Plus, Minus and Interesting

PMI is one of the thinking tools invented by Dr. Edward de Bono (see my last post). Though it looks simple, it is very powerful. To use this tool, we first look towards the plus side of a thinking situation, than towards minus and lastly try to find the interesting points.

“I am going to buy this new fast dual core laptop with big screen. Should I? Let us do PMI. Time for this thinking is 2 minutes.”


  • I shall be able to run my word processor faster.
  • I shall be able to run multiple operating systems in virtual environment.
  • I shall show off to friends
  • I shall be able to run Microsoft VISTA


  • Too costly.
  • An extra expense since don’t really need.
  • Somebody can snatch this new shiny laptop.
  • Customer support of this brand is not good.
  • Bulky


  • Will be interesting to see how my favorite games perform.
  • Will be interesting to see how my friends respond to my new laptop.
  • Will be interesting to see movies on bigger screen while on the go.

Every one might generate different points with his application of PMI on the same topic. PMI is a scan tool which means that once you have moved to Minus, you do not go back to Plus. Similarly when you have moved to Interesting, you do go back to Minus or Plus. When doing thinking without this tool, our emotions, biases and past experiences limit us. PMI forces us to do a full scan before making a decision. This tool is so simple that you can explain it to any one in few minutes and ask him to do a PMI on the current situation.

Minus is not something bad. It is just the other side. In fact during training sessions I conduct, some people list one point on the plus side while others list the same point on the Minus side. This is ok. The important thing is that scan should be broader. A good PMI result should be some equal number of Plus, Minus and Interesting points.


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