Design Organisation

OD tools
Six thinking hats


Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats technique is an alternative thinking exercise getting people to see things from different perspectives.

It gets people out of their normal mindset and helps them view situations in various ways making them more mindful of everything and produce a more rounded outcome.

How to use it?

When adopting each different hat the wearer takes on the role associated with it. The hats are also assigned a colour related to the adopted perspective.

White Hat – A neutral observer, who only focuses on the facts available

Red Hat – Very emotive, goes of hunches and gut decisions, doesn’t need any justification

Black Hat – Judgmental, in essence the devil’s advocate focussing on negatives and why it won’t work

Yellow Hat Optimistic, looks at everything good and all the associated benefits

Green Hat – Creative, looks at all the possibilities and hypothesise new ideas

Blue Hat – Control, the chair of the meeting ensuring the conversation runs effectively

It is worthwhile buying six different coloured hats for the exercise as it helps engage the people in the task and is also a reminder of what personality they are supposed to be.

The benefits

  • This system allows the necessary inclusion of all aspects involved with any decision making process developing plans based on good sense and valid reasoning.
  • Allowing each individual to look at all sides of an argument neutralises any employee hierarchy and gives everyone equally say in the development process.
  • It allows people to say things without risk of judgment because it is the role’s perspective and not necessarily that of the thinker.
  • This process brings emotions as well as frames of mind into the discussion, which are just as important and gives all perspectives equal weight.
  • Each person may bring a new take on each hat and introduce an argument that someone else may not have thought of.

What do I need?

A flip-chart and a workshop with an enthusiastic team, don’t forget the six different coloured hats

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