The Six Thinking Hats

The 6 hats of thinking refer to an exercise that professionals can partake in when they are feeling stuck. In my eyes, this technique can be used most effectively in all aspects of the creative process. Creative directors find themselves stuck at a wall so often, especially when they feel as though they have been using the same routine answers to agency problems.  The 6 thinking hats can help these people solve creative problems as well as problems that have nothing to do with advertising or branding. Edward de Bono created this tool in his book “6 Thinking Hats.”

To effectively use this tool, you must consider all hats. This way, most all perspectives are exemplified and displayed. Each ‘Thinking Hat’ is a different style of thinking. The 6 hats are explained as follows:

  • The White Hat – This thinking hat makes you focus on the information that you already have. Once you have this together, you can consider the gaps and where more information is needed
  • The Red Hat – This hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. This provides emotional and gut reaction to what is at hand.  This also gives perspectives on other people’s reactions.
  • The Black Hat – This thinking hat has to do with judgment. You take this hat and look at all the problems that could arise or that already exist. This makes your plan more resilient to critics. Also known as the devil’s advocate.
  • The Yellow Hat  – This thinking hat is the opposite of the black hat. It focuses on the positive aspects of what you are doing. You are optimistic when you are using this hat.
  • The Green Hat– This hat signifies the creative. This hat is used to develop creative solutions to the problems at hand. This gives the opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.
  • The Blue Hat – The blue hat is used to manage the thinking process. It is how you control this whole exercise as a whole.

I first heard of these thinking hats in my Curiosity for Strategists class from a teacher I respect incredibly much. This thought process intrigued me because you can use it in any line of work to get around a wall; even in life situations when you are hit with a problem. I feel as though these hats are a thorough example of how the creative process can be even more successful.


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