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Parallel thinking: Six Thinking Hats

posted Sep 13, 2014, 3:21 PM by Jageshwar Tripathi   [ updated Sep 14, 2014, 12:25 AM ]
Edward de Bono wrote a book titled "Six Thinking Hats ®" in which he described a method for brainstorming and individual thinking. When it is used in a group every one should wear the same colour hat (means should look in to one perspective) at a time. It considers different perspectives of views too look at a problem or solution. Bono defined different view points during thinking through six coloured hats: While, Green, Yellow, Black, Red, Blue. Each of these colours represent different perspectives.
Six thinking hats

During discussion on a topic (for example selection of a product or adopting a business strategy) team members focus on specific perspective (wearing different hats: thinking from different views). 

What is the meaning of these six hats?

White hat: 

When team has to take a decision on something first step is to look into information. Check what information do you have about it? What information do you need? Collect that information. In this perspective you collect the facts.

Green hat:

Green hat represents creativity. Team members think about alternatives, how differently something can be done, how different options are available. New thoughts and ways of doing things. Alternates are identified. Innovation is the focus on this aspect.

Yellow hat:

Yellow hat represents optimist or positive. Team members identify positives or benefits of a solution/method/product (what ever is the topic of discussion). What value can it bring?
Black hat: Negatives means critical thinking. Judgement/identifying problems/possible issues etc. Something which may fail or go wrong with it.

Red hat:

Red hat represents only feelings. What your intuition says without considering any formal method or logic. What are immolation reaction of team members on the subject. Fears/feelings/love/hate on the topic.

Blue hat:

Blue hat represents process or control part of thinking process. Some one has to wear this hat to control thinking process to make sure it works as per "Six Thinking Hats" philosophy and rules or not. If there are risks the thinking should be directed to black hat to identify issues or problems. If discussion lacks innovation or ideas it can be directed to green hat.

Benefits

This method brings discipline in thinking process. By covering different aspects and in a structured manner productivity of team involved in a brainstorming session becomes higher. It promotes creativity and supports in discovering alternate methods and solutions. By use of a structured and focused discussion, teams can save time in the meetings and produce outcomes which cover risks, new opportunities, individual gut-feel and innovation.

Where to use it?

Some of the applications of this method may be in 
  • Innovation
  • Decision making process
  • Transformation (organization, product or process)

Interesting resources

http://www.debonogroup.com/six_thinking_hats.php

Note: Six Thinking Hats® is a registered trademark of The de Bono Group, LLC or their associates.
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