Monthly Archives: February 2012

“Better Brainstorming: Use the Six Thinking Hats”

Article shared in it’s entirety from “The Start Up Daily” (

Volume 285

Better Brainstorming: Use the Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats method, also known as parallel thinking, is an approach to idea generation and decision making that allows a group to fully explore all sides of a problem.

It is based on the premise that the mind has distinct modes of thinking, and that when you are engaged in one mode, you become desensitized and dismissive of stimuli that is better matched to one of the other modes. Mismatched stimuli lead to confusion and missed opportunities, and is often the result of team members reverting to the mode of thinking they are most comfortable with.

Parallel Thinking Minimizes Confusion and Removes Ego from the Brainstorming Process

Unlike traditional group discussions, where each member takes opposing and often argumentative positions, parallel thinking allows the group to look at each side of a problem together. The result is a more complete and balanced view of the situation, where the best solutions often become obvious to everyone without the bruised egos.

The colored hats are a metaphor. They serve as a helpful reminder of the current mode of thinking that the group is exploring together.

  • White Hat Objective, stick to the facts
  • Red Hat Emotional, intuitive
  • Black Hat Cautious, the devil’s advocate
  • Yellow Hat Optimistic, look at the bright side
  • Green Hat Creativity, growth, and new ideas
  • Blue Hat Organizing, thinking about thinking