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Six Thinking Hats technique

08 / 03 / 2018

In order to continue with the series on tools aimed at the fostering of creativity and the improvement of abilities and exploratory attitudes –quite useful in the design process– today we present the 'Six Thinking Hats’ technique.

Created approximately in 1983 by Edward de Bono, a writer and psychologist born in Malta and a specialist in the field of thought, this technique exposes a methodology for discussions and group decision-making, trying to simulate what happens inside the human brain using the simile of a hat. Edward de Bono is mainly known for coming up with the term “lateral thinking”, a thinking method that can be used as a technique for imaginative problem-solving.

Combined with lateral thinking, the Six Hats method provides the groups with materials to think together more effectively and plan thinking projects in a cohesive way. Each one of the six hats has a different color and symbolizes the different ways of observing reality. The method is simple: each one of the participants can put on or take off one of the imaginary hats to indicate which type of thinking he/she will be using (that is, the color under which he/she will express his/her opinion).

 

 

  • The white hat helps us to think in the most objective and neutral way possible. With this thought, we need to focus on the available data, look at the information we have and learn from it.
  • With the red hat, we can express our feelings, intuition, and emotions, without the need for justification.
  • The black hat is used to be critical in a negative way, thinking why something cannot go well. With it we will activate the thought of judgment and caution, revealing the negative aspects of the addressed issue.
  • With the yellow hat, unlike the black hat, we try to look at the positive aspects of a specific issue; it will help us see why something is going to work and why it will offer benefits.
  • The green hat opens up creative possibilities and is deeply linked to lateral or divergent thinking.
  • And finally, the blue hat is the one controlling all other hats. It regulates the timing and the order of the different topics. With this one, we discuss the thinking process and summarize what has been said. In the end, the conclusions are written.

The Six Hats method can be used in sequence: first of all, to explore the problem, then to develop a set of solutions and finally to select a solution through critical analysis. At times when a group is stuck, this tool can be a trigger for a new way to see an idea.