Six Thinking Hats

A method developed by Edward de Bono for effective individual and group problem-solving, encouraging team members to look at a specific problem from various perspectives.

About

The Six Thinking Hats is a decision-making and problem-solving technique that encourages participants to explore different perspectives by metaphorically wearing different hats. Each hat represents a mode of thinking, such as creative, critical, emotional, or factual. By systematically considering various angles, the method fosters comprehensive analysis, creativity, and collaboration. It's valuable in meetings, brainstorming sessions, and strategic planning, where structured thinking, alignment, and effective decision-making are essential.

Suitable for

  • Systematically solving problems from different perspectives
  • Re-evaluating existing ideas and generating new ones
  • Preventing conflicts during group discussions

Deliverables

White Hat Summary

A document or presentation that captures all the data, facts, and statistics gathered during the White Hat thinking process. This will serve as a foundation for evidence-based decision-making.


Red Hat Emotions and Feelings

A list or visual representation of the different emotions and feelings associated with each aspect of the project, collected during the Red Hat thinking session. This allows the team to be aware of and consider the emotional impact of the experience for users.


Black Hat Risk Analysis

A document or table that outlines the potential challenges, risks, and negative aspects associated with the project or design, gathered during the Black Hat thinking session. This helps the team in identifying and addressing potential issues early in the process.


Yellow Hat Opportunities and Benefits

A document or presentation that highlights the potential opportunities, advantages, and positive outcomes related to the project or design, gathered during the Yellow Hat thinking session. This will support the team in focusing on the value that can be delivered to users.


Green Hat Creative Ideas

A collection of innovative and creative ideas, concepts, or solutions generated during the Green Hat thinking session. This could include sketches, diagrams, or written descriptions, and will be used to inspire and guide the design of the user experience.


Blue Hat Action Plan

A detailed plan or roadmap that outlines the steps, tasks, and responsibilities necessary to move forward with the project or design, based on the information and insights gathered during the Blue Hat thinking session. This ensures a clear direction and coordination within the team.

Procedure

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Step 1: Introduction to Six Thinking Hats

Begin by explaining the Six Thinking Hats method to the participants. This technique involves six distinct types of thinking, each represented by a different colored hat. The participants will take turns wearing these imaginary hats, focusing on a particular type of thought process while wearing each one.

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Step 2: Define the problem or topic

Clearly outline the problem or topic to be discussed. Make sure all participants understand the issue and agree on the focus of the session.

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Step 3: Assign the hats

Assign each participant a specific hat to start with. There are six colored hats: Blue, White, Red, Black, Yellow, and Green. Each color represents a different way of thinking, and participants should focus on the perspective assigned to them.

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Step 4: Blue Hat

The moderator wears the blue hat, which represents the process and organization of the session. They will guide the group through each of the different hats, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to think from each perspective.

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Step 5: White Hat

When wearing the white hat, participants should focus on objective data and information related to the problem. They should share facts, figures, and any available evidence to help inform the discussion.

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Step 6: Red Hat

When wearing the red hat, participants should express their emotions and feelings about the problem. This could include their intuition, hunches, and gut feelings, as well as any strong preferences or aversions.

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Step 7: Black Hat

When wearing the black hat, participants should focus on potential challenges, risks, and drawbacks related to the problem. They should identify possible issues, limitations, and obstacles that may arise.

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Step 8: Yellow Hat

When wearing the yellow hat, participants should concentrate on the benefits and positive aspects of the situation. They should identify opportunities, advantages, and potential solutions the problem may present.

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Step 9: Green Hat

When wearing the green hat, participants should engage in creative and lateral thinking. They should propose new ideas, concepts, and alternatives to address the problem, even if these ideas may seem unconventional or risky.

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Step 10: Rotate the hats

Once all participants have shared their thoughts from their assigned perspective, rotate the hats among the participants. Repeat steps 4 through 9, allowing each participant to explore and contribute to the discussion from a new perspective.

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Step 11: Conclude the session

After all participants have had the opportunity to wear each hat, the moderator, still wearing the blue hat, should summarize the main points, ideas, and solutions generated during the session. Encourage participants to discuss their insights and what they learned from the process.

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Step 12: Follow-up and implementation

Use the results of the Six Thinking Hats session to make decisions, develop plans, or create strategies to address the problem. Ensure that the insights and ideas generated during the session are properly documented and shared with relevant stakeholders.

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