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Six Thinking Hatsλ︎

An effective group discussion technique where everyone thinks with certain focus (hat) at the same time, avoiding conflicting disussion and inefficient arguments.

The techniquie is most effective when tackling a specific challenge and achieving consensus on an appropriate solution.

BLUE "The Big Picture" & Managing CAF (Consider All Factors); FIP (First Important Priorities)
WHITE "Facts & Information" Information
RED "Feelings & Emotions" Emotions and Ego
BLACK "Negative" PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting); Evaluation, dot voting
YELLOW "Positive" PMI
GREEN "New Ideas" Concept Challenge; Yes, No, Po

Unstructured discussions

Discusisons without structure can become confrontational or supress ideas without due consideration.

Run a discussionλ︎

A facilitator runs the discussion and explains

  • the concept of six thinking hats and the purpose of each hat
  • agree the default time to be spend thinking with each hat
  • the topic to be discussed (can be done as the white hat)

The facilitator manages an appropriate time to spend discussing with a specific hat, consulting with the group to ensure there is consensus.

The facilitator ensures disussions stay within the focus of the currently selected hat.

Hat sequencesλ︎

Common activities are supported by specific hat sequences to support an effective thinking process.

Initial Ideas Blue, White, Green, Blue
Choosing between alternatives Blue, White, (Green), Yellow, Black, Red, Blue
Identifying Solutions Blue, White, Black, Green, Blue
Quick Feedback Blue, Black, Green, Blue
Strategic Planning Blue, Yellow, Black, White, Blue, Green, Blue
Process Improvement Blue, White, White (Other People's Views), Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue
Solving Problems Blue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue
Performance Review Blue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue


Display the summary of the topic being discussed throughout the meeting.

Display a summary of a hats purpose whilst that hat is active.

Capture disussions as they happen on a whiteboard or shared document, ensuring information is catagorised under the appropriate hat.

🌐 Six Thinking Hats - De Bono Group