Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats

Edward De Bono. Six Thinking Hats (1985)

In our thinking, we often try to do too much at the same time. We look at the facts of the matter. We try to build a logical argument. We may try to come up with some new ideas. We may even get emotional. Marketing managers tend to be multitasking and often have many projects on the go at the same time. Marketers have deadlines to meet. Marketing is creative, and the Six Thinking Hats helps us to provide marketing solutions to marketing problems.

The six thinking hats can be used occasionally as a means of switching thinking or systematically where a sequence of hats is established in advance to enable the thinker(s) to go through each stage of thinking.

The six thinking hats is a method for doing one sort of thinking at a time. Instead of trying to do everything at once, we wear only one hat at a time. It’s a metaphor. There are six colored hats and each color represents a type of thinking.

Six Thinking Hats

Green Hat.

The green hat is for creative thinking. Creative thinking may mean new ideas, alternatives, new solutions or inventions. It could also mean making something happen. The main uses of green hat are:

1. To explore the situation in terms of ideas, concepts, suggestions and possibilities.

2. To put forward proposals or suggestions of any sort, e.g. suggestions for action, possible decisions, etc.

3. To consider further options or alternatives. The green hat seeks to broaden the range of options before pursuing any one of them in detail. Yellow and black hat thinking are used to assess alternatives.

4. To come up with some new ideas. Lateral thinking techniques can be used deliberately in order to generate some new ideas.

5. To put forward some deliberate provocations. A provocation is not meant to be a usable idea. It is a way of releasing the mind from its usual track.

Blue Hat.

The blue hat gives an overview of our thinking. It covers the following points:

1. Where are we now in our thinking?

2. What should we do next in our thinking?

3. To establish an agenda or sequence for our thinking.

4. To summarize what has been achieved so far in the thinking.

White Hat.

The white hat means neutral information. White hat thinking focuses on the available information. There are three key questions:

1. What information do we have?

2. What information is missing?

3. How do we get the information we need?

Red Hat.

The red hat is for emotions, feelings, hunches and intuition. Unlike white hat the red hat is not interested in facts, but only in people’s feelings. The purpose of the red hat is to allow us to put forward our feelings so they can take part in the thinking. The red hat provides a clear label for those feelings. Intuition is often based upon experience about a matter, but we cannot exactly explain why we have such an intuition. The red hat allows the thinker to put forward a hunch or intuition without any need to support or justify it.

Black Hat.

The black hat is generally the most used of all the hats. It is the one that prevents us from making mistakes and doing silly things. The black hat is concerned with the truth, reality and critical thinking. The key questions are:

1. Is it true?

2. Does it fit?

3. Will it work?

4. What are the dangers and the problems?

Yellow Hat.

In general the yellow hat is optimistic and looking forward to the future. It can however be used to review the past but from the perspective of what we can learn from past experiences i.e. being positive and looking on the bright side. The key questions are:

1. What are the benefits?

2. Why should it work?