the center. For instance, an online shop for women’s fashion that wants to launch a trendy teen clothing line would in the center of the star write down ‘teen clothing line’.

Step 2: Question groups

Write down a question group in each point of the star. There will be six words in the points of the star: Who, What, Why, Where, When and How. Next, these question groups can be discussed in a systematic order with the team.

Step 3: Asking questions

This is the most important step. For each question group, a variety of types of questions need to be asked regarding the topic.

The questions aren’t supposed to be answered yet during this phase. The focus should remain on the question. The questions radiate from the central star:

  • Who will wear the new teen clothing line? Who is responsible for the teen clothing line? Who are our competitors?
  • What will be the name of the teen clothing line? What are the development costs? What is the best way to market it?
  • How will this teen clothing line boost our business? How expensive will the ad campaign be? How do we include it on our website?
  • Where will we sell this teen clothing line? Where do we place ads for the teen clothing line? Where does the financing come from? Where do we have the clothes manufactured?
  • When will the teen clothing line be launched? When is the start of the first design? When do we communicate the teen clothing line?
  • Why do we even need a teen clothing line? Why will teenagers like our clothing line? Why does this teen clothing line make us stand out from the competition?

Step 4: Answering questions

During this final phase, the Starbursting participants will answer the questions together. That way, they contribute to a vision for the new idea. For many questions and answers, new questions can be asked. By collecting the answers and filtering out the best ones, you get a clear idea that helps you get to a good and shared solution.

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Now it’s Your Turn

What do you think? Is Starbursting Brainstorming applicable in your daily work? What is your experience with Starbursting and other form of brainstorming / tools? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more additions?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Cory, T. R. (2003). Brainstorming: Techniques for new ideas. iUniverse.
  2. Paulus, P. B., & Nijstad, B. A. (Eds.). (2003). Group creativity: Innovation through collaboration. Oxford University Press.
  3. Tallman, K. M. (2015). Developing student creativity in an engineering context. Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association.

How to cite this article:
Mulder, P. (2018). Starbursting Brainstorming Technique. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero:

Original publication date: 06/10/2018 | Last update: 05/22/2024

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Patty Mulder
Article by:

Patty Mulder

Patty Mulder is an Dutch expert on Management Skills, Personal Effectiveness and Business Communication. She is also a Content writer, Business Coach and Company Trainer and lives in the Netherlands (Europe).
Note: all her articles are written in Dutch and we translated her articles to English!


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