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PMI lesson

1. PMI lesson workcard

Imagine that all the seats were taken out of buses. Stop reading for a moment and think about this proposal.

P = Plus. The good things about an idea - why you like it.

M = Minus. The bad things about an idea - why you don't like it.

I = Interesting. What you find interesting about the idea.

Instead of just saying that you like an idea, or don't like it, you can use a PMI. When you use a PMI you give the good points first, then the bad points, and then the points which are neither good nor bad, but are interesting. You can use a PMI as a way of treating ideas, suggestions and proposals. You can ask someone else to do a PMI on an idea or you may be asked to do one yourself.


Idea: All the seats should be taken out of buses.


  • More people can get into each bus.

  • It would be easier to get in and out.

  • Buses would be cheaper to make and to repair.

  • Buses would be lighter.

  • You could carry more objects, like bags and pushchairs.


  • Passengers would fall over if the bus stopped suddenly.

  • Old people and disabled people would not be able to use buses.

  • It would be difficult to carry babies.

  • Less popular for long journeys.


  • Interesting idea that might lead to two types of bus, one with and one without seats.

  • Interesting idea that the same bus would do more work.

  • What would you do with the seats?

  • Interesting to see how the driver would drive the bus standing up.


1. By law all cars should be painted bright yellow.

2. People should wear badges showing whether they are in a good mood or bad mood that day.

3. Students are paid to go to school.

4. Every adult spends one week a year in the police force.

5. People live to 150 years old.

6. A new global language is invented for communicating via text message.

7. All buildings have gardens on the roof.

8. Every young person adopts an old person to care for.

9. In many countries there is a jury system in which ordinary people assess whether an accused person Is guilty or not. Some other countries do not have juries but have three judges who do all the assessment themselves. Do a PMI on this three-judge system.

10. Do a PMI on the system which allows a lawyer to sue on behalf of a client and then to take a percentage of the damages awarded by the courts. The lawyer charges no other fee.


  • When is a PMI most useful?

  • Does one always look at the good and bad points of an idea?

  • Does a PMI waste time?

  • Is it easy to do a PMI?

Learning points

A. The PMI is important because without it you may reject a valuable idea that seems bad at first sight.

B. Without a PMI you are very unlikely to see the disadvantages of an idea that you like very much.

C. The PMI can show that ideas are not just good or bad but can also be interesting if they lead to other ideas.

D. Without a PMI most judgments are based not on the value of the idea itself but on your emotions at that time.

E. With a PMI you decide whether or not you like the idea after you have explored it instead of before.

These de Bono Thinking Lessons are free to use by parents, guardians and teachers. (This means on this website, or to print and use in home or in the classroom. Not for further distribution or commercial use). 

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