I think this book has good potential, but I found the technique to be only marginally better than just good brainstorming. Details below:

I read the Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono a few years ago. It describes a mechanism for facilitating a group discussion about a topic where you hit the subject from several different angles. It requires a parallel thinking approach where participants are collectively asked to think about the problem and contribute from each of 5 different perspectives. The whole group does each perspective in succession. You are not allowed to contribute out of order.

The perspectives are:

White hat – What facts do we know, or do we need to know about this topic?

Red hat – What are our feelings about the topic?

Black hat – What can go wrong with this idea? The doom and gloom view.

Yellow hat – How can we benefit from this idea? The sunny view?

Green hat – How else can we think about this idea? The creative, outside the box view.

Blue hat – This is the facilitation hat only.

I have used this a few times with moderate success. The biggest pros have been when you have an idea where some folks are passionate opposed or for it. This forces the whole group to look at the issue from all sides, while still provide a forum for folks to vent their passion and express the strengths and concerns. I ran the meetings more like a brainstorming session, where everything got written on flip charts and taped to the wall. The caveat being folks had to stay inline with the current hat.

I may use it again, but I am curious if others have read the book and if they have passion about the approach one way or another.


jupiter's picture

Hello :D.

This method gets practicing here in Germany. There are a number of podcasts about Edward de Bono and his Six Thinking Hats. Below is a link to a podcast on that (only German).

Best wishes