The six thinking hats, developed by De Bono (1985), is a method that applies six different thinking styles to the evaluation process of an idea. By using these different styles of thinking, the students create a more complete and diversified picture of their idea, because it forces them to break with their habitual ways of thinking.
The students create six simple paper hats. Each of these hats has a colour that represents a particular style of thinking: White symbolizes a neutral evaluation of ideas based on data and information; Red represents a subjective evaluation based on hunches, intuitions and emotions; Black defines the downsides of an idea, and Yellow the benefits; Blue evaluates the process by summarizing where we are at present, and where we need to go. Finally, Green focuses on idea generation and development though creative thinking.
When the students put on their hats, they assume their assigned role. The students can either wear the same coloured hat, so as to focus on one thinking style at a time, or wear different coloured hats, in order to fuel a more diversified discussion. During this process, the students write down the arguments from each perspective on a blackboard, or large sheet of paper.
This method can also be applied to a brainstorming secession, or as a method to discover the present state of a specific problem space. Thus, the students generate ideas, build upon ideas or look at problems from the perspective of the hat that they are wearing.
Edward De Bono (1985), Six Thinking Hats. Little, Brown.