Starbursting is a structured brainstorming technique with a focus on question generation. Starbursting is a structured form of brainstorming allowing product teams to cover all bases during the ideation process. It utilizes a series of questions to systematically work through various aspects of product development, forcing teams to evaluate ideas based on viability.
During product development, many teams use traditional brainstorming techniques to generate a list of potential features. However, this is often done before the team defines a target audience or clarifies the vision for the product. With no definitive guidelines established, these teams create products that consumers have no interest in buying. What’s more, product development invariably runs over time or over budget.
Starbursting is a structured form of brainstorming allowing product teams to cover all bases during the ideation process. It utilizes a series of questions to systematically work through various aspects of product development, forcing teams to evaluate ideas based on viability.
Starbursting is named after a six-point star, with each point representing one of six fundamental questions.
Applying the starbursting method
Applying the starbursting method is a matter of following three steps. A good facilitator should be employed to mediate the discussion and ensure that every group member has an opportunity to give input.
Step 1 – Create a six-point star
Teams can opt to draw a star on a large sheet of paper or download a template online. The name of the project should be written in the center of the star.
Then, label each of the six points using the following titles: who, what, how, where, when, and why.
Step 2 – Brainstorm potential questions
In the second step, generate a list of potential questions without answering them.
Some examples of questions for each point are listed below (aim for at least three per point):
- Who – who will use the application or work on product development itself? Who are the primary competitors? Who will market or produce the product?
- What – what are the product dimensions? What will the packaging be made from? What is the most suitable price point?
- When – when might production start? When will marketing commence? When do we envisage that product updates will be required?
- Where – where will the product be sold? Where will the funding come from?
- Why – why should the product be created in the first place? Why will it be competitive in the market? Why will consumers use it?
- How – how will the product be promoted, marketed, or advertised? How will it complement existing products or services?
Step 3 – Formulate answers
In the final step, the team should concisely answer each of the questions generated above. It should be noted that starbursting is an idea generation process and not a means of creating an action plan.
Nevertheless, the answers gleaned in step three will yield important insights that the team should incorporate before proceeding with product development.
- Starbursting is a structured brainstorming technique with a focus on generating questions to assist in robust product development.
- Starbursting helps product development teams create products that consumers want. With less emphasis on product features, the team is free to consider a new product from the point of view of the consumer.
- Implementing starbursting is a relatively simple process. However, a good facilitator will ensure that the individual perspective of each team member is heard and considered.
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