The 6 Thinking Hats

How to think? From where to start? Questions my middle-aged students tend to ask when invited to ‘Think’. Edward de Bono, a Maltese physician, psychologist, author, inventor and consultant, wrote several books on the teaching of thinking. In his ‘Six Thinking Hats’ book he offered six lenses to wear while considering a topic. In this video I offer, in brief, a summary of the 6 hats as a tool we can use to better think.

The 6 Thinking Hats De Bono introduced were:
1- The White hat:
Wearing the white hat a person would consider all the facts, data, information in a neutral non-biased way and while ensuring to get the data from an accurate and trustworthy source.

2- The Red hat:
This hat is about emotions and feelings. A person thinking from this perspective would consider how he feels regarding an issue while connecting to his feelings whether they were positive or negative.

3- The Black hat:
People tend, mistakenly, to think of it as the hat of problems. While the black hat focuses on the challenges. Thinking about the challenges and having plans to avoid them would help the person avoid turning the challenges into problems. This hat is about precautions.

4- The Yellow hat:
While smiley faces are originally yellow, the yellow hat focuses on the positive sides of matters. Thinking from this lens a person would consider all the benefits and positive effects of the matter he’s studying.

5- The Green hat:
Many people call it ‘out of the box’; it’s about creativity. Thinking from the green hat or the green lens, people would initiate new solutions, introduce new ideas, find new alternatives. The main key is to do it in a creative way.

6- The Blue hat:
After thinking using the 5 previous hats, a person would need to organise the findings and prepare a plan of action. The blue hat is about summarising and organising. It includes as well planning, scheduling and preparing action plans. After considering a matter from multiple angles, a person would need to identify the actions he needs to take, when to take them, where and with whom.

Real life, however, is very different from school sums. There is usually more than one answer. Some answers are much better than others: they cost less, are more reliable or are more easy to implement. There is no reason at all for supposing that the first answer has to be the best one.” – Edward de Bono.