The six -de Bono- thinking hats

De Bono believed that if the various approaches could be identified and a system of their use developed which could be taught, that people could be more productive in meetings and in collaborating within groups and teams by deliberately using the approaches. These approaches (thinking strategies) where represented as thinking hats. Each hat has it’s own color and (more importantly) it’s own thinking lane.

The key point is that a hat is a direction to think rather than a label for thinking. The key theoretical reasons to use the Six Thinking Hats are to:

  • encourage Parallel Thinking
  • encourage full-spectrum thinking
  • separate ego from performance

The hats:
Thinking hats

  • White hat : Information & reports, facts and figures (objective)
  • Red hat : Intuition, opinion & emotion, feelings (subjective)
  • Yellow hat : Praise, positive aspects, why it will work (objective)
  • Black hat : Criticism, judgment, negative aspects, modus tollens (objective)
  • Green hat : Alternatives, new approaches & ‘everything goes’, idea generation & provocations (speculative/creative)
  • Blue hat : “Big Picture,” “Conductor hat,” “Meta hat,” “thinking about thinking”, overall process (overview)

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