At Transition Bondi’s June Inner Transition event we learned a fun process for discussions and meetings, called Six Thinking Hats. This process is like a language to use, and to navigate the often complex dynamics in group communications.
Six colours described as followed:
- One colour for information,
- another for caution,
- one for creativity,
- one for oversight,
- one for possibilities
- and the last for emotions.
By using each of these colours as a guide for everyone about what to include in a phase of a meeting, things stay focused, meaningful and stress-free.
The whole group ‘puts’ on the following hats (the order can be adapted, and a hat can be used mutliple time):
- White hat for a while to discuss the facts,
- Then changes hats to green to think about possible new ideas;
- Blue gets the group reflecting on how the process is going;
- Red invites everyone to consider feelings relating to the topic or issue.
- Putting the black hat on allows those present to offer criticism,
- And yellow hats bring the dimension of benefits and optimism.
With all present offering their thoughts through the same lens for a while, and so on, for each different perspective, we come to see a broader view on a subject or issue. Looking from many sides is an expansive idea, requires us to be flexible, and pulls us out of our habitual tendencies.
One might try the hats on one’s own as well, in thought, or in a journal, to loosen up and explore different elements of a subject, before making a decision, preparing a presentation, writing an article, or entering into a debate.
Edward De Bono (originator of the term ‘Lateral Thinking’) wrote Six Thinking Hats in 1985. Thanks to him for this very stimulating process.