By using the concepts of Six Thinking Hats, you will be able to ensure a secure environment for everyone at a meeting where everyone can give ideas, share positive or negative thoughts, and express their emotions.
Edward De Bono introduced the concept of using six different colored hats, so participants can use it for thinking logically as well as creatively to generate and assess innovative and different ideas.
The method also lets you think clearly by offering you time to consider about one perspective at a time before making any decision.
It reduces confusion and helps you put up your framework of perspectives in a better way.
The following sections will show you how you can implement these six different hats in your life and make fruitful decisions.
One of the most important thinking tools developed by Dr. Edward de Bono is that different intellectuals have widely praised the Six Thinking hats.
De Bono had a clear concept about his technique. He wanted to eliminate the chances of biased decisions.
He curated this technique back in the 1980s, which involves all the team members wearing the same color hat at a particular time and think in the same direction as the other team members are.
The method helps individuals as well as teams to think about a problem or a topic from different perspectives; it helps them broaden the boundaries of their thinking capacity and motivate the addition of fresh opinions.
You must have felt while discussing a topic in your group that different people use different thinking styles, which often end up in quarrels or blockage of the perfect decision.
However, the thinking hats bring together your thinking style parallel to your other team member’s thinking styles and help you yield a unified decision.
The framework of Six Thinking Hats
In the Six Thinking Hats technique, de Bono presents six different ways of thinking represented by six different colored hats.
When you wear different hats, you explore the diverse styles of thinking turn wise.
You learn the tricks of brainstorming different perspectives of the situation and make a transparent approach towards the problem.
The six thinking hats are:
1. White Thinking Hat
The White Thinking Hat asks you to gather and analyze as much information as possible about the situation.
It asks you to collect every piece of clues, hints, facts, and hidden information about the topic without jumping into conclusions.
The hat gives you the exact feel of a detective as you search through the different pieces of information and put them together.
The collection of data will help you put up your points in a more stable and managed manner. It will help you connect different aspects that will lead to a logical conclusion.
You must work as a team while brainstorming through these questions, as more number of people will lead to more knowledge.
2. Yellow Thinking Hat
The color yellow denotes optimism. The hat strives to bring to your notice the positive values of the issue.
The hat focuses on boosting your morale and bringing in more energy to your underlying idea about the topic.
While wearing the yellow hat, you have to brainstorm through the right values and benefits of the idea.
You should let your mind travel freely and think about all the possible benefits of the idea without setting boundaries.
As you move ahead with the six hats, you will find many more questions for your yellow hat, which will help you move forward with a positive attitude.
3. Black thinking hat
This hat works as the opposite pairing partner to the yellow hat. The hat denotes the exploration of the negative consequences of your idea.
People wearing this hat will brainstorm through the wrong-going of the idea.
The hat helps you identify the flaws, weak points, and dangerous consequences of the idea proposed by the team.
You might feel quite enthusiastic after looking at the results of a yellow hat. But the black hat will help you dive deeper into the results and identify the root problems that you might face in the future.
Thus, you can see that the black hat helps you identify your potential to cope with the risk factors.
4. Red Thinking Hat
The red hat denotes action. While wearing this hat, you will brainstorm through different plans and proposals with which you can go.
Here, you can hatch up plans which you “feel” are right for the problem.
Thus, the red hat makes you have an emotional approach to the problem. A red hat bearer has the following responsibilities:
- Using intuitions to form reviews.
- Finding out what your teammates feel about the particular problem.
- Thinking about what strengths does the proposed idea carries
- Finding out about the weakness of the idea.
5. Green Thinking Hat
Creativity during decision making helps you reach a valuable result. This hat strives to help you think outside the box so that you can open doors for more possible outcomes.
However, your creativity should be completely free of criticism.
While wearing this hat, you can have any number of ideas coming up and are noted down for a discussion.
There is no boundary for your thinking capacity as any idea can be jotted down without any judgmental looks.
Make sure that no idea is criticized, and every thought is appreciated as the hat allows even crazy ideas to be approved.
6. Blue Thinking Hat
The hat focuses on managing the thinking styles of all the other hats. It helps you analyze the situation in a better manner.
While wearing the blue hat, your role is to ensure the working and efficiency of your teammates. The blue hat focuses on:
- Boosting the thinking process and enhance its quality
- Framing questions to help you build more focus on your thinking
- Managing effective rules and agendas to build more focus
- Building actions towards the achievement of goals
These six thinking hats are used as metaphors to denote the different thinking styles used by a person.
The hats help people explore different perspectives of looking into a problem and its solution.
So what can be the benefits of these six thinking hats methodology?
Have a look at the following sections.
Benefits of Six Thinking Hats Methodology
There are 8 significant benefits of using the technique:
- You can express your thinking without any risk factors
- Look at the issue through different perspectives
- Switch thinking styles to broaden your decision making
- Following rules for making the right decisions
- Boost your focus
- Enhances your creative thinking
- Improves communication among your team members
- Enhance your decision-making skills.
Thus you can see that the Six Thinking Hats mechanism helps improve your decision making in 8 different ways.
In case you are unclear about how to use the method, look at the following section.
How to use the Six Thinking Hats technique?
The hats form the categories of thinking styles and not a group of people. Thus it allows people to explore different categories and think towards the topic directly.
However, the correct results can only be achieved if one knows how to use the hats correctly.
The above sections already show the set of rules and questions you can go through for using the hats effectively.
But using the hats is a step-wise procedure:
- Wear the white hat, to generate as much information as you can and present it in a well-managed manner
- Wear the green hat to find out the different ways with which you can handle the situation
- Use the yellow hat to see the benefits of the ideas your team has proposed.
- Follow up with the black hat to see the cons which you might see when using the ideas submitted by the team
- Find out everyone’s intuitions towards the idea by wearing the red hat
- Summarise all the ideas and proposals and discuss them with the team by wearing the blue hat.
The above sections might have been giving you directions that the method is only useful for business decisions. But that is not true. The six thinking hats have different uses.
Uses of Six Thinking Hats
Six Thinking hats are a popular method that has been used by millions of people to make correct decisions.
It was used by the relief planners in Sri Lanka to reconstruct the damage caused by the tsunami in 2004.
You can also create different strategies and programs by dividing the usage of the hats according to your preference like:
For choosing between alternatives – Blue, white, green, yellow, black, red
Getting rapid feedback – Blue, black, green, black
For assessing performance – blue, red, white, yellow, black, green
Edward de Bono’s Six Hats is a proper decision-making technique. Together with parallel thinking, it helps you use a collaborative thinking mechanism for making the right decisions in a group.
De Bono had mentioned this methodology in his famous book, Six Thinking Hats, in 1985.
The words thinking hats are metaphors, which denote mentally wearing hats for believing in a particular direction.
This method helps you think from different perspectives other than following up on a single process.
Each of the hats will help you make a broader application of your mind to a particular situation, helping you achieve your goals without facing any negative consequences.
How effective do you find the Six Thinking Hats concept in idea generation? Tell us in the comments below.