The Lotus Blossom tool is used by designers for creative purposes. It is a framework for idea generation, starting from one central theme, then eight conceptual themes ow out from the main theme and each of them are used as central theme to generate 8 more themes.

Invented in Japan by Yasuo Matsumura, the Lotus Blossom tool adds focus and power to classic brainstorming. The method helps designers to create more and higher quality ideas for services as it starts off with a central idea or theme, and then expands outwards with solution areas or related themes in an iterative manner. 

Steps

1.START: State the selected “How Might We” statement or a sub-focus area of it.

2.IDENTIFY: Based on your HMW statement or the focus of what you are interested in, define the criteria and select suitable group of participants. Aim for diversity among participants. Then, decide what are the central themes to start generating ideas.

3.PREPARE: Organize a meeting with the selected participants, and gather the necessary resources and supplies. Print enough Lotus Blossom templates in A3 or bigger. Think about what expectations will be set up-front, how you will start and end the workshop, and how much time participants are expected to dedicate to this activity.

4.CONDUCT: Use the Lotus Blossom template and write down the central theme in it. Then, individually think of 8 related ideas and write them around the square using a new square for each. Take each of the 8 previous themes and create 8 new themes around it. Write them in new squares. Try your best to complete all of the blossoms to maximize ideas. Upon completion you will have, from each participant, at least 64 new ideas related to the original central theme.

5.REPORT: Write up your key outcomes from this exercise. Make a short visual summary that includes your key findings.

PREPARATION: up to 15 minutes
DESIGN PHASE: Creation
DURATION: 45-60 minutes
TEMPLATE OR GUIDELINES: Use the Lotus Blossom template
FACILITATORS: 1 per workshop
RESOURCES: Pens, Post-its, a large sheet of paper or whiteboard
PARTICIPANTS: Up to 6 per group, design team, partners, community members
EXPECTED OUTCOME: Many ideas