Thinking logically is only one mode of thinking. Individuals and businesses can be more creative if they adopt other modes of thinking as well.
Edward de Bono, an expert in the field of creative thinking, teaches the Six Thinking Hat system. Each hat represents a different mode of thinking.A thinker can put on or take off a particular hat by choice. De Bono said the analogy of the hat is used because hats can be put on and taken off. The different thinking modes do not represent types of thinkers. Every thinker can try each hat.
In a business meeting, the person conducting the discussion can request the participants to wear particular hats at a particular time. Using the hats to symbolize different thinking modes allows for a way to structure discussion for constructive, mutual exploration.
A white hat is for gathering information. "White-hat thinking is a request to focus directly and exclusively on the information base," said de Bono.
De Bono uses a red hat as the time for the discussion to deal with emotions, feelings, hunches and intuition. When a person is wearing his red hat, he doesn't have to speak logically. Everyone else in the discussion should also be wearing their red hats, so responses are also from intuition or feelings.
The black hat is the judgment hat. It is logical but negative. When a person wears the black hat, he uses caution and assesses an idea based on experience, the system, ethics and other factors.
De Bono said the black hat is most important in the end because the black hat should prevent carrying out careless or stupid plans. But the black hat can be overused to squelch creative thinking.
The yellow hat is the positive side of logical thinking. When wearing the yellow hat, a person looks for the benefits of a proposed idea based on logical thinking.
The green hat is the creative hat. When a group puts on green hats, the members try to come up with new ideas and alternatives. Only creative thinking is allowed when the group is wearing their green hats.
The last hat is blue. It is an overview, the hat for looking over the thinking generated by the other hats.
De Bono said the hats are like golf clubs. Though one particular club may be a favorite, several different kinds of clubs are needed to play.
De Bono presented his ideas at an interactive video conference Nov. 15. Utah Valley Community College hosted a session open to the public. Provo School District invited members of the district to view the conference at the district offices.