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Starburst

Starburst is a brainstorming technique that focuses on generating questions rather than answers to help support your decision-making capabilities. Six questions are asked initially - Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? and the answers can then be used iteratively to create more Q&A's.

Uses of the method
Typically used at the beginning of a foresight project to flesh out the topic question or to begin analyzing a specific Insight or Trend.

Benefits

  • Fast understanding of the questions that need answering
  • Valuable method to ensure that all the relevant issues have been considered
  • Systematic, comprehensive and multi-purpose
  • Fast and ultra-low cost
  • Can be used by both individual analysts and teams

Disadvantages

  • May be incomplete if not used with other methods or iterations do not go deep enough.

Steps to complete

  • Considering the topic, Insight or Trend ask each question in turn without producing any answers
  • Ensure you briefly capture the high-level gist (meaning) in each question
  • Sort your ideas into priority order or a logical order.
  • Capture your most exciting idea and biggest fear.
  • Determine the fixed elements (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments.
  • Capture critical uncertainties i.e. variables, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the fixed elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts.
  • Capture unique insight into new ways of seeing that can be utilized by the organization.
  • What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)?
    • How might the future be different?
    • How does A affect B?
    • What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
    • What are the likely outcomes?
    • What and who will likely shape our future?
    • Where could we be most affected by change?
    • What might we do about it?
    • What don't we know that we need to know?
    • What should we do now, today?
    • Why do we care?
    • When should we aim to meet on this?
  • Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other research and methods such as 'Brainstorm' to create more vantage points on the issue.

Collaboration
This method and your response can be shared with other members or kept private using the 'Privacy' field and through the 'Tag', 'Report' and 'Forum' functionalities. Use 'Tag' and/or 'Report' to aggregate your analyzes, or add a 'Forum' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.

Click the 'Invite tab to send invitations to other members or non-members (colleagues, external experts etc.) to ask for their input. You can whether or not you want anonymous responses.  These can be viewed and exported within the Responses tab.

Further reference

History

A tool used by journalists. Takes a 360 degree approach to asking questions about an issue.

Contact us
Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance.

Contact us today for a free discussion on your needs.

Are there other enhancements or new methods you would like to see here? Let us know and we will do our best to respond with a solution quickly.

Copyright
Some rights reserved. This particular part of the website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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