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Creative Problem Solving with

Six Thinking Hats


How to use Edward deBonos
parallel thinking in problem solving

Gary Dichtenberg
CyberSkills, Inc.

Goals of this program

Define parallel thinking


Identify each of the six hats
Learn how to ask a good question
Apply six hats method to problem solving

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

What is parallel thinking?


At any moment
everyone is looking in the same direction.

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

So the six hats are?

Six colors of hats for six types of thinking


Each hat identifies a type of thinking
Hats are directions of thinking

Hats help a group use parallel thinking


You can put on and take off a hat

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Uses for Six Hats

Problem solving
Strategic planning
Running meetings
Much more

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Six colors

White: neutral, objective


Red: emotional, angry
Black: serious, somber
Yellow: sunny, positive
Green: growth, fertility
Blue: cool, sky above

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

and six hats

White: objective facts & figures


Red: emotions & feelings
Black: cautious & careful
Yellow: hope, positive & speculative
Green: creativity, ideas & lateral thinking
Blue: control & organization of thinking

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

General hat issues


Direction, not description
Set out to think in a certain direction
Lets have some black hat thinking

Not categories of people


Not: Hes a black hat thinker.
Everyone can and should use all the hats

A constructive form of showing off


Show off by being a better thinker
Not destructive right vs. wrong argument

Use in whole or in part

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Benefits of Six Thinking Hats


Provides a common language
Experience & intelligence of each person
(Diversity of thought)
Use more of our brains
Helps people work against type, preference
Removal of ego (reduce confrontation)
Save time
Focus (one thing at a time)
Create, evaluate & implement action plans

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Using the hats

Use any hat, as often as needed


Sequence can be preset or evolving
Not necessary to use every hat
Time under each hat: generally, short
Requires discipline from each person
While using it, stay in the idiom

Adds an element of play, play along


Can be used by individuals and groups

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

The blue hat

Thinking about thinking


Instructions for thinking
The organization of thinking
Control of the other hats
Discipline and focus

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

The blue hat role

Control of thinking & the process


Begin & end session with blue hat
Facilitator, session leaders role
Choreography

open, sequence, close


Focus: what should we be thinking about
Asking the right questions
Defining & clarifying the problem
Setting the thinking tasks

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Open with the blue hat

Why we are here


what we are thinking about
definition of the situation or problem
alternative definitions
what we want to achieve
where we want to end up
the background to the thinking
a plan for the sequence of hats

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

and close with the blue hat

What we have achieved


Outcome
Conclusion
Design
Solution
Next steps

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

White Hat Thinking

Neutral, objective information


Facts & figures
Questions: what do we know, what dont
we know, what do we need to know
Excludes opinions, hunches, judgements
Removes feelings & impressions
Two tiers of facts
Believed Facts
Checked Facts

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Red Hat Thinking

Emotions & feelings


Hunches, intuitions, impressions
Doesnt have to be logical or consistent
No justifications, reasons or basis
All decisions are emotional in the end

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Yellow Hat Thinking

Positive & speculative


Positive thinking, optimism, opportunity
Benefits
Best-case scenarios
Exploration

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Green Hat Thinking

New ideas, concepts, perceptions


Deliberate creation of new ideas
Alternatives and more alternatives
New approaches to problems
Creative & lateral thinking

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Black Hat Thinking

Cautious and careful


Logical negative why it wont work
Critical judgement, pessimistic view
Separates logical negative from emotional
Focus on errors, evidence, conclusions
Logical & truthful, but not necessarily fair

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Six hats summary


Blue: control & organization of thinking
White: objective facts & figures
Red: emotions & feelings
Yellow: hope, positive & speculative
Green: creativity, ideas & lateral thinking
Black: cautious & careful

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Asking the right question

We cant get the right answer


if we ask the wrong question
Crucial blue hat skill
One technique: five whys

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Creative Problem Solving

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Traditional CPS

Mess-finding
Data-finding
Problem-finding
Idea-finding
Solution-finding
Acceptance-finding

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Common idea-finding methods

Brainstorming
Mind Maps
Free association
Freewriting
Incubation

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Six hats & problem solving

A more deliberate process than CPS


Like CPS, uses creativity (green hat)
Unlike CPS, provides a mechanism for
evaluating ideas & making decisions

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Hypothetical problem solving


program using the hats - 1
Blue hat
Organize the process

Red hat
Emotional issues & feelings

White hat
What do we know, need to know

Yellow hat
Proposals & suggestions; what ifs, why nots

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Hypothetical problem solving


program using the hats - 2
Blue hat
Focus on the areas that need new ideas

Green hat
Generate new ideas & concepts

Blue hat
Organize ideas & process for evaluation

White, yellow & green hats


Constructive thinking

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Hypothetical problem solving


program using the hats - 3
Yellow hat
Positive assessment of viable alternatives

Black hat
Screening for impossible, unusable
Challenge the alternatives

Yellow & green hats


Overcome objections, correct faults, remove
weaknesses, solve problems

Black hat
Further scrutiny; point out risks, dangers

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Hypothetical problem solving


program using the hats - 4
Blue hat
Overview of achievements so far
Organize choice of route

Red hat
Express feelings about the choices

Yellow & black hats


Looking for the best alternative

Blue hat
Strategy for implementation

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.

Want to learn more?


Workshops by Paul Reali

CyberSkills, Inc.
336.774.1411
www.cyberskills.com or www.omniskills.com
preali@cyberskills.com

Lateral Thinking, deBonos Thinking Course,


and other books by Edward deBono

Paul Reali CyberSkills, Inc.