Wearing the Six Hats of Creative Thinking
This creative thinking technique, invented by Edward de Bono, is a dependable stand-by for a wide variety of creative thinking activities. Suitable for both individuals and groups, it uses the idea of wearing hats to represent different states of mind and to encourage flexible thinking while solving a problem or generating ideas:
White Hat – facts and figures: Analyse and deal with the problem unemotionally. Create a map of the territory and separate facts from beliefs.
Red Hat – emotions and feelings: Follow your hunches into unknown territory. A lot of energy gets released here, both negative (good for unblocking), and positive (leaps of imagination occur here). Note: You don’t usually pick this hat first.
Black Hat – caution and care: Keep your feet on the ground and ‘reality test’ your idea to see if it fits with your ethos and culture. (Note: No negative connotations are intended with this colour.)
Yellow Hat – speculation and positivity: Open up to new perspectives. Explore all the positive ‘What if . . .?’ questions.
Green Hat – creative thinking: Cultivate fertile thinking, ranging free across the creative landscape. The Green Hat works well in conjunction with the Yellow Hat, side by side or flipping from one to the other.
Blue Hat – controlled thinking: Often used last in the process, the Blue Hat pulls everything together. You choreograph the whole process here. You can also deploy the Blue Hat at the beginning of an ill-defined task, to clarify the optimum approach.