6 Hats, 6 Thinking Styles
- WHITE HAT
This is for putting up facts and figures in a neutral and objective way. Look at the available information and also identify information gaps, so we can choose to fill them or just take account of them. This is where you provide background information and analyze and extrapolate historical trends.
- RED HAT
The red hat represents the emotional view. It recognizes and gives visibility to feelings, intuition, and gut reactions as an important part of thinking. The red hat allows a thinker to switch in and out of his feeling mode, and also to invite others to share their feelings, in a non-judgmental way. By making emotions visible, we can observe their influence on the thinking process.
- BLACK HAT
The black hat represents caution and what could go wrong. It points out what doesn’t fit, what may not work, and what is wrong, and hence protects us from fatal flaws and wasted resources. The black hat recognizes the value of caution and risk assessment; it makes our plans more robust.
- YELLOW HAT
The yellow hat focuses on value, benefits and optimism. It is positive and constructive. It helps us to develop “value sensitivity” and invest time to seek out value.
- GREEN HAT
The green hat is about creativity, new ideas, and change. This is when we present alternative and new ideas, and possibilities, and modify or improve suggested ideas. It is about recognizing the value of creative effort and allocating time for it.
- BLUE HAT
The blue hat is for process control, and for managing and organizing thinking. It has a strategic role for laying out the overall plan, and also for moment-to-moment instructions. It helps to organize the other hats, assess priorities, list constraints etc. Unlike the other hats, the blue hat is a permanent role. It is worn by the facilitator or chairperson of the meeting, though the leader may also assign the blue-hat role to others, or invite participants to wear the blue hat.