What are the Six Thinking Hats?

Edward de Bono is famous for the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ method; a technique that helps teams to increase productivity. The process involves separating the thinking of team members into six distinct categories, where each category is identified with its own coloured metaphorical “thinking hat.”

  • The blue hat relates to Managing – identify the subject; what do we need to think about? What is our goal?
  • White is about Information – what information is available, what are the actual facts?
  • Red is for Emotions – what is the gut reaction or emotional feeling?
  • The black is for Discernment – use logic to identify reasons to be cautious and conservative
  • Yellow is about Optimism – identify benefits and harmony
  • The green hat is for Creativity – provoke and investigate, seeing where a thought may take us

Team members wear the coloured hats and focus their thinking and thoughts only to that element. During the course of a session or meeting you can also change hats, and this will enable you to focus on that hat’s perspective. This allows a person or team to gather the various different perspectives of the conversation or idea, and arrive at a holistic view.

Six Thinking Hats has been tested by time and proven by results. Practical thinking through this framework helps people to think clearly and thoroughly. It can channel thinking and attention in one direction at a time – each thinking process attached to the different hats allows your team member to harness and apply their experience. This makes conversations more productive by adding critical thinking, creativity and collaboration to the communication.

Each person’s unique point of view can be included and considered, and thinking becomes more thorough for the individual. The simple process of easily putting a hat on or off to focus on a different colour signals the new thinking ingredient. In a group setting you can also have each member thinking using the same thinking hat, at the same time, on the same challenge — this is known as focused parallel thinking.

The human brain works in a number of distinct ways, and you can deliberately use this in a structured fashion that tactically explores and extends ideas to form robust considered solutions. Many people think from a very rational, positive viewpoint, but by changing hats people can also view a problem from a creative, emotional, negative or intuitive viewpoint. This enables more fulsome and considered decision making, but in a smart and efficient manner.

This systematic method of thinking is what underpins iFactory. We have the capacity and vision to look at your problems and solutions in a completely different way. Our staff can provide your employees new skills and tools to unleash their thinking. We understand the difference between brilliant and mediocre teams – it isn’t their collective mental capacity, it’s how well that capacity can be tapped into.

The collective wisdom is there, and iFactory can help channel and utilise it. Give us a call to transform your ideas into reality.

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