Plusses Potentials and Concerns

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Plusses, potentials and concerns are a technique that constructively evaluated an idea (Firestien, undated) and is closely related to the ‘developmental response’ (see also Receptivity to Ideas and Advantages, Limitations and Unique Qualities).

The development of each idea is quite time consuming and therefore the technique is more appropriate for use on a short-list of ideas than for general screening of large numbers of ideas.

Prepare your ideas into a form such as: ‘What I see myself/us doing is…’ Then list:

  1. 3 or more ‘plusses’ (Strong points)
  2. 3 or more ‘potentials’ (Spin-offs, researchable possibilities, etc)
  3. Your ‘concerns’ about the idea, using the layout: ‘How to…?’ And putting them in order of importance.
  4. Starting with the most important idea make notes on how you can overcome each concern (or at least the main ones).
  5. Taking into account step 4, try to improve your original idea: for instance:
    • How to get people to understand it and become enthusiastic for it
    • Its advantages and disadvantages (and how to surmount the disadvantages);
    • The resources required (people, materials, money…)
    • How to pre-test it (e.g. are there particular times or locations you might use?)
    • How to identify when implementation is complete
  6. In order to keep the momentum going, put in place the opening steps of a suitable action plan, with at least one step to be done within the next day.


  • R. Firestien, Why Didn't I Think of That? A Personal and Professional Guide to Better Ideas and Decision Making, 1989