Six Thinking Hats®

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Definition

Developed by Dr. Edward de Bono, the Six Thinking Hats technique allows participants to approach a discussion from different view points, mental conditions, and ways of thinking.

Problems and Purpose

Ideal for use when there are multiple competing points of view on the topic of deliberation. The process ensures that a conclusion is reached through rigourous critical-thinking rather than emotion and pre-conception. 

History

A case study of this techniques use during a consensus forum on school infrastructure in Western Australia is available at http://participedia.net/en/cases/scarborough-senior-high-school-redevelo...

Participant Selection

Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction

There are six different 'hats' participants are asked to don when thinking about the issue:

  1. The White Hat: parses out what information is known or needed. 
  2. The Red Hat: approaches the topic on hunches, emotions, and intuition.
  3. The Black Hat: plays the devil's advocate; considers various reasons why something might not work.
  4. The Yellow Hat: considers the proposed outcomes optimistically.
  5. The Green Hat: focusses on creativity and innovation; asks about new ideas and alternative possibilities. 
  6. The Blue Hat: manages the thinking process; condenses what has been brought up and how it was arrived at.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

By switching mental 'thinking hats', de Bono claims that participants can expect to:

  • "Hold critical meetings without emotions or egos making bad decisions
  • Avoid the easy but mediocre decisions by knowing how to dig deeper
  • Increase productivity and even more important -- be more effective
  • Make creative solutions the norm
  • Maximize and organize each person's thoughts and ideas
  • Get to the right solution quickly and with a shared vision"

Source: de Bono, Edward, "Six Thinking Hats". http://www.debonothinkingsystems.com/tools/6hats.htm

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Secondary Sources

de Bono, Edward, "Six Thinking Hats". de Bono Thinking Systems http://www.debonothinkingsystems.com/tools/6hats.htm

External Links

Notes

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