Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a simple, effective process  that helps you think clearly and see all sides of a situation.  This model that can be used to explore different perspectives towards a complex situation or decision making process.

Each thinking perspective is identified with a coloured symbolic “thinking hat.” By mentally wearing and switching “hats,” you can easily focus or redirect thoughts, the conversation, or the meeting.

The 6 hats and their perspectives:

1) The White Hat calls for information known and objective facts.

2) The Yellow Hat symbolises brightness and optimism. Under this hat you explore the positives and probe for value and benefit.

3) The Black Hat is judgmental and critical. You spot the difficulties and dangers; where things might go wrong.

4) The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. When using this hat you can express emotions and feelings and share fears, present views without explanation or justification.

5) The Green Hat focuses on creative thinking; the possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas. It’s an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.

6) The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process, if you are wearing this hat you act as the chair person.  You keep an overview and control the process.

It is important to remember that one thinking style or hat is not inherently better than another; a full balanced team recognises the need for all hats in order to consider all aspects.

Main benefits of the 6 Thinking Hats model:

  1. It gives permission to say things without risk
  2. It enables everyone to see all sides of a situation
  3. It enables the chair to ‘switch thinking gears’
  4. It helps people to think clearly and objectively
  5. It can lead to focussed and more creative thinking, stimulating innovation
  6. Problems are views from new or unusual angles.
  7. Opportunities are spotted where others see problems.
  8. Conflict is reduced.

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