What is brainstorming? Invented in 1948, brainstorming is still the dominant technique when it comes to idea generation. It combines creativity, problem solving, and group discussion. How often have you used brainstorming to solve a problem? Chances are, you’ve used it at least once, even if you didn’t realize it.

For decades, people have used brainstorming to generate ideas, and to come up with creative solutions to problems. However, you need to use brainstorming correctly for it to be fully effective.

The six hats are tools that help us to conceive new ideas and improve thinking. To make improvements to services, you will have to change the way things are done. This means thinking up, considering and testing new ideas. Six Thinking Hats will help you evaluate a potential change from a number of perspectives, offering a more balanced view. This way, you and your team can move the best, most viable ideas forward. Six
Thinking Hats is a simple, yet powerful tool created by Edward De Bono based on a principle of parallel thinking: everyone thinking in the same direction, from the same perspective, at the same time.

The Six Hats method is a devastatingly simple technique based on the brain’s different modes of thinking. The intelligence, experience and information of everyone is harnessed to reach the right conclusions quickly.

These principles fundamentally change the way you work and interact. They have been adopted by businesses and governments around the world to end conflict and confusion in favour of harmony and productivity. So what are the six hats? They are as follows:

• The white hat is the information hat. It requires the wearer to seek out hard, factual information related to the project or question at hand. Look at the information that you have, analyse past trends, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge and try to either fill them or take account of them. The white hat is objective and implies no judgment of the value of the information.

• The red hat invites the wearer to focus on their intuition, gut reaction, and emotion. Think how others could react emotionally. Although emotions and intuition aren’t easily explainable, feelings play an important role in thinking and decision-making. Seek to understand the responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning.

• The black hat – discernment. Logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative. This hat is all about cautiousness. It stops us from doing things that will ultimately work against our interest, e.g., illegal, dangerous or unprofitable things.

• The yellow hat – optimistic response. Logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony. The yellow hat is harder to master than the back hat: our mind is naturally inclined to warn us against danger, not seek out sunshine and rainbows.

• The green hat – focuses on creativity: the possibilities, alternatives and new ideas. This hat permits us to consider possible outcomes. Because without a creative vision for the future, progress can come to a standstill.

• Blue hat – managing thinking. This is the overview or process control hat. Could you summarise the findings so far? What needs to happen next? Under the blue hat, you consider which other hats will be needed during a thinking session in order to tackle a given problem.

When using the six hats, keep some rules in mind. There are two ways to wear these hats: in single use or in sequence. When the hats are used singly, they function as symbols indicating that you want to concentrate on a particular type of thinking. Over the course of a conversation or discussion, you may reach a point where you need to generate some fresh opinions. There is also the sequential use. In this case, use any hat you like as often as you like and, in any order, depending on what your group wants to accomplish.

In sum…
Thinking is a skill just like any other and can be improved! Using the Six Hats method you will be able to think more effectively, solve problems, develop creative solutions, stop wasting valuable energy and falling prey to disorganized and chaotic thinking.