The Rotten Lemon of Enlightenment

The six thinking hats
May 14, 2011, 9:31 pm
Filed under: CCA1103, The six posts for Mark, Tutorial | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The six thinking hats (De Bono,1992)┬áis a technique that has seen considerable popularity in the business world as a way to separate ego from performance. Thinking by nature is a deeply personal and subjective process so it’s not surprising that we become quite attached to our ideas. With this technique teams are able to address problems, ideas, etc in a objective manner. They are able to see the topic from different angles. As the group moves through the various hats the conversation is allowed to run it’s course without resistance or descending into the the inevitable argument.

The six hats are as follows;

The white hat is all about research. It’s the collecting of all relevant information.

The red hat is emotion. Your gut feeling. Your intuitions.

The black hat is reality and caution. Risk management.

The yellow hat tries to address the issues brought up by the black hat. It’s the optimistic look at all the possible benefits.

The green hat is the creative hat. Dedicated time put aside to be creative. Allowing time for creativity is not a natural thing. Just as positive thinking towards an idea we do not like is not natural.

The blue hat is about the big picture. After going through all the hats is it still viable. What is the verdict.

So this is all well and good in the boardroom but how about the individual? These hats represent behaviors that are in all of us. However, some hats are more dominant than others depending on the individual. With this technique you are able to take a more even and systematic approach to your thinking process. Enabling a more balanced approach to your creative process.


De Bono, E. (1992). Six thinking hats. Serious Creativity (pp. 77-85). New York: HarperBusiness.
Download .pdf