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Six thinking hats

> Resolve issue

The participants, either individually or as a group, will generate ideas involving an issue by putting on a different ‘hat’ (way of thinking) every time. This will help reduce the impact that criticism and judgement as well as cultural limits and obstacles (societal, corporate, etc.) have on their ideas in addition to promoting fun and creative group expression.

Suggestions and variations

The sequence of hats must be determined before the workshop starts and adapted to the team, each person’s role and the goal.

  • For another way to guide problem-solving, start with the green hat to rake in possible ideas to address the issue raised. Next, each person can express what they feel while wearing the red hat (without needing to give reasons or be objective). The positive sides of the ideas put forward are mentioned with the yellow hat, and the group goes on to brainstorming to determine whether another approach is possible. Lastly, the blue hat allows a suitable action plan to be implemented.
  • To motivate the team and unify them around an idea: put on the yellow hat to list the positives. Follow with a black hat, which will list stumbling blocks and problems the team will encounter along the way. Lastly, to get around each problem identified, find solutions using a green hat!
  • To generate ideas: you can bring together people who are naturally ‘green or yellow hats’ and then start putting on other hats. Based on comments made, the next step is looking at how to swing into action.

You can add one card per hat at the head of the column to help remind participants about its meaning.

Another way is to assign one hat to each person, with everyone expressing themselves based on the hat they’re wearing. People can swap hats during the session.

Board / 
Canvas
30 to 60+ min
2 to 30
Expert
Exploration
Meditate on an issue together by embracing all ways of thinking.
Integrate emotion and scepticism into what would normally be a purely rational process and open up the possibility for creative decision-making.