First we can quickly review the basics you will need to remember in order to participate in a Six Hat team thinking session. First, there are six imaginary or metaphorical hats that can be worn - only one at a time. Relax…. no actual hats have to be used! This is a serious communication framework for serious issues and we don’t want to make its use seem trivial in any way. Each hat is a different color, representing different types or modes of thinking. Everyone on the team does the same type of thinking at the same time. That is, we all wear the same color hat. When we change hats we change our thinking. The facilitator is an exception. The facilitator will always wear the control or facilitation hat (the blue hat), but he or she may also contribute in the content of the thinking if qualified and comfortable doing so. Although it may be uncomfortable at first, remember to use the hats and colors terminology. The artificiality of these symbols has proven to be a very powerful mental cue for producing a specific type of thinking at a specific time. Experience in many organizations has shown that in a very short time you will become unaware of the symbols themselves - the hats and colors. Instead you will key on the thinking being requested and automatically switch when necessary.
Your responsibilities within your role as a participant include: Following the lead of the facilitator. Sticking to the hat in current use so that everyone is thinking in the same mode at the same time. This is the essence of parallel thinking. Remember exploration before decision. Seeking to stay within the time limits that the leader has planned for each hat. Of course, he or she has the latitude to extend the times if necessary. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should seek to contribute as completely and as honestly as possible in each thinking modes that is called for. Try to reserve your judgment until all exploration has been done. This is key to driving better exploration and better decisions. Now, with those basics in mind let’s do a quick practice session on a remote example before we try it out on one of our real issues.
De bono six thinkinghats_summary_anneegros
Six ThinkingSix Thinking
Edward deBono’sEdward deBono’s
parallel thinking forparallel thinking for
effective problem solvingeffective problem solving
and exploring new ideasand exploring new ideas
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze2
• There are six different imaginary hats that you
can put on or take off.
• Think of the “hats” as thinking icons.
• Each hat is a different color and represents a
different type or mode of thinking.
• We all wear the same hat (do the same type of
thinking) at the same time.
• When we change hats - we change our thinking.
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze3
What does each Hat mean?
White Hat Data, Facts, Information known or
Red Hat Feelings. Emotions and Intuition.
Yellow Hat Values and Benefits- Why something
may work. (Advantages)
Black Hat Difficulties, potential problems- why
something may not work.
Green Hat Creativity- possibilities, alternatives,
solutions, new ideas.
Blue Hat Manages the thinking process, focus,
next steps, action plans.
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze4
Simplifies thinking by having to
deal with one thing at a time
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze5
Benefits of Six Thinking Hats
1. Provides a common language
2. Diversity of thought
3. Use more of our brains
4. Removal of ego (reduce confrontation)
5. Focus (one thing at a time)
6. Save time
7. Create, evaluate & implement action plans
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze6
The blue hat role
• Control of thinking & the process
• Begin & end session with blue hat
• Facilitator, session leader’s role:
– open, sequence, close
– Focus: what should we be thinking
– Asking the right questions
– Defining & clarifying the problem
– Setting the thinking tasks
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze7
• Why we are here
• what we are thinking about
• Definition of the situation or problem
• Alternative definitions
• what we want to achieve
• where we want to end up
• The background to the thinking
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze8
What we want to take away
• What we have achieved
• Next steps
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze9
Summary of The Facilitator’s Role:
• Define the focus of the thinking
• Plan the sequence and timing of the
• Ask for changes in the thinking
• Handle requests from the group
• Form periodic or final summaries of
the thinking for consideration by the
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze10
• Follow the lead of the facilitator
• Stick to the hat (type of thinking)
that is in current use
• Try to work within the time limits
• Contribute honestly & fully under
each of the hats
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze11
White Hat Thinking
1. Neutral, objective information
2. Facts & figures
3. Questions: what do we know,
what don’t we know, what do we
need to know
4. Excludes opinions, judgments
5. Removes feelings & impressions
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze12
Green Hat Thinking
1. New ideas, concepts, perceptions
2. Deliberate creation of new ideas
3. Alternatives and more alternatives
4. New approaches to problems
5. Creative & lateral thinking
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze13
Yellow Hat Thinking
1. Positive & speculative
2. Positive thinking, optimism,
4. Best-case scenarios
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze14
Black Hat Thinking
1. Cautious and careful
2. Logical negative – why it won’t work
3. Critical judgement, pessimistic view
4. Separates logical negative from
5. Focus on errors, evidence, conclusions
6. Logical & truthful, but not
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze15
Red Hat Thinking
1. Emotions & feelings
2. Intuitions, impressions
3. Doesn’t have to be logical or
4. No justifications, reasons or
5. All decisions are emotional in the
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze16
Hats sequence in meetings
1. Facilitator (Blue Hat) Open Clarifying the problem
2. Present the facts of the case (White Hat).
3. Generate ideas, how the case could be handled (Green Hat).
4. Evaluate the merits of the ideas, List benefits (Yellow Hat).
5. List drawbacks (Black Hat).
6. Get everybody's gut feeling about the alternatives (Red Hat).
7. Summarize (Blue Hat).
Anne Egros- International Business Coach-Zest and Ze17
• Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono
• The Innovator's Solution: Creating
and Sustaining Successful Growth by
Clayton M. Christensen and Michael