The Six Thinking Hats is a method meant to improve the results of thinking and discussion. It may be used either by oneself or in a group. We should “wear” each hat in turn, and analyze the issue at hand from six different aspects separately. In a group setting, the entire group is encouraged to use just one hat at a time, thus contributing to an organized and comprehensive discussion, rather than a confused and mixed-up argument. Each hat is marked with a different colour and represents the following type of thinking:
White hat – facts and information; this hat includes information collected or identified as missing.
Red hat – feelings and emotions; this hat includes feelings, including gut reactions to ideas or items identified in other areas.
Black hat -– critical judgement; this hat includes details about obstacles to solving the problem or other negative connotations about an item or idea. Since people are naturally critical, it is important to limit black hat thinking to its critical role.
Yellow hat – positive judgement; this hat is the opposite of the black hat. It includes details about the benefits of an idea or issue, or thoughts about favouring an idea. It is still critical thinking and judgement as opposed to blind optimism.
Green hat – alternatives and learning; this hat concerns ideas about new possibilities and thinking about implications, rather than judgements. Green hat thinking covers the full spectrum of creativity.
Blue hat – the big picture; this hat serves as the facilitator of the group thinking process. This hat can be used to set objectives both for the problem solving process and the thinking session itself.