Friday, May 18, 2007

Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats, by Edward De Bono, presents a framework for organizing and improving thinking.

Switch Hats to Switch Your Thinking
By using a metaphor, the hat, it's easy to switch modes of thinking by switching hats. The main idea is to turn destructive arguments into constructive thinking. The approach is to have people wear a certain hat depending on what type of thinking is needed for the moment.

Six Hats
The six hats are:

  • White Hat - the facts and figures
  • Red Hat - the emotional view
  • Black Hat - the "devil's advocate"
  • Yellow Hat - the positive side
  • Green Hat - the creative side
  • Blue Hat - the organizing view

Key Themes
Key themes throughout the book are:

  • Thinking your way forward over judging your way forward.
  • Parallel thinking over argument, adversarial, and confrontational.
  • Setting direction for thinking over describing what perspective your thinking was.

Key Take Aways

  • By switching hats, you can switch points of view.
  • It's easier to ask somebody to wear another hat, than tell them to change their thinking
  • You can reduce time in meetings spent arguing towards constructive dialogue
  • You can better balance thinking, particuarly in a group (for example, creatitivity with negativity or emotional perspective with facts, particuarly)


Anonymous said...

Did you know there is an official training course and certification in this thinking method? Learn more here:

You can also buy the book at this site:

J.D. Meier said...

I think it's a great technique.

I've found a way to make it effective at work. When a meeting gets stuck, I list a question for each hat on the board:
* What are the facts and figures?
* What's your gut reaction? How do you feel about this?
* Why can't we do this? What prevents us? What's the downside?
* How can we do this?
* What are additional opportunities?
* How should we think about this? (what are the metaphors or mental models)

We then walk the questions as a team, with each other vs. against each other.