Enhancing Collaboration With “Plussing”

Collaboration is rarely a smooth and simple process. Team members come together and offer opposing ideas with disagreements and critiques abound, and in the end, one idea comes out on top while the rest are tossed aside. While that one idea was able to triumph, what if one of those ideas that didn’t make it had the potential to be something even better? This is where plussing comes in.

What Is Plussing?

Plussing is the practice of following any critique of an idea with a constructing suggestion. What this does is slightly expand and improve on the idea further before it is tossed to the side. It’s from this expansion that can help drive inspiration, and pull in the insight of the entire collaborative team on one idea to explore it’s potential.

The goal of plussing is to not let the process of collaboration be more of a conversation than people just shouting out different ideas until the “best” one is chosen.

How Does Plussing Help?

Below are some of the ways that plussing can help enhance the creative process.


Maybe it’s not the idea that inspired someone but the suggestion that someone else made on that idea. Without that suggestion, they would have never been inspired to make that idea even better. From there, others are inspired to come up with even more improvements, and it’s a cycle that can go on and on.

Team Efficiency

Requiring every team member to provide insightful feedback to every idea means that they need a complete and clear understanding of that idea, so they need to stay involved and listen closely to the entire conversation if they want to contribute. Those who are not helping the group’s cause, or tend to cause roadblocks with non-constructive feedback, will naturally be filtered out of the conversation so that the team can continue with its forward progress.

Team Respect & Comfort

While titles and seniority should never play a role in collaborative environment, plussing ensure that every team member is equal, with seniors required to respect and build upon the ideas of the less experienced, who can also learn from the seniors and offer their own, fresh perspective.

The plussing technique has shown to make for a more comfortable collaborative environment, since those who contribute know that their idea or any suggestion that they make will be built upon instead of shot down.