Six Thinking Hats For Problem Solving

It has become obvious that acquiring a skill that is as important as problem-solving is pretty essential for anyone nowadays. Web developers, data scientists, and project managers are three different jobs or vocations that demand a level of problem-solving. However, it has become inherent in each job’s description.

Even on the academic and personal levels, wouldn’t it be a plus if you had some problem-solving skills that can assist you in difficult calculus questions, for example? 

Wouldn’t it be a plus when you feel that you are capable of solving problems that others cannot or cannot comprehend? There is no doubt that having such a skill is critical and it would never harm if you tried to gain it. 

Due to its importance, this is probably why specialists, successful people, and authors have been trying to propose tools for problem-solving or provide some guidance to accelerate the process and make it more efficient. One of those authors is Edward de Bono.


How Did He Do It?

Well, it is frankly quite simple. He is an author, so he wrote a book! In his book Think! Before it’s Too Late, Edward explains how people’s ordinary or conventional way of thinking is not enough to encounter the severe problems our world is facing now.

So, he introduces various arguments indicating that educational institutions should focus on thinking and “operacy”, or practicality, because courses and subjects can be studied online now.

Additionally, he proposes terms and various ways of problem-solving or thinking in order to make the process more efficient. One of those techniques is the Six Thinking Hats.


Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats technique is a powerful yet simple thinking technique that can be used in large enterprises to get more productive, focused, and deeply involved in whatever matter. It works in the following way.

You and your team are conducting a meeting right now. And throughout the meeting, you all can wear a different hat when examining different points.

Every hat serves a unique role and function, and there are six of them with different colours, each colour reflecting a different role. The six different hats are as following.


White Hat

The moment you wear this hat, metaphorically speaking of course, you will be focusing on the available data - any past records, trends, etc - and analyze then learn something from it. Look for a gap or some hole in your knowledge and either fill it or do something about it.


Red Hat

When you put on this hat you will start looking for problems, hence being red. You will also need to think about how others could react to your arguments emotionally, so try to fully understand the responses of others who do not agree with you.


Black Hat

By using this way of thinking, you start looking at the negative outcomes of your decision. Try to look for scenarios where it might not work. This is quite essential actually.

You see, if you avoid this, you might be in a big problem. This is something you need to do in order to strengthen your plan, you need to highlight the weaknesses before executing and find a solution to the problem.

You need to thank the Black Hat. It is the reason why your plan is resilient and tougher. It can help you stumble upon some flaws and risks before jumping on any course of action. Resolve your difficulties at the beginning before it’s too late


Yellow Hat

Think positive! Indeed, this hat exists so that you start thinking positively about any decision you take by thinking optimistically of all the benefits of that decision and the value in it. It always gets your back when everything is gloomy and difficult.


Green Hat

It is time to get creative. This is where you start developing some “irrational” solutions to a problem where there is no space for criticism of ideas.


Blue Hat

This is where the leader comes to place. He or she is the one that will be wearing this hat, not necessarily though. He or she processes the control of hats and alternates between them according to the situation.

For example, when facing difficulties in finding some ideas or that the original ideas are running dry, the green hat is summoned and when it is important to look for flaws due to some skepticism, the black hat is summoned.


Written by - Eyad Aoun

Edited by – Adrija Saha

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