Here’s a wall of hats in a café somewhere along the Camino de Santiago. My less-than-stellar note-taking means I’ve entirely forgotten where it was and I haven’t consulted my peregrino passport so you’ll just have to content yourself with ‘wall of hats’.
Today, however, it’s a visual prop for de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’. We all have particular thinking frameworks and habits that we tend to utilise, but we can often benefit from looking at things in different ways. Try this exercise with your coach or a friend the next time you’re problem-solving or trying to make a decision.
1) The White Hat calls for information gathering. Ask yourself: What factual information do you have about the issue? What does it tell you? What other information do you need or want?
2) The Yellow Hat is optimistic yet logical. You put on this hat to explore the positives of a course of action and to understand what value and benefit it would bring.
3) The Black Hat is critical evaluation. Can be overused to the detriment of the other hats. Black spots the risks and difficulties so you can work out a plan to manage them.
4) The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. The heart and gut hat.
5) The Green Hat focuses on creativity – possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas. What haven’t you thought of? What would happen if you approached this problem from a completely different viewpoint?
6) The Blue Hat is a bit like internal audit! This is the hat to be worn by your coach or facilitator and is used as a control mechanism in the thinking process. Blue Hat helps you to manage your other hats and guide and stimulate the process.
There you have it. Hats.