Introduction Flower Association

The blossom or flower assocation technique

The flower association is one of the many creative techniques out there for generating ideas. It is one of the few creative techniques that can be applied to any problem. The flower association is a useful brainstorming technique, which is slightly more difficult than other techniques. It allows the group to distance themselves from the problem. With this technique, the HMW question (How Might We …) works towards a world that has nothing to do with the question and the problem. So that new ideas arise from there.

Step one: getting associations for a keyword
Step one: getting associations for a keyword

The flower association method is powerful, because it helps to associate in a tree-like structure and get associations that are less common.

Pick an association and associate again!
Pick an association and associate again!

Creative techniques ensure that a problem is considered outside a fixed thinking pattern. By using a creative technique, a problem can be viewed differently for which solutions are devised. In this way, they provide new creative ideas.


Executing the Method

  • Step 1: HMW-question

    Create a group of at least 3 people for this brainstorming session. Formulate the problem together in a problem question according to the HMW principle. Write the question on a flip chart or a large sheet of paper (minimum A3 format).

  • Step 2: Most important word

    Provide a second flap-over / large sheet of paper (minimum A3 format). Choose the most important word from the problem question together. Put this word in the middle of the paper.

  • Step 3: Associate

    All participants come up with and name all possible associations with the word from the problem question. Separate the associations as petals around the word.

  • Step 4: Continue associating

    Then the words in the first petals are used as a starting point for making new associations around the words from the first petals and associate. Place the associations above the corresponding words. Do this as long as the group is willing and able to make new associations. You can also choose to choose a word from the first petals and make new associations on this word alone. To do this, take a new sheet of paper and place the chosen word in the middle, associate again. Choose a word from that, place on a new sheet and associate again etc.

  • Step 5: Come up with solutions

    Then choose one word that is far from the problem question and has little to do with concepts from the HMW question. Place the chosen word in the HMW question. The chosen word serves as an inspiration for new solutions and provides new ideas in answer to the problem question. Write down all ideas on post-its and place them under the HMW question.

  • Step 6: Generate Ideas

    If necessary, take other words from the flower association that are far from the problem question. Place these in the problem question and generate as many ideas as possible. Do this until a few new ideas emerge from the group. Write down all new ideas on post-its and also place these under the HMW question.


Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Because some association words are lost, while choosing words that are placed in the HMW question, other ideas that could connect with it may also be lost. As a result, the group misses out on new and original solutions.