Pick a Hat: 6 Thinking Hats to Combat Subjectivity

Edward de Bono introduced the concept of Thinking Hats almost four decades ago, although it is not new. In his book, de Bono outlined the six cognitive orientations that these hats represent. These hats help people see things differently and think in different ways when solving problems or making choices.

Moreover, the Thinking Hats approach helps individuals overcome other limiting thought processes that may hinder innovation and problem-solving. It allows for a structured and systematic exploration of ideas, ensuring that all aspects and possibilities are thoroughly examined. This method also promotes collaboration and effective communication within teams, as each member can contribute their unique perspective by adopting a specific thinking hat.

See things differently

Each hat represents a different mode of thinking. The six hats include:

  • White Hat: This hat focuses on objective and factual information
  • Red Hat: This encourages emotional and intuitive thinking
  • Black Hat: The hat represents critical and cautious thinking
  • Yellow Hat: This hat promotes optimistic and positive thinking
  • Green Hat: Stimulates creative and innovative thinking
  • Blue Hat: This facilitates control and organization of the thinking process

By consciously wearing each hat, individuals or teams can approach the problem, project, or situation from a variety of perspectives, gaining valuable insights and fostering innovative thinking.

6 Thinking Hats

For example; the Blue Hat: Control (Managing Thinking and Processes)

This hat takes a more introspective approach. It delves into the depths of thought, analyzing and organizing the thinking process. It emphasizes the importance of thoughtful planning before taking action. However, it's essential not to get stuck in this phase. As cartoonist Scott Adams wisely said, "Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything."


The Power of Objectivity

And here lies the power of circling though these hats; objectivity! Limiting your innovation project to just one or two methods can trap you in your own biases and ways of thinking. By utilizing these different thinking modes, individuals can avoid falling into the trap of confirmation bias, where they only seek information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs or ideas. The Thinking Hats method encourages individuals to consider multiple perspectives and challenge their own assumptions, leading to more well-rounded and comprehensive solutions.

If you constantly hold onto the black hat of caution, you may never take the first step. Likewise, if you continuously don the yellow hat of positivity, you may overlook the potential drawbacks of a project. This occurs because your focus is solely on the benefits, and you may fail to consider the possible downsides.

Try one on!

If you know why and think the problem is important, try role playing to find creative solutions for your customers. Wear the green hat of creativity, but also remember to regularly wear the white hat of logic and facts.

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