Six thinking hats – a thinking paradigm, approach and process, by virtue of which thinking is made quite efficient. First, let us read some background:

There are two types of thinking – Argumentative and Parallel thinking.

As you can infer from the terms, argumentative thinking is based on arguments – haphazard way of thinking – random – a person presents an idea - & then begins a series of arguments between the persons attending the meeting. It may or may not yield fruitful. On the other hand, parallel thinking removes all the arguments from a thinking process, & drives to focus thinking at a given point of time in a single direction. Say for example, all persons in a meeting are asked to put forward only the positive aspects of an idea during a certain period. Their thinking is aligned to a common goal or rather in a single direction during that time – finding all the positive aspects.

Six thinking hats is a thinking approach based on the latter. Hats just symbolize a particular mode of thinking – Overview, Factual, Emotional, Positive, Negative, Creative & Conclusion. The process is named six thinking hats as it is difficult to ask a person to switch thinking from negative to positive side, but it would be easy to ask them to remove their black hat & put on the yellow hat. Hats let you denote your current thinking mode quite easily.

The Hats continue:


Blue – the color of the sky – engulfs our thinking process. Blue hat is presented at the beginning & end of a discussion. Blue Hat decides the series of hats that is to be used in discussion. It introduces the agenda / idea and also concludes it at the end of discussion.


White – color of peace – is the factual hat. When under white hat mode, team members needs to put down just plain simple facts. And remember, facts are not to be confused with assumptions. Fact is an established truth. Say for example – Sales figure of Product A has risen from 3.5million in 2005 to 5million in 2011. No inference, no assumptions are to be made during white hat. Just plain, simple & true facts regarding the idea / agenda.


Red – the color of blood – is the emotional hat. Emotions are an integral part of our thinking process. When someone asks you your red hat view, you are required to give your emotional view. Red hat symbolizes feelings / emotions. But there is one rule to Red hat – no reason is to be presented for expressed emotions. E.g. I feel this idea won’t work – that’s it. It is your feeling & you need not explain it. Red hat just jot down the feelings / emotions without concerned about their reasons. As when people have to give reasons, they tend to curb their feelings.


Yellow – color of the sun, brightness – is the positive hat. Put on your yellow hat & tell me what you think is best in this idea. What are all the positive points regarding the agenda. Just focus on all the positive things regarding the topic under discussion.


Black – color of night – is the negative hat – is also an important hat in the thinking process. Our normal reflexes are to quickly identify the dangers & risks involved. Red hat corresponds to critical thinking – note down all the risks, dangers & negative aspects of the idea. This is an important hat as it lists down all the risks – aspect that needs to be resolved during Green hat.


Green – color of grass & growth – is the creative & innovative hat. During the green hat mode, people need to switch on their creative minds & put forward all the ideas supporting the main idea or measures to mitigate risks identified during the black hat process. Without creativity & innovation, thinking process will be stagnant. So, Green hat is also an important part of our internal thinking.

Now when you know about six thinking hats, let’s take into light their usage. 

  1. The leader / moderator have to first wear the blue hat & decide on the series of hats to be used during the discussion. He has to introduce the agenda & conclude it. He can have suggestions regarding the flow / series of hats to be followed. But, Blue hat usually opens & closes a discussion.
  2. The order of hats can be customized according to the need. But, most of the times, yellow hat is placed before black hat – so that you see the brighter side first. Once you know the brighter side of an idea – you will tend to mitigate the risks that will be identified during the black hat phase.
  3. There has to be a scheduled time to cover each of the hats. For meetings & discussions to be effective, you need to have a time schedule for each hat.
  4. During a particular hat mode, people are not allowed to comment / suggest / provide details regarding other hats. In this way, the power of all thinking heads within a room is directed in a single direction during a particular hat period. This overcomes the drawbacks of argumentative thinking process.
  5. When wearing red hat, members should not be asked reasons for their expressed feelings / emotions. Asking reasons tend to curb their feelings. For all the emotions attached to an idea to be expressed, it is important that you just state your feeling / emotion & nobody should question / reason that.
  6. Few people tend to perform better when wearing a particular hat. Like many people have a tendency to always see the negative side of an idea. Such people tend to perform better when wearing a black hat. But when distinguishing thinking based on hats, people tend to know their weak thinking points & tend to develop on those. So overall, six thinking hats process tends to increase the overall thinking capabilities of the group.
  7. Though designed for group thinking, but six thinking hat method can also be applied on individual thinking. It is proved to yield better results in case of individual thinking as well. It increases the thinking capabilities of individuals.

Using six thinking hats method, the power of all the minds present is exercised in a particular direction or mode of thinking yielding greater results then the argumentative way of thinking.

I guess you need to put on your yellow hat to better understand the advantages / benefits of using the six hat thinking method :-) !

Like it on Facebook, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

What is the best way to spend a holiday?

No answer selected. Please try again.
Please select either existing option or enter your own, however not both.
Please select minimum 0 answer(s) and maximum 8 answer(s).
[{"id":"23123","title":"Read Books","votes":"15","type":"x","order":"1","pct":17.65,"resources":[]},{"id":"23124","title":"Spend time on social networking sites","votes":"4","type":"x","order":"2","pct":4.71,"resources":[]},{"id":"23125","title":"Talk to friends","votes":"8","type":"x","order":"3","pct":9.41,"resources":[]},{"id":"23126","title":"Research any career related courses\/jobs\/business","votes":"7","type":"x","order":"4","pct":8.24,"resources":[]},{"id":"23127","title":"Play any sport outside with friends","votes":"16","type":"x","order":"5","pct":18.82,"resources":[]},{"id":"23128","title":"Watch T.V","votes":"3","type":"x","order":"6","pct":3.53,"resources":[]},{"id":"23129","title":"Go for an outing to any resort\/Park","votes":"25","type":"x","order":"7","pct":29.41,"resources":[]},{"id":"23130","title":"Sleep","votes":"7","type":"x","order":"8","pct":8.24,"resources":[]}] ["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"] ["rgba(255,91,0,0.7)","rgba(74,192,242,0.7)","rgba(184,0,40,0.7)","rgba(238,246,108,0.7)","rgba(96,187,34,0.7)","rgba(185,106,154,0.7)","rgba(98,194,204,0.7)"] 350
bottom 200
No married couple wants to end up getting divorced. It is not like they have planned for it. They try to put up with their partners for as long as they
Due to our modern lifestyle, we feel that digestion related disorders are a common problem. Thus, we neither give importance to them nor seek any help
The bond of marriage brings the two people together. Initially, everything may seem okay and both of them slowly start discovering each other in the journey.