“Put on your thinking hat” is something we’ve heard quite a few times. Making a decision is a straightforward yet very complex task. Sometimes it’s easy to make a quick decision, while many situations require deep thought to arrive at a sound decision. Effective decision-making can be achieved with the help of six thinking hats.
Dr Edward de Bono pioneered the six thinking hats technique. His book showcasing the method was first published in 1985 and has been revised many times. The book was inspired by the confusion and disagreements that often occur when creative thinking occurs in a group.
Six thinking hats is a simple and effective parallel thinking process. It enables individuals to be more focused and productive. These hats are extremely powerful and can be used effectively as soon as they are learned.
Think of the six hats as six different perspectives. Each hat color represents a type of perspective. Applying this method of thinking involves using a different hat at various points in a discussion to make the best decision. Think of the hats as a milestone. At each juncture, one thinks of an aspect of the issue and nothing more. By doing so, the discussion flows effectively.
The focus of this hat is on the facts. The data at hand and its analysis are the prime focus. The idea behind this hat is to take a rational approach.
Brightness and optimism are the focus of this hat. While using this hat, the situation is probed to see what positive outcomes and value can come from it.
The Green Hat emphasizes originality, including options, choices, and fresh concepts. It’s a chance for everyone involved to communicate new ideas and viewpoints.
This hat is about caution. It’s sometimes known as the risk management hat and may be the most potent hat. It identifies challenges where things might go wrong and why something might not work. It’s fundamentally a tool for taking action to highlight risks and resolve them. However, it can be problematic if overused.
The hat is used to control the process. It’s used to direct the flow of the discussion and ensure its progress in case those involved get stuck during the conversation.
This hat is all about emotions. How you feel about the subject of the discussion can be brought up using this hat. How others might react is also a factor. The red hat allows emotions to be a part of an otherwise rational process.
While it’s good to know what these hats are, it’s also essential to understand what type of questions one can ask while donning one.
|White hat||What information is currently accessible?
What do we lack?
What do we need?
How will we obtain any necessary or lacking information?
|Yellow hat||What’s the best strategy for handling this situation?
What potential advantages exist?
How do we make it function?
What are the enduring advantages?
|Green hat||Can we approach this in another way?
How can I uniquely tackle this problem?
How can we embrace a different viewpoint?
|Black hat||Does this work?
How could this possibly fail?
How can we make this financially feasible?
|Blue hat||What issue do we have?
What results do we want?
What would the solution to this issue accomplish?
What is the best pathway of action to take?
|Red hat||What does this feel like to me?
What impression does this give to others?
What’s my feeling towards this?
Are there any internal disputes?
Effective use of the six thinking hats leads to a plethora of benefits. They foster the growth of organizations and enable them to tackle any situation head-on in the best way possible. The proper utilization of these hats leads to:
Overall, the six thinking hats enable a team to go beyond the usual, see things from various perspectives and come to an informed decision or solution.
Understanding what they are and what one can gain from them is very important. The “what” has been thoroughly discussed. Now let’s look at the “how” and ponder over an ideal scenario in which the six thinking hats work together.
The ideal meeting would start with the blue hat, which decides the flow of the meeting and ensures that everyone sticks to it.
Once the meeting begins, each hat is given a turn, and everyone speaks from the perspective of that hat. If green hat thinking is taking place, the blue hat will ensure that no views from other hats, such as emotions from the red hat, are included.
It’s important to note that the six hats are a tool that can be used to analyze situations and come to unbiased and informed solutions. As such, the hats can be used in any order; sometimes, not all hats need to be used. It depends on what the team is trying to achieve through the discussion.
To fully comprehend the extent to which the hats are an excellent tool for finding a solution, let’s look at a six thinking hats example.
The Hypothetical Problem
A restaurant has a growing number of complaints from their customers who are ordering online. The delivery of their food is taking too long.
A team of ten people must figure out a solution to this problem. As far as everyone is concerned on an individual level, they’re doing nothing wrong.
The Process – Using the Six Thinking Hats
The manager at the restaurant calls the team in for an exercise using the six thinking hats. She introduces the concept to the team and then separates them into groups of five. She creates variety in the groups by mixing everyone, so different thought processes work together.
Each group then takes part in 15-20 mins rounds per hat where they discuss their ideas, put them up on a board and try to see the problem from every possible angle. The rounds are facilitated by the manager, who guides the teams and answers any queries.
Once all the rounds have taken place, and everyone has shared their points of view in the groups, the manager brings everyone together. She then places all the questions and answers on a board in front of everyone after everyone has shared their thoughts and points of view. This allows all team members to fully understand the problem and its potential solutions.
The six thinking hats are an excellent way to include everyone and understand the whole picture. After all the discussions, meetings and analyses, the culmination should be a new way forward. The method should provide all the information one needs to effectively understand and tackle a problem.
Harappa’s Champion Creativity pathway will help you take the next steps you need to approach problems creatively. The pathway will allow you to think bigger, embrace obstacles and challenges, explore uncharted territories and unleash your inner creativity as you encounter new situations every day.