Six Thinking Hats as a Meeting Management Tool
With the advent of brain based learning - educators are now using the popular and powerful tool "The Six Thinking Hats." The Six Thinking Hats is a simple, effective parallel thinking process that helps people be more productive, focused and mindfully involved. And once learned the tools can be applied immediately.
Early in the 1980s the six thinking hats method was invented. The method is a framework for thinking and can incorporate lateral thinking. Organisations such as Prudential Insurance, IBM, Federal Express, British Airways, Polaroid, Pepsico, DuPont, and Nippon Telephone and Telegraph, possibly the worlds largest company, use Six Thinking Hats.
The six hats represent six modes of thinking and are directions to think rather than labels for thinking. That is, the hats are used proactively rather than reactively. The method promotes fuller imput from more people. The method separates ego from performance. Everyone is able to contibute to the exploration without denting egos as they are just using the yellow hat or whatever hat. The six hats system encourages performance rather than ego defence. People can contibute under any hat even though they initially support the opposite view.
Each thinking hat deontes a different way of thinking and this thinking method is now being used to assist in education at all levels. It is used in schools, colleges, universities and in many learning situations. The colourful strategy exposes learners to six different styles of thinking and helps them look at a problem from six different perspectives. The Six Thinking Hats approach can be used to address almost any problem-solving activity you might encounter in the classroom. Assigning each thinking style a colour serves as a visual cue to help students recognise the thinking skill they are using.
THE SIX THINKING HATS
Thinking has various modes: objective thinking, emotional thinking, negative thinking, positive thinking, critical thinking and creative thinking. De Bono (1985) used six different colours to represent these different thinking modes and created the Six Thinking Hats method.
The White Hat possesses the feature of coldness; therefore, it represents objective thinking. When one wears a White Hat to think, one looks at the facts and figures only, not anything else.
The Red Hat represents emotional thinking because red is associated with anger; therefore, when one wears a Red Hat to think, one normally follows his or her emotions in the process of thinking.
The Black Hat often suggests the negative and its feature is gloomy. When one wears a Black Hat to think, one will look at the issues under consideration more critically.
The Yellow Hat is positive thinking and this is represented by the yellow colour. This colour is often related to the sun; therefore its feature is bright and sunny. When one wears a Yellow Hat to think, one tends to look for all the positive things of a particular issue.
The Green Hat represents creative thinking which suggests growth; therefore, when one wears a Green Hat to think, one needs to search for new ideas.
The Blue Hat symbolises the sky high above everything. When one wears a Blue Hat to think, one needs to look for the overall picture of a situation rather than only one tiny section of the problem area. Blue also suggest the Big Picture.
According to de Bono people tend to wear one single colour hat when thinking of a problem. This will result in narrow understanding of the whole issue under consideration. The most effective way of thinking is to wear all six colour hats to look at an issue or a problem from all six directions. This will help put us in a good perspective to deal with the issue on hand.
The Six Thinking Hats help actualise the full thinking potential of teams. And when used as a meeting management tool, the six hats method provides the disciplined process fo individuals to be focused and to the point.
White Hat - Think of white paper, which is neutral and carries information. The white hat has to do with data and information. What information do we have here? What information is missing? What information would we like to have? How are we going to get that information? When you ask for white hat thinking at a meeting you are asking those present to put aside the proposals and arguments and to focus directly on the information. For the moment, everyone at the meeting looks to see what information is available, what is needed and how it might be obtained.
Red Hat - Think of red and fire and warm. The red hat has to do with feelings, intuition, hunches and emotions. In a serious meeting you are not supposed to put forward your emotions, but people do this by disguising their emotions as logic. The red hat gives people permission to put forward their feelings and intuitions without apology, without explanation and without any need to justify them. Putting on my red hat, this is what I feel about the project. My gut feeling is that it will not work. I don't like the way this is being done. My intuition tells me that prices will fall soon. Because the red hat signals feelings as such, they can come into the discussion without pretending to be anything else. Intuition may be a composite judgement based on years of experience in the field and may be very valuable even if the reasons behind the intuition cannot be spelled out consciously. It should also be said that intuition is not always right and it can be wrong. It is sometimes valuable to get feelings out into the open.
Black Hat - Think of a stern judge wearing black robes who comes down heavily on wrongdoers. The black hat is the caution hat. The black hat prevents us from making mistakes, doing silly things and doing things which might be illegal. The black hat is for critical judgement. The black hat points out why something cannot be done. The black hat points out why something will not be profitable. The regulations do not permit us to do that. We do not have the production capacity to meet that order. When we tried a higher price the sales fell off. He has no experience in export management. Mistakes can be disastrous. Noone wants to make mistakes or do silly things. So the Black Hat is very valuable. It is th emost used hat and possibly the most useful hat. At the same time it is very easy to overuse the black hat. Some people feel that it is enough to be cautious and negative and that if you prevent all mistakes then everything will be fine. It is easy to stop creative ideas with early negativity. Wine is fine but overuse of alcohol can turn you into an alcoholic. It is the same with the black hat. The hat is very valuable but overuse of it can be a problem.
Yellow Hat - Think of sunshine. The yellow hat is for optimism and the logical positive view of things. The yellow hat looks for fesaibility and how something can be done. The yellow hat looks for benefits - but they must be logically based. This might work if we moved the production plant nearer to the e-customers. The benefit would come from repeat purchases. The high cost of energy would make everyone more energy efficient. The black hat is much more natural than the yellow hat because we need to avoid mistakes and danger for survival. Yello hat thinking often requires a deliberate effort. Benefits are now always immediately obvious and we might have to search for them. Every creative idea deserves some yellow hat attention.
Green Hat - Think of vegetation and rich growth. The green hat is for creative thinking. The green hat is for new ideas. The green hat is for additional alternatives. The green hat is for putting forward possibilities and hypotheses. The green hat covers provocation and movement (to be described later). The green hat requests creative effort. We need some new ideas here. Are there any additional alternatives? Could we do this a different way? Could there be another explanation? The green hat makes is possible to ask directly for a creative effort. The green hat makes time and space available for creative thinking. Even if no creative ideas are forthcoming, the green hat asks for creative effort.
Blue Hat - Think of the sky and an overview. The blue hat is for process control. The blue hat thinks about the thoughts being used. The blue hat sets out the agenda for thinking. The blue hat suggests the next step in the thinking. The blue hat can ask for other hats. The blue hat asks for summaries, conclusions and decisions. The blue hat can comment on the thinking being used. We have spent far too much time looking for someone to blame. Could we have a summary of your views? I think we should take a look at the priorities. I suggest we try some green hat thinking to get some new ideas. The blue hat is used by the chairperson or organiser of the meeting, but other participants can put forward suggestions. The blue hat is for organising and controlling the thinking process so that it becomes more productive. The blue hat is for thinking about thinking.
But possibly more important, it requires each individual to look at all sides of an issue. Employees like the way the six hats method neutralises employee rank in a meeting where several levels of employees are present. It also puts people who are quiet and reserved on an equal playing field with thos who are more talkative and may monopolise a meeting.
- Creativity Training, Meeting Facilitation and Meeting Management
- Team Productivity and Communication
- Product and Process Improvement, and Project Management
- Critical and Analytical Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
- Wherever High Performance Thinking is needed.
Lots of more more interesting facts can be found on wikipedia just click onto http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Thinking_Hats