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Which hat do you wear?

Updated: Apr 14, 2018

Growing Happy on Edward De Bono's Six Thinking Hats


Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a system enabling you to think in more creative and uncharacteristic ways. It also encourages groups to switch approaches and leave their egos at the door.

It’s a simple and effective technique: you metaphorically put on one of the hats and then adopt the type of thinking of that coloured hat. In a group everyone should wear the same hat at the same time.

The six hats:

WHITE = FACTS. Just the information. No interpretations or value judgments. The raw view.

GREEN = BRAINSTORMING. Focuses on the new, creative, bold and different. Let the unconscious unfurl.

YELLOW = OPTIMISM. Be bright and positive; reject downsides for a minute; conjure up best case scenarios. What are the benefits?

BLUE = THE CONTROLLER. Manages the whole process and makes sure the hats stay in their areas of expertise. Sets the agenda, summarises, prioritises. E.g. Time for everyone to put on their green hat.

BLACK = CRITICAL THINKING. Looks at all the angles, especially the risks. Evaluation, reflection. Caution: don’t overuse, many wonderful ideas are strangled at birth.

RED = INTUITION. Give your feelings and hunches free rein. No logic or explanations required. Ditch apologies and any embarrassment, what does your gut tell you? Gush magnificently.


1. Checklists can be boring and stultifying. This method ensures all the bases are covered painlessly and playfully.

2. We all have strengths and weaknesses. This technique helps us develop and use our “shadow sides” - the parts of our minds and personalities we usually neglect.

3. Adopting a hat/position often has the liberating effect of removing the personal. So it’s not “my” idea and group members can feel liberated and less territorial.


1. Try it out in 3 different scenarios.

A) A personal quandary, from the trivial to the significant.

B) At work, by explicitly or using the hats yourself and then encouraging others.

C) With friends and partners, it may unlock old patterns and forge new ones.

2. Work out what’s missing? Alternative coloured hats ? Different methods? Now go faster? Let us know your experiences and thoughts below.

3. Is it too cold, logical and brain based? Wear fancy dress masks to disrupt stuffiness? Stand up in meetings to encourage pithiness and concision? What are your ideas to think better and make decisions differently.

Enjoy your new headwear.


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