Six Hats

The Six Thinking Hats are metaphorical hats that you can “put on” or “take off” to indicate the type of thinking that you are using. When using Six Thinking Hats in a group, everyone wears the same hat at the same time (parallel thinking).

Six Thinking Hats is a critical and creative thinking strategy from Edward de Bono that helps individuals and organizations throughout the world become more effective, innovative thinkers.

Six Thinking Hats is a flexible and easy-to-use thinking process that leads to amazing results with innovative thinking, improved communication, and reduced meeting time.

In traditional thinking we constantly find ourselves in conflict. Each side seeks to criticize the other point of view. The Six Thinking Hats method, however, encourages Parallel Thinking,where everyone explores all sides of an issue at the same time.

Six Thinking Hats is also an effective tool to use for individual thinking. Using a Six Thinking Hats sequence ensures that all aspects of an issue are considered.

How does Six Thinking Hats work?
Each of the Six Thinking Hats represents a different direction or type of thinking, which is identified by a color:

White Hat   White Hat Thinking: Data, facts, information known or needed.
Black Hat   Black Hat Thinking: Difficulties, potential problems. Why something may not work.
Red Hat   Red Hat Thinking: Feelings, hunches, gut instinct, and intuition.
Green Hat   Green Hat Thinking: Creativity – possibilities, alternatives, solutions, new ideas.
Yellow Hat   Yellow Hat Thinking: Values and benefits. Why something may work.
Blue Hat   Blue Hat Thinking: Manage the thinking process, focus, next steps, action plans.

Everyone focuses on the same type of thinking at the same time (parallel thinking), which minimizes conflict and promotes progress. When switching hats, everyone changes to the different mode of thinking to tap into their collective knowledge. This eliminates egos and has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of time spent in meetings.

Just one hat may be used (“What’s your red hat on this issue?”), or a combination of the Six Thinking Hats may be used in a particular sequence to examine an issue.

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All Six Hats materials have been adapted from Edward De Bono’s work on parallel thinking, and Six Thinking Hats methodology.