Write short note on six thinking hats.


Ans.    The six thinking hats is a technique developed by de Bono to enhance lateral thinking. It is Edward De Bono’s greatest gift to the world. The six thinking hats is a technique to conjure creative and effective solutions.

The six hats represent six modes of thinking and are directions to think rather than labels for thinking. That is, the hats are used proactively rather than reactively. The main purpose of using the six thinking hats is to :

1.         Encourage parallel thinking

2.         Encourage full spectrum thinking

3.         Separate ego from performance

In the six thinking hats technique, by wearing the different hats people are encouraged to switch from their usual way of thinking differently about the matter at hand. The six hats provide an opportunity to people involved, to express thoughts which they may not have otherwise done.

The 6 hats are :

1.      The White Hat : The white hat is the information hat. It covers facts, figures. Information needs and gaps. A person using the white hat will say “What are the facts about this?” or “Let’s drop the arguments and proposals, and look at the data base”.

The white hat is used to direct attention to available or missing information.

2.      The Red Hat : The red hat represents emotions. It covers intuition, feelings and emotions. When the red hat is put on, people express how they feel emotionally : scared, threatened, excited, energized, etc. A person using the red hat will say “I love this proposal” or “I feel this is a terrible idea”.

Sometimes we like or dislike something without knowing the reasons. The red hat provides an opportunity to put forward feelings without any explanations. Expression of feelings is important as it is often the hidden reason as to why people oppose or support a proposal.

3.      The Black Hat : This is the hat of judgment and caution. A person wearing this hat has to find a fault with an idea even if it his own.  A person using the black hat will say “Where are the facts to back this proposal?” or “I foresee problems in the following areas”.

This hat is vital as it points out the risks involved and why a plan may not work out. It point out the disadvantages or drawbacks. This hat stops us from doing something harmful.

4.      The Yellow Hat : The Yellow hat is the hat of optimism. It is logically positive. It looks at the benefits and the reasons as to why an idea will work.

With the yellow hat put on, a person has to find some positive points or good aspects in an idea even if he think the idea stinks.

5.      The Green Hat : The green hat is the hat of growth and possibilities. It is the hat of creativity that looks at alternatives, provocations and changes. A person wearing a green hat has to suggest ways in which the idea could be adapted or improved to make it work better.

According to de Beno “The green thinking hat is concerned with new ideas and new ways of looking at things. Green hat thinking is concerned with escaping from the old ideas in order to find better ones. Green hat thinking is concerned with change.”

6.      The Blue Hat : The blue hat is the process hat. This is the overview or process control hat. It looks not at the subject itself but at the ‘thinking’ about the subject. It is used to check if the process is working well and in the most effective way.

This hat is used to guide the course of the discussion. It used to decide the sequence in which the different hats will be used or look at a type of thinking that has been overlooked.


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