Differing Types of Thought Processing
This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.
Edward de Bono introduced the idea of the six thinking hats to help people to control their thinking and improve their decision-making (either individually or as a group). The main concept is there are different types of thinking and that we can think more effectively by concentrating on only one type of thinking at a time.
Blue Hat: Thinking about Thinking
The Blue Hat controls all the other hats and is the one that we should begin and end with. Often we just jump into the thinking process without paying attention to what we're doing. The goal of the six hats is to get us to slow down and think in a orderly manner. In a meeting, the blue hat will often be worn by the facilitator. They will begin the discussion by clearly stating the topic and then going through the other hats one by one.
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White Hat: Just the Facts
After a topic has been introduced, start with the White Hat. Often people begin by sharing their opinions but this can cause things to get emotional very quickly. Instead start with the facts. That way, there's a better chance that the group will stay on target and not waste time discussing things that may be useless in the end.
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Red Hat: Emotional reactions
Emotions are not logical, but they're still important. A decision might make sense on paper, but if everybody feels horrible about it, it's probably not a good idea. The Red Hat is good to wear near the end of a discussion to make sure that everybody feels comfortable with the pending decision. If they don't, it may be necessary to return to some of the other hats for rethinking.
Green Hat: New ideas
So often we get stuck debating between two different options that we forget that there might be a third possibility. When putting on the green hat, we should be creative and try to come up with new solutions or at least a compromise between old ones. Sometimes the green hat is necessary early on in a meeting in order to get people to brainstorm for ideas but often it is also needed near the end when a discussion becomes stuck or keeps going around in circles.
Yellow Hat: Optimism
When considering an option, it's good to spend some time looking at the positive side of the plan such as the potential benefits and possible advantages. Even if, on the surface, an idea seems mostly to be a bad one, it is a good idea to spend at least some time trying to see the potential good in it before ripping it to shreds or throwing it away for good.
Black Hat: Caution
It's always good to try to see the Positives, but it's also important to search for Negatives, even if there doesn't appear to be none. Wearing the Black Hat, we proceed cautiously, considering any possible disadvantages to the idea. It's important not to jump between the Yellow and Black Hats, which often leads to fighting between the sides. Better to have everyone wearing Yellow hat until all comments are finished and then switch to the Black Hat for further analysis..
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