Thursday, 9 January 2014

Decisions: The Hats

A while back when I was attending a training on communication, I came across the Six Thinking Hats-model.


This model was developed by Edward de Bono and its aim is to include different types of thinking when making a decision. I was using this model in a group, but believe that this model can be applied in individual decision-making as well, considering that it draws attention to different approaches to a problem.

Each hat corresponds to one type of thinking (see Wikipedia for more):
  • Information (White) - considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
  • Emotions (Red) - intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)
  • Discernment (Black) - logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative
  • Optimistic response (Yellow) - logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony
  • Creativity (Green) - statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes

The blue hat is that of the facilitator – it is there to give direction to the process. So, how are these hats used?

The brainstorming session or meeting begins with the blue hat. After that the hats are “used” in turns (the facilitator decides which hat is currently on) for a short while and all the participators are requested to think in terms of that specific colour.

My experience about this model is positive: I like the way it takes into accounts such aspects as optimism and creativity, and the way that the colours are balanced. It also captures a wide range of factors that may occur once the decision is made (risks and benefits are taken into account) in an out-of-the-box way. It can be beneficial in the beginning of a decision-making process, while the brainstorming is still taking place. I mentioned above that I think this can be applied to individual decision-making, and I’m sure it can but that it requires extra work. It tends to be easier if there is someone external directing the thoughts (when they need to fall into one specific group).

Have you ever tried the hats? What did you think?

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