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Seb Anthony

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Experiences in using Six Thinking Hats


I am introducing the Six thinking hats framework in to a business that is challenging it self to start doing things differently.
I would be very interested to hear peoples experiences on the topic- tips and traps. I have 90 minutes allocated to into introduction, background and any initial experimentation with the framework.
Burkitt Rudd

6 Responses

  1. user perspective
    I’ve taken part in a 3 hour event where the trainer used the six hats, and it worked well.
    We were a group who all met at least once a month and were able to laugh off any discomfort with it (we had to wear the hats)
    We did one hat at a time, ie we all had to think black hat for 20 minutes and record views before moving on.
    Have you tried Fish! with them?

  2. Six hats Ideas
    Thanks Peter for your reply and yes I have previously used the ‘Fish’ at the annual European Conference, went down well

  3. Well worth the effort
    I have taken part in an exercise which lasted about 2 hours. It was to introduce trainers to the six thinking hats theory but in a practical way.
    Each hat was represented at a station dotted around the room, each area being themed by colour. Particpants where asked to move around the room in groups of no more than three, and to spend time considering the situation in the manner of that ‘hat’. Ideas were put down on flipchart in each area.
    It worked really well and definetly got you to think in different ways. Everybody seemed to feed off each other as well, taking ideas from the flipchart and exploring them further.

  4. Six Hats – a great method
    I teach six hats on my creative leadership workshops. It always goes down well. Here are my tips:

    1. Get six hats for all participants if possible. Wearing them helps.

    2. Although they can be used in various ways I find it best that everyone in the groups wears the same hat at the same time.

    3. Use in the sequence – white, red, yellow, black, green, blue.

    4. Choose a controversial proposition to exercise the method.

    5. Prioritise the top yellow and black ideas and keep them in view when wearing the green.

    6. With the green hat the team has to try to improve or develop the proposition with ideas to deliver the yellows but mitigate the blacks.

    7. Ask them to reach a conclustion while wearing the green hat.

    8. Use the blue hat to analyse the process and compare it to a normal discussion.

    They love it.

  5. six thinking hats
    I have had problems with this technique; people can only remember 5 things and therefore the process needs to be used in a wells tructured context. I’ve witnessed people trying to remember ‘what stage they’re supposed to be in’ and as aresult the process has got in the way. I have heard of one organisation that rooms based on each of the thinking hats. Again, people weren’t remembering what they were supposed to be doing.
    So an example of where at times the tool can get in the way rather than ease the progress of critical and imaginative thinking.

  6. Running more creative Team Meetings
    I have used the 6 Thinking Hats to help Managers run more creative Team Meetings. Another variation on the ideas listed so far is:-
    1. Talk through each of the 6 styles, give examples and encourage delegates to identify which style they may lean towards.
    2. Put into Pairs, if possible, and allocate a colour to each pair, (if you have enough people!). Use coloured aids previously mentioned such as flip chart sheets around the room, or hats.
    3. Introduce an issue that is relevant to the team, Department or Organisation and ask them to identify the angles from their allocated colour’s perspective.
    4. Plenary session to explore each style of thinking, be careful about which order you ask the colours to speak in (read De Bono’s guidelines).
    5. Identify a second issue for them to discuss in pairs and allocate a different coloured hat to the pairs – if possible a style that they don’t readily identify with – this is when the fun beings!
    6. Plenary session to debrief and find out how it felt to use a “challenging” thinking style.


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