6 Hats Thinking

Few months back I had an opportunity to attend Dr. Edward De Bono’s ‘ 6 thinking hats’, thinking session offered by my employer. The programme was offered to all management team to enrich the quality of thinking, as part of continual learning.

At the beginning, I was not keen on the value and outcome of the session as it was planned only for 2 days. My assumption was that thinking requires time & 2 days isn’t enough. However, I realized during the 2 days session that the training is not just about thinking and solving problems, it was more about how thinking can be used as a skill to solve problems. The most important learning is that I learnt, thinking is a learnable skill.

We had an excellent trainer to train us on ‘6 thinking hats’ thinking session.He started with an introduction of Edward De Bono and he mentioned that Dr Bono, presented an idea that thinking is a skill and it can be thought. And it was widely accepted in schools colleges and global universities. This is a great topic that thinking as a skill should be introduced to kids at an early age in schools and colleges. Earlier it’s better, as kids develop positive thoughts early in their age. Kids will gradually get to know the concept of thinking and how it  can be used to solve problems, instead of driven by emotions, rage and other arbitrary feelings, which is understandable during that tender age. This type of approach is essential to all kids to overcome their teenage experiences

Concept of thinking :

One of the findings are that, ‘Thinking’ as a concept was inherited( in Europe) from ‘Greek gang of three’ (Socrates, Plato & Aristotle). During the early period,  the schools and universities, were in the hands of the church. Church wasn’t interested in Design, Creative thinking and Perceptual thinking. They were rather interested in Truth, logic and argument to prove heretics wrong. So in Education we developed culture of thinking for finding the truth, but we never developed thinking for creating value.

Edward De Bono’s view on thinking :

Our existing system is good at looking ‘ what is‘ but not very good at creating ‘ What can be‘ where creativity comes in. Six Hats thinking is all about rearranging thoughts to solve complex problems in a simplified manner. If perception of the problem is inadequate/faulty, then the answer would be inaccurate and incomplete. There is an inherent relationship between perception, problem solving & solution. As per David Perkins(Harvard),  90% of errors of thinking are not errors of logic control, but errors of perception. So true isn’t ?

Whilst thinking is assumed as a  second nature to people, I believe , distinguishing thinking and clarity is important. Just because, someone is educated it doesn’t imply that he/she is a thinker or a problem solver. The session shared few tools and concepts, which can be used in real life situations. 6 thinking hats is all about accessing one’s finer faculties of mind with different thinking nodes in a cohesive way. All 6 nodes has an unique perspective, and if one used all these different nodes to approach a problem, then the solutions will certainly be easier. One also acquires greater clarity in life through structured thinking.

6 Hats of thinking :(What are those hats) : (From the book)

6 Hats thinking provides a framework to help people think clearly and thoroughly by directing their thinking attention in one direction at a time–white hat facts(data), green hat creativity(ideas), yellow hat benefits(advantages), black hat cautions(negatives), red hat feelings(emotions), and blue hat process(scoping)

It’s a simple mental metaphor. Hats are easy to put on and to take off. Each hat is a different color which signals the thinking ingredient. In a group setting each member thinks using the same thinking hat, at the same time, on the same thinking challenge—we call this focused parallel thinking.

Six Thinking Hats is a powerful tool that facilitates productive: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. It enables each person’s unique point of view to be included and considered. Argument and endless discussion become a thing of the past. Thinking becomes more thorough

One of the interesting learning is thinking‘ is a skill and it can be learnt, taught and improved.

De Bono’s alternative to penalty shoot out(during tie) in football : Reflect the whole game by number of times the goalkeeper touched the ball with minus points . The side with the least minus points wins. It also encourages players to  shoot at goal. A good example of lateral thinking isn’t 😉

Happy reading…


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