Six Thinking Hats®

The Six Thinking Hats technique aims to enable participants to approach a discussion from various different points of view and ways of thinking.

Problems and Purpose

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.

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. 

Origins and Development

Know how this tool or technique was developed? Help us complete this section!

How it Works

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.

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" [1]

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Want to contribute an analysis of this tool or technique? Help us complete this section!

See Also

Scarborough Senior High School Redevelopment (Perth, Western Australia) 


[1] de Bono, Edward, "Six Thinking Hats". de Bono Thinking Systems

External Links

The de Bono Group - Six Thinking Hats 

Wikipedia Entry - Six Thinking Hats®