Six Thinking Hats

Action, Kick-off

Brainstorming, Decision making, Discuss challenges, Ideation & idea generation, Meeting facilitation, Perspective, Problem solving, Vision

Communication, Creativity / create, Empathy, Evaluation, Introspection

Up to 30 min, Up to 60 min, 60-120 min

6-15 persons, 16 – 30 persons

Skilled

Stretch

Introduction

Six Thinking Hats is a powerful technique for looking at decision-making from different points of view. By introducing a structured parallel thinking process, it helps people to be more focused and mindfully involved in a discussion.

Necessary tools (what you need)

  • Use a video conferencing tool of your choice.

Steps

  1. Explain at the beginning of the meeting that in order to examine the current topic from every perspective we will use the Six Thinking Hats framework, which helps to separate thinking into six clear perspectives and roles. Each thinking perspective is identified with a symbolic, colored “thinking hat.” By mentally wearing and switching “hats,” the group can easily focus or redirect thoughts, the conversation, or the meeting. Briefly explain the six hats and their meaning:
  • White Hat – when wearing this hat, the group focuses on facts and data in order to identify all information needed.
  • Red Hat – when wearing this hat, focus is on feelings, intuition and hunches. Group members can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates.
  • Black Hat – when wearing this hat, focus is on why a solution might not work or possible negative outcomes. Often the most powerful and useful of the Hats but a problem when overused.
  • Yellow Hat – here, everyone focuses on positive outcomes and benefits of potential solutions.
  • Green Hat – wearing this hat, focus is on creative solutions, possibilities, and new concepts. This is an opportunity to express new ideas and new perceptions
  • Blue Hat – worn by facilitators or meeting leaders, it is used to manage the process of the Six Thinking Hats
  1. Set up each participant a nametag note and images for each of the six thinking hats. Have multiple copies of each hat. Invite participants to drag the relevant thinking hat to their nametag when using it.
  2. Prepare a section to collect feedback for each hat, e.g.: all red hat feedback is recorded in one place. Have your participants add sticky notes to each section as they go.
  3. Facilitate the conversation (wearing the blue hat): You may decide which sequence of hat use fits best for your purpose. In general, it is recommended that each hat is worn at some point, however there are some sensible sub-sequences, too. Encourage each person to contribute to each of the perspectives. Avoid putting people into categories – Everyone can and should use all the hats.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you are not using an online whiteboard, we would recommend using a collaboration tool such as Google Docs to collect the information for each hat under a separate heading. Invite everyone into the document to share their images but be very clear in regards to editing rights. You can delineate which person is wearing each hat by using Zoom icons.
  • When facilitating group discussion, we would recommend that participants use non-verbal means to indicate they would like to speak. You can use tools like Zoom’s nonverbal feedback tools, a reaction emoji, or just have people put their hands up.The facilitator can then invite that person to talk.

The exercise is successfully completed when? Conclusion?

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