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De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

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1 De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats
Dr Sunil Gupta December 2011

2 Six Thinking Hats It is a technique that helps meetings become more productive. The attendees of the meeting separate thinking into six distinct categories. Each category is identified with its own coloured metaphorical “thinking hat.” The hats are red, black, yellow, green, white and blue.

3 Six Thinking Hats By mentally wearing and switching "hats," the whole meeting focuses better attention at the problem. The whole meeting wears one hat at a time and it is the role of all the attendees to come up with information which is relevant during that part of the meeting to the hat being discussed. The hats can be worn in any order and more than once in a discussion on a particular topic. The hats can also be used by an individual thinking about a problem.

4 Results of Six Hat Thinking
Change from adversarial to parallel thinking More focused thinking Saving time from doing one thing at a time Removing ego from decisions and more collaboration More creativity and innovation

5 De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

6 The White Hat The White Hat calls for information known or needed
Neutral and objective

7 The Red Hat The Red Hat signifies participant’s feelings, hunches and intuition Do not have to give any reasons or justification Keep it short

8 The Black Hat The Black Hat is judgement, the devil’s advocate or why something may not work Cautious, dangers, problems, faults Logical reasons must be given

9 The Yellow Hat The Yellow Hat symbolizes brightness and optimism
Why it may work The good points in the idea Positive Thinking Constructive Give logical reasons

10 The Green Hat The Green Hat focuses on creativity: the possibilities, alternatives and new ideas How to overcome the Black Hat problems How to reinforce Yellow Hat values

11 The Blue Hat The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process
Setting the Focus Making summaries Overviews Conclusions Action Plans

12 Facilitator’s Role Define the focus of your thinking
Plan the sequence and timing of the thinking Ask for changes in the thinking if needed Handle requests from the group for changes in the thinking Form periodic or final summaries of the thinking for consideration by the team

13 Participant’s Role 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 and fully under each of the hats

14 Summary Six Thinking Hats is a useful technique to make meetings more productive. The whole meeting wears one metaphorical hat at a time. It can save time, bring about more focused thinking, more collaboration and more creativity.

15 Further Reading Edward De Bono. Six Thinking Hats (1985) ISBN

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