SDA sunflower


The SDA sunflower is an idea generation tool designed to help generate solutions to clearly defined problems.

It helps you visualise a range of ideas, positioning them around a central point; this can be an idea, concept, or issue.

Also known as

The tool

The template for this exercise contains nine boxes arranged in a 3×3 square. 

A 3 x 3 matrix with the main problem written in the centre. The other squares are used to identify potential solutions.

Why use it

  • Generate multiple ideas.
  • Identify which are the ideas most worthy of pursuing.
  • Quickly prioritise ideas.

When to use it

  • You can use the tool during the develop stage of the service design process.

How to use it

  1. Write the problem you want to solve in the central box.
  2. Fill in the remaining eight boxes, which are the ‘petals’ of your ‘sunflower’, with ideas and possible solutions.
  3. Do not go into the detail of your solutions until all eight boxes have been filled.
  4. Repeat this exercise eight more times, each time using one of the solutions as your starting point, putting this in the central square.

You can prioritise your ideas by:

    • Filtering out and removing any ideas that do not fit.
    • Voting on which ideas to retain.
    • Prioritising using Value vs Effort Matrix.



Similar to

  • This has a lot of similarity with Five Whys, in that it forces you to develop your ideas beyond the superficial.

Complemented by


Additional information