6 Hats Thinking Hats Method


Overview of the 6 Thinking Hats Method by Edward de Bono. List of applications of the 6 hats method.

The 6 Thinking Hats Method by Edward de Bono is a thinking technique that aims to structure thinking and promote creativity and critical thinking – the 6 Thinking Hats Method is mainly used for idea assessment and evaluation. The method uses metaphorical “hats” (points of view) to represent different schools of thought or perspectives. Each thinking hat represents a particular way of thinking.

Overview of the 6 thinking hats

  1. The white hat: This hat stands for information and facts. When you wear the white hat, you objectively look at the available information, facts and figures. This perspective helps to provide a foundation of information and make informed decisions.
  2. The red hat: The red hat represents emotions and intuition. When you wear the red hat, you can express your feelings, intuitions and personal reactions. This hat encourages gut feelings and allows for the expression of emotions without logical reasoning.
  3. The black hat: The black hat stands for criticism and caution. When you wear the black hat, you analyze the potential risks, vulnerabilities and problems. This line of thinking helps identify potential failures or challenges and consider potential negative impacts. In the black hat can be used as helping techniques, for example:
    Advocatus Diaboli
    Headstand technique
  4. The yellow hat: The yellow hat represents optimism and positive aspects. When you wear the yellow hat, you focus on the positive aspects, benefits and opportunities of an idea or situation. This perspective promotes positive thinking and encourages constructive approaches to solutions.
  5. The green hat: The green hat stands for creativity and innovation. Wearing the green hat is about generating new ideas, exploring alternative approaches and finding creative solutions. This school of thought encourages free thinking and the development of innovative concepts. In the Green Hat, many creativity techniques can also be used well such as:
    Brainwriting Pool
    3-12-3 Brainstorming
    6-3-5 Method
    – and many more
  6. The blue hat: The blue hat represents the higher-level thinking and the organization of the thinking process itself. Wearing the blue hat is about managing the thought process, setting the goals, coordinating the individual hats, and monitoring progress. The blue hat serves as a meta-level that guides the overall thought process.
6 Thinking Hats Method according to Edward de Bono - Photo: verrocchio Institute

Areas of application of the 6 Thinking Hats method

  • Problem solving and decision making: The method enables different perspectives to be taken into account and different schools of thought to be included in the decision-making process. This allows informed decisions to be made and creative solutions to be found.
  • Teamwork and brainstorming: The 6 Thinking Hats method promotes collaboration and creative thinking in groups. By assigning each team member a specific hat, different ideas and perspectives can be specifically explored.
  • Critical analysis: By systematically wearing the various hats, information and arguments can be objectively evaluated and critically analyzed.
  • Future planning and strategy development: The 6 Thinking Hats method can be used to explore different scenarios, weigh risks, identify opportunities and define a strategic direction.
  • Innovation management: The method can be used to support the innovation process. It encourages creative thinking, enables the exploration of new ideas and approaches, and the identification of opportunities to improve existing products, services, or processes.
  • Conflict resolution: In conflicts, the different hats can be used to look at different perspectives and promote constructive dialogue. Each hat allows the parties involved to express their views and find solutions that take into account both the emotional and rational aspects.
  • Project management: The 6 Thinking Hats method can be used in project management to analyze and evaluate different aspects of a project. The hats help identify risks, recognize opportunities, plan resources, and find alternative solutions.
  • Product development: When developing new products or services, the method can be used to look at various aspects, including functionality, design, customer experience, cost and competitiveness. Each hat allows you to look at the development from different angles and find the best possible solution.
  • Marketing and Market Research: The Six Hats can be used to analyze various marketing strategies, identify target audiences, develop advertising messages, and evaluate the success of marketing campaigns. The method promotes holistic thinking and takes into account various aspects of marketing.
  • Human resource management and teamwork: The method can be used in teamwork and human resource management to improve communication, foster collaboration and integrate different perspectives. Each hat represents a particular school of thought that helps team members communicate their ideas and viewpoints effectively.
  • Strategic thinking: The 6 thinking hats method can be used to make strategic decisions, analyze future developments and define long-term goals. The various hats help evaluate the impact of decisions, weigh risks, and develop alternative strategies.
  • Education and learning: The method can be used in educational institutions to enhance students’ critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and creativity. By wearing the different hats, students are encouraged to take different perspectives and express their thoughts in a structured way.

The 6 thinking hats method of de Bono are flexible and can be adapted depending on the application. It promotes structured thinking and allows you to consciously use different ways of thinking to achieve better results.

In the training to become an innovation coach, de Bon’s 6 thinking hats are a fixed and important building block.

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