Contact FutureLearn for Support
Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsThe idea of six thinking hats was conceptualized by Edward de Bono, as a way of helping with the difficult task of thinking creatively in a group. The creative process

Skip to 0 minutes and 19 secondsis often influenced by the group dynamic: for example, many members may try to align their creative thinking process with that of their leader, in order to maintain social order. However, de Bono created a novel approach, that requires people to step into a particular role or wear a particular ‘hat’ to help diversify the responses to a problem. The idea is not for one hat to ‘win’ over another, but for the hats to represent different approaches to the problem.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 secondsDifferent team members may switch ‘hats’ as they please, or certain hats may steer the conversation towards others. For example the blue hat may request the use of the white hat. The underlying premise is that the human brain operates in certain paths or patterns that that can be directly challenged to broaden the scope that a given discussion can reach. What follows is a brief outline of the hats and their ‘stances’, after which you will have a chance to implement them in an exercise. It may help you to jot down the colors with a brief description, for use in the task that follows. The White hat focuses purely on the information at hand, the facts that are core to the discussion.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 secondsThe Red hat represents feelings, gut reactions and intuition. It can be used to express feelings without justification. The Black hat is the critical hat of judgement. Its wearer will point out how a given plan or idea might not work out, or some perceived difficulties ahead. It is very powerful in ‘trimming away’ frivolous ideas, but can be dangerous to the creative process if it is used too often or too heavily. The Yellow hat is the opposite of the black hat, and sees everything as positive and possible. It is bright, optimistic, and sees value in all ideas. The Green hat focuses on creativity, on looking outside the given parameters for unusual or innovative new solutions.

Skip to 2 minutes and 44 secondsThe Blue hat takes the approach of a manager, and oversees the process of interaction between the hats, ensuring that de Bono’s principles are adhered to.

Six thinking hats

The idea of six thinking hats was conceptualised by Edward de Bono, to help aid the difficult task of thinking creatively in a group. Let’s click the video, and understand what the tool is.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Using Creative Problem Solving

National Chiao Tung University