Pluses, Potentials and Concerns

Pluses, Potentials and Concerns


This is a decision making exercise that allows you to choose the best ideas from a set of ideas. Since each idea is considered in detail, this technique is more useful when you can focus enough on each idea. Hence, it is not suitable if you have many ideas to consider or want to use quantitative methods to reduce the number of options available.

It is best to run this exercise for a group of people who are from the same organisation so that everyone can focus on the same problem.


Identify the pluses, potentials and concerns of each idea to select the best ideas from a set of options available.

What You Need

  • Blank cards
  • Copies of Evaluation Forms provided below.


Stage 1:

  • Ask the delegates to consider a problem for the purpose of this exercise. It is best if this is a current work-related problem.
  • Ask them to use a brainstorming technique to generate a number of ideas as potential solutions.
  • Ask delegates to write each unique idea on a blank card.
  • Allocate 30 minutes for this part.

Stage 2:

  • Ask the delegates to focus on each idea one at a time and consider the following:
    • Identify three pluses. Think of three strong points that support this idea.
    • Identify three potentials. Think of three possible ways that could improve the idea or solution further. Are there any by-products that the main idea can lead to? Can this idea be combined with other ideas to form a better solution?
    • Identify three concerns. What would be your top three main concerns if you follow this solution or idea?
  • Ask delegates to record their discussions on an Evaluation Form for each idea.
  • Allocate 5 to 10 minutes per idea.

Stage 3:

  • Once all ideas are initially covered, each idea can then be explored in more detail.
  • Ask delegates to consider the following:
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each idea?
    • What resources are required for each idea?
    • How can you get more commitment for a given idea?
    • How can you get people to become more enthusiastic about a given idea?
    • How can you reduce the risks by testing an idea? For example, can you make a quick prototype to demonstrate a key concept cheaply but conclusively?
  • Allocate 30 minutes for this part.
  • Based on the discussions, ask the delegates to choose the top three ideas.
  • Follow with a discussion on the effectiveness of this method.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes

Activity: 30 min brainstorming + 60 min stage 2 analysis + 30 min stage 3 analysis = 120 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


How effective was the Pluses, Potentials and Concerns technique? Did it help to qualitatively analyse and select the best ideas from the set? Did it help you become more objective? Does this technique help to structure a more efficient brainstorming technique?


Evaluation Form






Your Analysis

Three Pluses





Three Potentials





Three Concerns





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The Most Similar Exercises & Articles to this in Order of Similarity Are:

Decision Making: The NAF Technique
Crisis Management: Brainstorm a Solution
Time Management Exercise: Identify Time Wasters
Reverse Brainstorming and Negative Brainstorming
Classical Brainstorming and Double Brainstorming

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