Six Thinking hats is a thinking tool for group discussion and individual thinking attributed to Dr. Edward de Bono and is the subject of his book, Six Thinking Hats.
The premise of the method is that the human brain thinks in a number of distinct ways which can be identified, deliberately accessed and hence planned for use in a structured way, allowing one to develop strategies for thinking about particular issues.
Coloured hats are used as metaphors for each state. Switching to a state is symbolised by the act of putting on a coloured hat, either literally or metaphorically. These metaphors allow for more complete and elaborate segregation of the states than the preconceptions inherent in people's current language.
If a team is taught this method, then the coloured hats can enter its language as a short hand, e.g. “Wearing my yellow hat ….”.
Six distinct states are identified and assigned a colour:i
Information/objective: (White) – considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
Emotions/intuitive (Red) – instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)
Bad points/negative (Black) – logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers, seeking mismatch
Good points/positive (Yellow) – logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony
Creativity (Green) – statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes
Thinking/process (Blue) – thinking about thinking