Thinking differently – 6 hats

Most of us have default ways of looking at things.  Some people always see the advantages, others only the problems.  This can have its benefits, especially if we operate in a very balanced team, but it can also mean we miss out on a lot of insight.  Edward de Bono identified six distinct ways our brains can operate and suggested that thinking in a deliberate way with each of those ‘hats’ on can lead us to see differently.  Ultimately this tool can help us to be more innovative.

The principle is that in considering a problem, challenge or even a solution, the individual or group forces itself to look at things with a given perspective, one at a time:

  • Information (white) – consider only facts and solid information
  • Emotion (red) – consider gut reactions and feelings
  • Negative (black) – consider pitfalls, barrier and what could go wrong
  • Positive (yellow) – consider benefits, potential ‘wins’ and what could go right
  • Creative (green) – consider creative and wild ideas
  • Process (blue) – consider the process and how things work

This simple way of forcing our brains to think differently can often lead us to discover solutions and ideas that we would ordinarily have missed.

If you want to learn more about this tool, de Bono has written a book on it:

Six Thinking Hats

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