6 thinking Hats
A summary of a new way to make decisions
In traditional western thinking, if two people disagree, there is an argument in which each tries to prove the other party wrong. In parallel thinking, both views, no matter how contradictory, are put down in parallel. If, later on, it is essential to choose between the differing positions, then an attempt to choose is made at that point. If a choice cannot be made, then the design/decision has to cover both possibilities.
"At all times the emphasis is on designing a way forward."
Use the Blue Hat at the beginning and at the end of thinking sessions…
…like two bookends:
First Blue Hat
why are we here,
what we are thinking about,
the definition of the situation/problem,
what we want to achieve,
where we want to end up,
the background to the thinking, and
a plan for the sequence of hats to be used
Final Blue Hat
what we have achieved,
TIPS on using the various hats
It can be helpful in remembering which hat is for what by pairing the hats:
White and Red (neutral & objective vs emotional thinking)
Black and Yellow (weaknesses & difficulties vs hopeful & postivie)
Green and Blue (creative ideas vs organizing the approach to the thinking process)
In situations where it is believed there are already strong feelings on the subject a Red Hat may be helpful immediately after the first Blue Hat. This presents an opportunity to get those feelings out in the open right at the beginning.
In a assessment situation, it makes sense to put the Yellow Hat before the Black Hat. If, under the Yellow Hat, you cannot find much value to the idea, there is no point in proceeding further.
Sometimes you may want to put a Red hat after the final Blue Hat. This final Red Hat reflects back on the “thinking performance”:
What do we feel about our thinking?
Are we happy with the outcome?
Did we do a good job?
Just as in any other decision-making process, the final decision may be difficult or even impossible to make. It may require balancing two conflicting values. It may depend on speculation about the future – and there is no way of removing the uncertainty about the future. At this point, there is a need to design a way forward that may cover both choices. If that is not possible and a decision still has to be made, then a red at decision is made. In the end, all decisions are really Red Hat decisions. We lay out the factors but the final decision is emotional.