A short while ago, our fearless leader, Kimberly, wrote about the six hats. I thought I’d add a little to her suggestions. The technique, called “Six Thinking Hats” comes from a book by the same name written by E. deBono. (Boston, Little, Brown & Company, 1985)
The beauty of the technique is that it helps participatns stay int he same frame of reference.
Quoting from my book, Training Your Board of Directors (pg. 105):
If possible, it’s nice to have paper hats. Colored cards or colored dots will do as well. Everyone is asked to “wear a specific hat” and contribute ideas from that point of view. Then they are requested to change hats.
This helps flexibility, because it encourages those who tend to fixate on one area to realize there are several different ways to look at an issue.
The hats – developed by Mr. deBono are as follows:
White: Facts, data, sharing what we know
Green: Brainstorming ideas and alternatives (creative)
Yellow: Benefits, profits, pros
Black: Costs, expenses, cons
Red: Emotions, feelings
Blue Process, facilitation, plans, closure.
I use this technique with groups to accomplish many different goals, especially to look at potential plans of attack, new product or process ideas, possible capital expenses, and other important decisions that are somewhat controversial and need a lot of discussion.
By separating the conversation into different elements, it allows for a freer exchange of ideas, without people arguing about apples/oranges at the same time. It’s a great technique for keeping things straight.