4.8.4 How to implement

The Six Hat method is based on the fact that you cannot sensitise in all directions at once - so there is an absolute need to separate out the modes of thinking. The Six Hats method gets rid of egos, which are such a problem in traditional thinking. It is no longer a matter of defending an idea or attacking an idea. If you want to show off you do so by performing very well under each hat.1

Step1. Present a problem/issue to the team members.

Tell them that they are going to think about it from a variety of perspectives. There will be 6 types of thinkers—when they are in that role will only address the issue from that particular perspective. The facilitator should initially explain to the participants that they are going to view the problem in six different ways. Each hat represents a way of thinking2. Please see table 1 above (hats description).

Step2. Then the team starts focusing the discussion on a particular approach.

The team members deliberately choose which hat they want to start with. For example if they choose the blue hat, the meeting may start with everyone assuming the Blue hat to discuss how the meeting will be conducted and to develop the goals and objectives. The discussion may then move to Red hat thinking in order to collect opinions and reactions to the problem. This phase may also be used to develop constraints for the actual solution such as who will be affected by the problem and/or solutions. Next the discussion may move to the (Yellow then) Green hat in order to generate ideas and possible solutions. Next the discussion may move between White hat thinking as part of developing information and Black hat thinking to develop criticisms of the solution set.
Because everyone is focused on a particular approach at any one time, the group tends to be more collaborative than if one person is reacting emotionally (Red hat) while another person is trying to be objective (White hat) and still another person is being critical of the points which emerge from the discussion (Black hat).3
For example take the following problem into consideration and how each thinking hat addresses it using different views: Issue – Students are talking while their teacher is talking. Please have a look at Fig.1 .

Step3. After developing a set of solutions, the participants examine the set critically and choose one solution.

Here is an example of use:

Please take 15 minutes to apply the method explained to one of your own business issues/ problems.


1 http://www.edwarddebono.com/concept6.htm
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Thinking_Hats
3 lbid