Six Thinking Hats maximizes collaboration, stimulates creativity, and improves the team decision-making process.
Created by Edward de Bono in 1985, this process helps teams think through problems or opportunities from multiple perspectives, but one at a time in order to avoid too many angles crowding your thinking.
The idea is simple: Different ways of thinking are divided into 6 clear functions and roles, identified by a colored symbolic “thinking hat.”
How to Use
When approaching a problem or seizing an opportunity, team members mentally wear and switch hats to approach the issue at hand from multiple perspectives. This process also forces individuals to get out of their habitual thinking patterns and redirect their thoughts, which promotes more innovative thinking. Depending on your problem, hats can be used in many sequences and not all hats are necessary.
Informationtion known or needed
“The facts, just the facts.”
Brightness and optimism
Under this hat you explore the positives, and probe for value and benefit.
While wearing this hat, imagine the difficulties and dangers, and where things might go wrong.
Feelings & Intuition
When using this hat you can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates.
Creativity, possibilities, alternatives, & new ideas
It’s an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.
Managing the thinking process
It’s the control mechanism that ensures the Six Thinking Hats guidelines are observed.
- Use Sharpie Markers (Easier to Read)
- Post-It Notes (3″ x 3″)
- Easel Pad (Large 24″ x 30 ” Post-it Notes)
- Prior to meeting, identify an issue or problem to be solved with the group
- For each hat that you are using, prepare individual easel pads with a hat & category name at the top. For example: Red (Emotions), White (Facts), Yellow (Benefits), Green (Creativity), Black (Judgement).
- Hang easel pad papers on wall in your order of operation.
- Send White Hat questions to the team so that they are prepared with facts and figures.
- Answer one hat at a time. For each hat:
- Two (2) minutes of individual brainstorming per hat
- Write one (1) idea per Post-It note
- Be specific. Use only 6-7 words per Post-It note (for example, “more phone training” instead of “training”)
- After Two (2) Minutes
- Five (5) minutes for the entire team to present
- Each team member presents their Post-It notes
- Team member puts Post-It note on the easel paper for the current hat
- Group similar ideas together in each hat
- Continue in this fashion until you move through all of the hats
- Repeat for each hat that you decide to use.
- Remember, not all of the hats need to be used.