Supercharge Idea Output With Starbursting Brainstorming

Starbursting brainstorming is a structured technique to help your team come up with lots of ideas in many different focus areas. Use this approach to easily guide your team to generate tons of ideas for your product or service.

Does the idea of brainstorming make you anxious?

Do your brainstorming sessions run dry quickly?

Or do you wish you had a more structured approach to lead the team to create more ideas?

Starbursting brainstorming is just the technique you need. It gives you a structured approach to cover all the bases when generating ideas.

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough for how to do it.

What Is Starbursting Brainstorming?

Group of people around table for Starbursting brainstorming

Starbursting Brainstorming is a form of brainstorming that uses questions to systematically think through different aspects of product development or addressing a project. 

It uses questions as a tool for planning and helps teams develop a list of questions to think through the various components of a problem or project.

When To Use It

When you’re approaching something new – such as a new product or service – there can be many unknowns. 

Thorough preparation requires that you think through all aspects of the product. 

The Starbursting Brainstorming approach helps you do this. 

Starbursting brainstorming helps your team think through many aspects of your product or service by using questions to guide you.

How To Do It

Draw a six-pointed star on a flip chart, white board, or some medium in order to lead the group through the session. 

In the middle of the star, write your product or project.

In each star point, write each of the following six categories:  

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. When
  4. Where
  5. Why
  6. How
Starbursting brainstorming image with questions in star points.

First Create the Questions

Lead the group through each of the six categories to generate a list of questions for each. 

Have the group you’re working with systematically go through each of these categories to generate questions in each category about the product or project. This helps you determine what you need to think through for your product.

Don’t answer the questions yet. Just keep thinking of questions at this stage. The goal at this step is to think up as many questions as you can. 

The goal in the first part of starbursting brainstorming is to generate meaningful and helpful questions in each category for your product. 

For example, if you’re creating a product for a large customer base, you may be asking questions about the product itself. 

But then you may shift focus and create questions about how to address training and support for that product.

You continue to create questions in each of the question categories to build out a more comprehensive list of what you need to consider.

Then Answer the Questions

Your next step is to go through the questions and answer them. This can be done in a separate session. But it’s good to have the same participants be a part of answering the questions if possible for increased buy-in. 

Or you may uncover areas you still need more answers for.

You may realize there are important areas you hadn’t even yet considered.

Starbursting Brainstorming Example

To illustrate more clearly how this is applied, I’ll use the example of creating a backpack for petite professional women. As a petite woman, I’m tired of lugging around backpacks that look like they were made either for my husband or a school kid.

I’ve longed for a sleek and professional-looking backpack that looks stylish but is durable enough to carry my laptop and other work gear on a business trip.

If a group were to build a backpack to fit this need, they could use the Startbursting Brainstorming technique to think through various considerations. 

Here is the technique applied to the backpack example:


  • Who will use the product? 
  • Who will help design the product?
  • Who will produce the product?
  • Who will market the product? 


  • What type of material will it be made of?
  • What are the dimensions?
  • What design will we use?
  • What finishings and detail will it have?
  • What price point is ideal?


  • When will the backpack be used?
  • When will we start production?
  • When will we start marketing the product?


  • Where will we have it produced?
  • Where will we market it?
  • Where will we sell it?


  • Why is this product needed?
  • Why would someone want to buy it?
  • Why would a consumer choose our producer over another?


  • How will we get feedback on prototypes?
  • How will we market?
  • How will we sell it?
  • How will the backpack be cleaned?
  • How will the backpack be delivered?

You can go on and on with these questions. This is a starter and the group may think of even more questions to add to the list as they’re going through the exercise.

Tips for a Better Brainstorming Session

People around conference table for Starbursting brainstorming session.

Bring together a group of people who have diverse backgrounds and experience for a more well-rounded approach. 

Make sure everyone understands the product or problem you’re there to address. 

Make sure they understand the Starbursting brainstorming approach you’ll be using, since it’s different than many other brainstorming techniques. 

As with other brainstorming sessions, have a good facilitator and capture information generated. 


This approach can help you and your team think through many components you might otherwise miss. You’ll be better prepared for starting your project after working through the questions.

And you’ll have input from others who may have perspectives different from your own. 

And if you’re curious about the backpack, I finally found one that was perfect. Petite professional women – here’s your backpack!

Full disclosure: there’s an affiliate link here. But you won’t pay extra if you use this link. I’ve now taken this backpack around the world with me on business trips and it’s sleek and professional and I love it.

You’re welcome.

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