Six hats | Sociology homework help


Discussion Board:  For this discussion board, please read the following prompt and then choose 1 of the six hats and write your response from the perspective of that hat only.  Let’s try to make sure we have at least one response from each hat color before we start repeating hats.  

Let’s discuss:  What if schools would add an additional 40 minutes to the length of each school day, and then build every other Friday off as a free day.  

Choose a hat, and tell us what that hat might say to that proposal!

excerpt is below:


de Bono’s Lateral Thinking and the Six Hats

I really do not like the chapter in your book on Lateral Thinking. In my opinion, Davis takes his sarcasm a bit too far, so please keep that in mind while reading. I apologize for the author’s tone.

Below are descriptions of lateral thinking and the Six Hats technique. Lateral thinking essentially means thinking horizontally instead of vertically. That is, rather than digging deeper into the same solution strategies, lateral thinking encourages individuals to step aside and look at the problem from a new or fresh perspective.  It helps develop flexibility of thought.  de Bono describes the Six Hats technique as a way of facilitating lateral thinking in problem solving.*

Here are some notes from Dr. de Bono on the definition of Lateral Thinking.

There are a number of ways of describing or defining Lateral Thinking.

  1. “You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper.”
  2. “Lateral Thinking is for changing concepts and perceptions instead of trying harder with
    the same concepts and perceptions.”
  3. “In self-organizing information systems, asymmetric patterns are formed. Lateral
    Thinking is a method for cutting across from one pattern to another.”

In his writing and seminars, de Bono uses the terms “lateral thinking” and “creative thinking” interchangeably because creative thinking is much more widely known. One of the reasons for creating and using the term “Lateral Thinking,” however, is to highlight the type of thinking involved in creating new perceptions and new concepts as different that the type of creativity we may think of, for example, when artists, authors, musicians, etc. create a new work of a well established genre. While their work is novel and purposeful (thus satisfying the most commonly accepted definition of creativity), it is not an example of lateral thinking because it has not created a shift in thinking-it is not a new genre, a new approach, or a new style.

One of the most popular of de Bono’s techniques is called “Six Hats.” The idea behind six hats is to remind us to be flexible in our thinking of an issue or an idea; multiple perspectives exist, each with its own value. Each perspective needs to be heard, but no perspective should dominate or the discussion may easily be derailed. When using the Six Hats technique, participants first learn the role of each hat, and then together they put on the same hat and discuss only within the parameters of that hat’s style. After a few minutes, they all take off that hat, and put on another one and proceed to continue the discussion only now within the context of their new hat. The conversation continues until all hats have been worn (for equal amounts of time), and the blue hat determines if any hats need to be put on again or the most effective way to proceed. The following is a description of each of the hats and its purpose.

* Taken from de Bono’s book, Serious Creativity (Harper Business, New York, 1992).

The White Hat: The White Hat represents a sheet of paper full of information. The hat is neutral and objective, concerned primarily with what we know and what we need to find out. The white hat’s emphasis is on data gathering and facts.
Questions/Comments from the White Hat: What information do we have? What information is missing that we still need to know? Are there conflicting data reports? We need more evidence before we decide.

The Yellow Hat: The Y ellow Hat represents the sun. Sunny and positive, the Y ellow Hat is always searching for the value and benefits of the ideas being considered.
Questions/Comments from the Yellow Hat: This idea has merit because…; What I like about this proposal is… What benefits can we see as a result of using this strategy?

The Black Hat: The Black Hat represents the color of a judge’s robes. As the Devil’s advocate, the Black Hat is looking for and introducing reasons why an idea may not work. Serious, cautious, and careful, the Black Hat may prevent people from getting hurt or choosing an ultimately harmful solution.

Questions/Comments from the Black Hat: I am worried that if we act on this idea an unintended consequence might be…; This suggestion is not likely to work because… We tried something similar, and it was not effective because…Have we considered the negative impact this would have on (environment, group of people, achievement, etc.)?

The Green Hat:  The Green Hat represents the color of new vegetation. The Green Hat generates new possibilities, better alternatives, and new ideas as they arise spontaneously or in response to other ideas. This hat is great to follow the Black Hat as it can stimulate suggestions to counter the Black Hat’s objections.

Questions/Comments from the Green Hat: What are all the ways this might be improved… If we change [insert element] then it could work; How can we avoid [insert objection] from being a problem? Here’s a way to address this concern…

The Red Hat: The Red Hat represents the color of the heart and emotion. The Red Hat expresses the feelings and emotions associated with the ideas on the table. The Red Hat never attempt to justify feelings.

Questions/Comments from the Red Hat: Who else is a nervous wreck about this proposal?; I am excited for this new change! I love that idea. I am uncomfortable with the plan.

The Blue Hat: The Blue Hat represents the color of the sky that is above all else. This hat manages and organizes the thinking suggesting the use of other hats to further thinking. The Blue Hat is big picture thinking and can serve to moderate the discussion and suggest ways to improve it.Questions/Comments from the Blue Hat: What have we achieved so far: Let’s take inventory of where we are in the process. Where do we need to go next to be most effective?; Do we need to revisit any hats before we make a decision?

How to use the Hats

  • Everyone should use the same colored hat at the same time. The idea is to maximize use of parallel thinking as everyone pursues the same perspective. Do not have each person in a group represent a different hat; that leads only to argument and defending one’s position.
  • Each color is used for a short time, a few minutes, and then a switch is made to another color.
  • It is possible to return to a color to address new thinking, e.g. after objections are brought up by the Black Hat, it may be important to get more information (White) or to think of new ideas for solutions to address an issue (Green).
  • It is important that the process be regarded as a game with everyone obeying the rules; that is, everyone should be taking on the thinking style of the group’s current hat.
  • To represent the hats, you might give each participant a small index card (or paint chip) the color of the hat being discussed. On the card the description of the hat as well as sample questions/comments from the hat could be included to help spark discussion.
  • While you can do the hats in any order, after many years of doing this with groups of people, I have found that it works well to do it in the following order:  Yellow, Black, Green, White, Red, Blue.   I like this order because when you start with yellow, it predisposes people to start thinking positively about the issue.  Black comes next, but it is immediately followed by Green so that whatever objections were voiced during the Black hat conversation can be addressed with possible solutions during the Green Hat session.  White is next because by now a lot of ideas have been expressed, and there is a need to consider what information is known and still needs to be found out before moving forward with any solutions.  The Red hat is put on next, and, if you are discussing a hot topic, by this time, people have usually mellowed in their emotional responses compared to what they might have felt at the beginning of the discussion.  So, they get to air their feelings, but they are usually tempered.  Finally, the Blue hat wraps up guiding where the discussion needs to go next. 
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