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Six Thinking Hats Von Jeanette Mooney

28.08.2014

Process is the fulcrum of learning. When teams call in facilitators and businesses charge consultants to clean up, or educators realise that their pupils are drifting off, it indicates that a process is stuck.

Role-plays and simulations are a crutch to coaching and learning. We use both methods as a process to familiarise ourselves with the unknown—like a dress rehearsal before the real thing. The process works because the parameters are loose enough to allow space for discovery of what works and what doesn't, and because a part, but not all of the process, creates a framework or cadre. I find that sound conditions foster creative thought and trigger curiosity in learning and in business.

Six Thinking Hats can be implemented in a wide range of situations. It supports in unsticking processes, breaking routines, avoiding groupthink, bonding teams, and it speeds up outcomes. It works like role-play and simulation in that it forces participants into different thinking modes (by donning different hats).

Six Thinking Hats can help you and your team to

➜ Step outside of what you know works

Force yourself and others to adopt the opposite/ a different mode of thought to gain insights that are not visible to you but known to others (blind spot).

➜ Discover more about yourself

Put on a hat you normally wouldn't. Maybe you were wrong about what you thought to be right.

➜ Speed up your decision-making process

Avoid groupthink and group bias, and achieve objectives more quickly. Add some urgency to voicing thought by limiting time for each hat. The combination of hats + timing can be a fun and effective way to get teams to collect and commit. Results don't need to be exact.

➜ Fine-tune your attention

Pay attention to how the process benefits you and your team while in action:

  1. What type of hat tendency do you have?
  2. What about the tendencies of the others involved?
  3. What effect does timing the process have on the process?
  4. What do you takeaway after applying the method?
  5. How do people feel after a six hats session?
  6. How is a six hats session different to a meeting format you normally use?

The hats:

  • BLUE – The supervisor/ manager
  • WHITE – Facts and data
  • GREEN – Creativity, opportunity, and doing and making
  • YELLOW – Positivity and benefits
  • BLACK – Judgement, risk and analysis
  • RED – Emotion and feeling

How to:

  • Have your group collect topics they need to discuss.
  • Set the overall timeframe and allocate time for each hat.
  • Start by having everyone put on the same colour hat. (It's recommended to not wear black first.)
  • Summarize the outcomes and trends for each hat session.
  • Close by reflecting the entire process as a group.

Change the process to change the results.

Six Thinking Hats was created by Edward de Bono

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