Saturday, December 26, 2009

Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats is a thinking tool that provides a means for groups to think together more effectively, and a means to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way.

The premise of the method is that the brain thinks in distinct ways which can be identified, deliberately accessed and hence used for thinking about particular issues. These distinct states are identified as:
  • Questions (White) - considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
  • Emotions (Red) - instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)
  • Bad points judgement (Black) - logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers, seeking mismatch
  • Good points (Yellow) - logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony
  • Creativity (Green) - statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes
  • Thinking (Blue) - thinking about thinking
In ordinary, unstructured thinking this process is unfocussed; the thinker leaps from critical thinking to neutrality to optimism and so on without structure or strategy. The Six Thinking Hats process attempts to introduce parallel thinking.

Having identified the six states that can be accessed, distinct programs can be created, these are sequences of hats which encompass and structure the thinking process toward a distinct goal. For example:
  • Initial Ideas - Blue, White, Green, Blue
  • Choosing between alternatives - Blue, White, (Green), Yellow, Black, Red, Blue
  • Identifying Solutions - Blue, White, Black, Green, Blue
  • Quick Feedback - Blue, Black, Green, Blue
  • Strategic Planning - Blue, Yellow, Black, White, Blue, Green, Blue
  • Process Improvement - Blue, White, White (Other peoples views), Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue
  • Solving Problems - Blue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue
  • Performance Review - Blue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue

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