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PINC Filter


Creative tools > PINC Filter

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use the PINC Filter when you have created a number of ideas and you want to select those to carry forward to the next stage of development.

Only use the PINC filter after you have reduced the number of ideas to a very short list. Each PINC evaluation is not short, and evaluating many ideas would take a long time. Typically you need less than six and ideally only two or three.








  X        Psychological



      X    Group


How to use it

When evaluating ideas, it is useful to identify the positive and negative aspects of the idea to decide whether or not to carry the idea forward for further development. Sometimes these are not too clear and there can also be things that are intriguing or concerning that are worth taking into consideration.

1. Build the PINC box

Draw the box that you will use to evaluate the idea as below. Write the idea being evaluated in the box at the top. Give more space for Positives and Negatives as you usually need more for these.

If you are doing this with a group of people, you may use a flipchart. Individually, you can use paper or a computer.




Positives Negatives





Intriguing Concerning





2. Evaluate the idea

Discuss the idea and add notes to the sections using the following rules:

  • Positives - things that add value

  • Intriguing - curious things that could be of value

  • Negatives - things that remove value

  • Concerning - worrying things that could remove value

For assessing value, consider whether the idea may lead to a complete solution. You may use the NUF Test in this, but beware of the U and F tests leading to rejection of an early idea that is still only at the N stage.

Be playful about what goes into the Intriguing category, following your 'inner child' and notice whether an idea catches your eye for no apparent reason.

You can put logical thoughts in the Concerning box, but beware of structured thinkers going overboard on this.

3. Repeat for selected ideas

Repeat the PINC Filter test for each of the ideas being considered.

4. Stand back, review and select

When you are done, pin up all of the pages on the wall and review them all together to decide which of the ideas will receive further attention, either to be tried out in practice or to receive further attention.

Beware when doing this of selecting ideas because there are simply more comments than another idea.

When an idea is selected, then the Negatives and Concerns now become the target of the next creative session.



Idea: Build bookshelves into fabric of wall


Positives Negatives
- Double-sided: books in two rooms

- Saves cost of wall

- Twice as many books on shelf


- Have to go to next room for some books

- Poor sound insulation

- Pushing books off other side


Intriguing Concerning
- Floating books?

- Other uses?



- Is wall load-bearing?

- Effect on house value




How it works

Positives and Negatives force people to think about the real value of the idea.

The Intriguing test is to catch those ideas that may seem too silly and prevents the early demise of such possibilities.

Putting all ideas up afterwards gives a visual comparison.

Drawing out the Negatives also helps create a focus for the next creative session.

See also

NUF Test, Force-field Analysis


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