I want to know the people I'm working with by defining how my offering is new to them.

Promises & Potential Map


INSPIRED BY : IDEO (2011) Deliver: Plan a pipeline of solutions, p135. In: IDEO, Human Centered Design Toolkit. Edition – 2. London: IDEO.

Level of Involvement

Requires some dialogue with colleagues/peers. Plan for some time to interact and fill out in collaboration over a day maybe.

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What is it & why should I do it?


The Promises & Potential Map is a simple way to define your added value by mapping the relationship between what you do and who you are doing it for. The tool provides a diagram on which you can plot each idea or solution you are developing, whether it is targeted at people you work with already, or people you’d like to start reaching out to. Each idea is also classified as being completely new, or something that builds upon what you do already. In this way any potential new solutions you develop are mapped alongside the promises you’ve already made – and you can see how both relate to the people who might be affected.


Sometimes mapping things out in this way is useful for understanding how much work – and how much benefit – a potential solution might bring. In this worksheet, which has been inspired by Users & Offerings (IDEO 2011), you can map which ideas and offerings are radically new and which are based on existing ones.

How do I use it?

Promises and Potential Map-htu

For both axes independently, first decide where a specific offering by you or your organisation is positioned. Is it a new or existing offering? Is it for new or existing users? Then find a spot on the map where these two positions cross – that is where you place the particular idea.


Depending on where your offering ends up, you’ll get a sense of whether it is disruptive or building on something existing i.e. incremental. This can help to understand whether you are taking a high risk by doing something radically new, or a low risk by building on what is already there.


Your offering can have several sub-offerings, and each of these can represent a different position on the map.  Using the tool gives you a sense of the spread of your portfolio.


This can be potentially used as an interesting way to brainstorm ideas – and help you prioritise them into a product development pipeline for your organisation.




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