Six Thinking Hats – Productive Thinking Approach

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six thinking hats

Definition: Six thinking hats is a method of looking at a problem from multiple angles while remaining clear and without conflicts. Individuals or organizations can utilize it to step beyond their comfort zones, try new ideas, and then think about how to proceed productively.

What are the six thinking hats? 

Thinking hats are a concept that is popularly used as a technique to enhance creative thinking in a group. 

It is especially needed in product development to bring about a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to the product or service that is getting created. Hence it is an efficient technique for choosing the right product manager software and product roadmap tools. 

Six hats with different colors allocated particular roles to structure abstract thinking. The six hats are: 

The White Hat: 

This is the hat of objectivity concerning data, facts, and information. 

The Red Hat: 

The red hat denotes intuition and passion that aids individuals in putting forward their feelings without judgments. 

The Black Hat: 

The black hat represents pessimism and caution. It promotes vigilance and gives critical judgment. 

The Yellow Hat: 

The yellow hat represents positivism. It considers the positive side of any given circumstance, even if it’s negative. 

The Green Hat: 

The green hat denotes creativity and innovation. It encourages new ideas and unique approaches toward mundane things. 

The Blue Hat: 

This hat represents organization and direction. It encourages information analysis, controls the process, and asks for final decisions or conclusions. 

Each thinking hat constitutes a small group of team members who view and work on the idea from the hat’s perspective during the product development process. 

For instance: Objectivity, caution, innovation, direction, etc. 

It helps to bring varied perspectives to the developmental process. It creates room for healthy collaboration and brings in powerful ideas. 

How was the concept of six thinking hats created? 

Dr. Edward de Bono, a prominent Psychologist, established the notion of the ‘six thinking caps’ in 1985 and released his book with the same title. 

The idea behind six thinking hats is to promote parallel thinking. To ensure that thinking processes can be detailed, cohesive, and collaborative simultaneously. 

The book’s goal was to organize abstract thought, which gets frequently met with skepticism and doubt. 

However, this concept facilitates forming an effective way of brainstorming any idea, bypassing it through different hats. 

What are the benefits of the Six Thinking Hats method?

More systematic thinking:

You can rest assured that you’ve explored every possibility. It will aid you in rapidly and effectively weighing the facts you acquire.

Increased creative thinking:

It forces you to abandon your usual postures and approaches. Comparing or integrating diverse points of view can occasionally generate new ideas.

Improved cognitive abilities:

It’s an excellent approach to improving abilities like curiosity and critical thinking.

Improved interpersonal abilities:

It encourages you to test your listening, inquiring, and replying skills. As a result, it can help you become more persuasive and recognize when others require assistance. Also, you are more confident in managing problems when they happen.

Teamwork with more diversity:

It asks people to put their prejudices aside and concentrate on seeing things from the same perspective. Despite the continuing debate, everyone can feel more included with shared knowledge.

How to use six thinking hats in a meeting?

In a company, the hats can be used in various ways, both individually and in groups. You can use these methodologies to solve any problem or situation:


Make a blue cap for the group moderator. Before guiding a meeting, they should grasp De Bono’s work and create a plan.

Put up a sign or give them cards for each hat with instructions on how to wear them.

Ascertain that participants have a way to record their thoughts. And a straightforward way to indicate which hat they were wearing.

Dividing a vast group into smaller subgroups:

  •  Allocate each group a specific hat to wear when approaching the scenario, or
  •  While proceeding to the next step, have groups evaluate the same viewpoint.

Rotate the hats amongst the groups to stimulate new ideas and get people to think about the problem from different angles.

Consider assigning one hat to each group or sub-group. It can help the team collaborate better and focus on one perspective at a time.

As a person:

When working with a problem, create a template that includes each hat and a place for notes.

Work through each hat individually, taking notes from each viewpoint.

Avoid switching from one hat to another by wearing one at a time. It allows you to maintain your focus on one perspective without getting distracted by another.


Who created the six thinking hats?

The six thinking hats were created by a famous psychologist Dr. Edward de Bono in 1985.

What is a six thinking hats example?

Assume you’re in a meeting with your management team to discuss whether you should add a new product to your portfolio to combat dwindling sales. In such a case, you will utilize the six thinking hats method to ensure that all aspects of the choice get considered.


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