6 Hats Technique: How To Use This Technique For Productivity
This technique allows you to effectively manage a project or problem by improving productivity. Would you like to know how? Find out with us! A while ago, we wrote an article about idea generation. We examined techniques that would allow us to delve deeper into how to develop new ideas, collaborating as best as possible with colleagues during brainstorming sessions.
One of the techniques we had briefly mentioned was that of the “six hats”. Today, we want to take it back to analyze how it can be used not only in the brainstorming phase but also in problem-solving and, in general, in relationships with other team members to create a more positive, energetic, and productive work environment.
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What Is The Six-Hat Technique?
It is a technique that aims to promote creativity by improving the ability to explore and have a more well-rounded approach to a problem, idea, or project to focus on all aspects and perspectives generated by the human brain. The inventor of this technique is Edward De Bono, a Maltese psychologist, writer, and inventor responsible for the concept of “lateral thinking”. What does this technique consist of?
Wearing a virtual hat of a specific color to take a particular approach to the problem, idea, or project. Usually, each of us is naturally inclined towards a specific type of hat. Still, within a team, there are different types of people, and this aspect can likely be exploited to the team’s advantage by exploring in depth the approach of each member to get a broader overall idea. Or, it can be a way for each team member to explore different thinking styles to promote their development and open-mindedness. But let’s see in practice what each of these “hats” entails!
Blue Hat And White Hat
Each hat is assigned a color that symbolizes a different way of observing reality. The blue hat is the “boss” of the hats, the one who controls all the others. It is a moderator hat: whoever “wears” it—i.e., whoever decides to take on the role characterized by this perspective—will have a management position.
He will observe the other hats’ thought flow by writing it down on copy paper. He will determine what is necessary to make the discussion evolve positively, examine what was discussed, and draw conclusions with the relevant action plan. The white hat, on the other hand, allows us to think as objectively as possible. This is an approach focused mainly on the available data, focusing on what needs to be searched and found to give positive input to the generated discussion.
Red Hat And Green Hat
Red is the color of passion and, in general, emotions. In fact, by “wearing” this hat (or following this approach), we will be free to express our feelings without having to justify ourselves. It is also the color of instinct and intuition—perfect for giving voice to sensations or the more “physical” part of our reasoning.
The green hat is very similar but less impetuous. It is the classic approach derived from lateral thinking. In this mode, we can offer for discussion (for example, on managing a project efficiently and productively) possible ideas and alternatives not yet explored.
Yellow Hat And Black Hat
Following what is generally associated with these colors, it is pretty simple to understand that the yellow hat identifies an energetic and positive approach. Whoever takes on this role will underline the aspects favoring realizing a particular idea, for example. He will explain the advantages by giving logical reasons.
By looking at a situation from a positive point of view, we can understand why it will work and what benefits we will gain from it. In contrast, the black hat allows us to focus on difficulties, weaknesses, and risks or dangers. In this case, logical reasons are also offered for what is proposed. This is a role of negative criticism where we worry about what can go wrong, paying attention to possible unfavorable consequences.
Positive Aspects Of This Technique
As we’ve seen, this technique offers the team a way to think more effectively with more cohesive planning. It helps to explore an idea or project in depth, considering all aspects to make thoughtful and appropriate choices, improving the team’s overall productivity. It also offers a model of personal development as it allows us to take on roles that can make us see the situation from a different perspective.
For example, if we often wear a black hat, it might be interesting to try the yellow one for a while! When faced with a stalemate in a project, it can be the proper technique for exploring the problem, discussing new ideas, developing solutions, and selecting the best one.