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Six thinking hats; A technique for coming up with creative ideas

Study guide

Have you ever heard of the Six Thinking Hats? If the answer is no, this phrase may seem a little strange to you. In fact, this is the name given to it by the Maltese writer and thinker Edward de Bono. Mr. Dubono was a physician; But he also studied psychology, natural sciences, philosophy and several other fields. More than his prolific background, however, he is best known for his theory of lateral thinking; The topic we want to know more about in this article.

Six thinking hats; An effective way to advance projects

This intriguing approach, which is very similar to the Disney Three-Chair method, helps us explore all the different perspectives on a given topic, without engaging in a non-constructive argument between colleagues with different perspectives. In other words, we analyze all the different perspectives on the project to determine which one is feasible. This is an advantage; Because in this way, all the members cooperate, everyone’s thoughts and expertise come to the fore, and thus we will have more coherent projects.

This method also strengthens the team work spirit. However, like any other method of brainstorming or brainstorming, there must be a set of general rules that must be obeyed by all participants; For example, if one member of the team is emotional and the other is an analyst, they may have very different ideas. Likewise, pessimistic personal ideas are very different from optimistic personal ideas. With this in mind, it is very important that everyone respects each other’s ideas and views.

How does this method work?

To get started, you can make 6 real hats with the colors we will tell you or make cards with the hat image. It does not matter. Only the color of the hats should be white, black, red, green, yellow and blue. Now put the hats or their pictures on the table. The team or teams you have each have to wear all 6 hats and present their views. the more, the better! As you will see below, we have given each color or hat a name / pattern. This means that the views you express should be in line with the role / hat you are wearing.

Important note: Not everyone wears a hat of the same color. All members must try all six colors.

We now examine each cap to gain a better understanding of its role:

1. White hat; Neutral thoughts based on existing facts

White is associated with calm and pure excitement; Thus, this type of thinking focuses on realistic and analytical perspectives and emphasizes the facts and the feasibility of things. Everyone who wears a white hat should express their opinion based on the available data, without interfering with personal judgment. Note that we are going to comment on the data and facts that exist, not the report.

2. Red Hat; Emotional thoughts based on personal judgment

Red is often associated with anger and heat; Thus, it can represent a person’s emotional thoughts, inner feelings, perceptions and beliefs. This hat is located just opposite the white hat. Here you have to express your personal opinions according to your emotions, insights and judgments. No one has the right to express negative feedback about the thoughts and opinions of others. In general, at each stage of the Six Thinking Hats method, individuals should be able to express themselves freely.

3. black hat; Pessimistic thoughts and focus on weaknesses

Black is associated with darkness by default; Thus, it can represent negative, critical, or skeptical thoughts that focus on identifying risks and problems. When the black hat reaches you, you have to express your negative views. Tell others why you think the project is not going well. List all the problems that you think interfere with the project and hinder its success.

4. Yellow hat; Optimistic thoughts and focus on strengths

Yellow is often a symbol of sunshine and happiness; Therefore, it is more associated with optimistic approaches, speculations, and the best state of thinking in general. This hat is the opposite of the black hat and expresses all the positive aspects of the ideas. At this point, you need to state why you believe in this project and why you think it will really succeed. However, do not forget to express your opinion humbly. Optimism and positivity are not a reason to make exaggerated and irrelevant statements.

5. Green hat; Creative thoughts and new ideas

Green is associated with the color of trees and nature; Thus, it can represent creative thinking, new ideas and mental precipitation. At this point, you need to step away from the facts and try to find useful creative options to answer the problem. Whenever you find a solution, to confirm them, you should review the black and yellow hats to evaluate their pros and cons.

6. Blue hat; Monitor all views

Six Thinking Hats - Blue Hat;  Monitor all views

Blue is the color of the sky; Therefore, it can be related to structured thinking, a high-level examination of the overall picture of the situation and the big picture in general. Every time this hat reaches someone, he has to monitor the whole meeting, organize the thoughts and views, without giving a point of view. One of the tasks of this person is to determine the problem, identify the necessary actions and goals to be achieved. It should also identify the ideas to be considered and report on the progress of the project. Everyone should play the same role every time they are given a blue hat.

Important points when using this method in meetings

  • Encourage people to participate in the presentation. No need to categorize. Everyone should use all hats.
  • You can use a sequence of 2 or 3 hats for a specific purpose; For example, a black hat immediately after a yellow hat can be used to evaluate an idea, and a black hat followed by a green hat can be used to improve a design.
  • During the session, you can choose more than one hat whenever necessary. You can even use them to guide and change the way you think; For example, somewhere in the discussion where you need to talk about problems immediately, you can say let’s think with a black hat; That means let’s talk about the negative aspects and problems of the project.

You can use effective meeting management strategies and conflict management tricks in meetings.

Uses of this way of thinking

The Six Hats thinking method is a powerful decision-making technique because it uses a combination of different perspectives and delivers a comprehensive decision. With this method, we can insert emotional thoughts and even pessimism into methods that have a completely logical process. But what is the advantage? That we will have the opportunity to be creative in decision making. The decisions we make in this way are more flexible, and because they are based on a holistic perspective, we can avoid potential problems and obstacles from the outset before making them.

This method works very well in the following cases:

  • When we want to have better and more structured meetings;
  • When we want to think (mental rain) and we need everyone’s cooperation;
  • When we want to make better decisions with a more comprehensive view, which considers all aspects and problems;
  • When we want to look at facts, emotions and creative ideas from a different angle and use them to better explore problems;
  • When we need inspirational ideas and we want people to come out of passivity by accepting different roles and their creativity to flourish.

last word

There are two other important things to know:

  • When you ask one of the people to take off his hat, give it to him with his color and not with the emotional equivalent of that color; For example, when you tell a person to take off his yellow hat, he can think and act according to the role you have given him, but if you tell him to take off his hat and express the positive thoughts that you have, you have made it difficult for him. .
  • The Six Hats of Thought method is great for drawing out people’s perspectives, but it does not help resolve differences between conflicting perspectives. Sometimes everyone moves spontaneously and naturally during the discussion; However, this is not always the case, and sometimes other frameworks may be needed for the discussion to reach a single, definite conclusion.

You say

Do you think you can use this method in your business? If there is a disagreement between people, how do you deal with it?





Six thinking hats; A technique for coming up with creative ideas

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