Much rhetoric has appeared over the last few yean about the desirability of the basic-needs approach to development planning. The basic-needs approach, however, hu remained more of a proclamation of good intentions than a strategy for development. Operationalising it poses certain difficulties. In this article, two novel ways of transforming the basic-needs philosophy into concrete policies and strategies are presented. The discussion consists of explanations of planning tools entitled basic-needs activities and product path analysis. Finally, some brief comments are offered on the use of popular participation in a basic-needs strategy and possible trade-offs between basic-needs satisfaction and growth.