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Six Thinking Hats: A role-playing model to successful decision making - SAFETY4SEA

They openly acknowledge that a piece of evidence can be misleading. They, instead wait for all the facts to be presented before reaching a conclusion. It collects this evidence to help the other thinking hats work through the problem more effectively. The white hat must, however, avoid making conclusions or judgments about the information it has collected.

What is the Six Thinking Hats model?

Jumping to conclusions or making unjustified assumption could potentially derail the problem-solving process. This is designed to help open new avenues for brainstorming possible solutions. These facts are based on questions that address the what, when, where, and how of problem-solving.


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In the realm of white hat thinking, there are no beliefs or opinions, there are just solid concrete facts and evidence. These facts, therefore, take precedence over everything else. Through its exposition of key facts and data, the white hat goes to work unlocking valuable titbits of information about the problem.

Its key objective is to bring forth a set of logical, but neutral solutions that will help stimulate further thinking and exploration. All this, of course, sets the foundations for the reflective thinking that is about to take place. How will I go about acquiring the facts, stats and data that will help me resolve this problem? What potential solutions exist based on the facts, stats, and data I have collected?

Additional questions that you formulate by yourself should take into account each of the roles and objectives that are critical to the mindset of a white hat thinker. An effective problem solver needs a means of intuitively making sense of each problem and the possible solutions that could arise. Moreover, they must have a method for adequately filtering out any preconceived biases that may sway their intuitive feelings and opinions. We will then conclude with a set of questions that can help you to think through your problems in intuitive ways. A heart is a very intuitive organ that senses subtle changes in feeling and emotion when circumstances change.

In precisely the same way, a red hat brings to light its intuitive feelings and opinions to help guide the problem-solving process. It intuitively presents effective solutions and direction for further action based on its personal feelings and hunches. The red hat must, however, avoid rationalizing or trying to justify its feelings. There is no logic here. It must primarily follow its gut instinct. Throughout the problem-solving process, the red hat has a set of predefined objectives that it seeks to accomplish. Our feelings are very interesting and somewhat mysterious chemical processes that stimulate mental activity in the brain.

When they are pure and removed from personal emotion and bias, they can lead us in unexpected directions towards solutions we logically would never have considered. They then intuitively relate that back to the problem at hand. The red hat can, however, be swayed by their emotional tendencies. They often seek an emotional understanding of the problem, and, therefore, bring to mind solutions based on their unconscious emotional tendencies.

However, when the red hat is in-tune with their feelings, that is when they truly shine. For instance, sometimes ideas and potential solutions to problems may seem weak and somewhat impractical at first. However, if the red hat intuitively brings to mind a plan that it feels should be pursued, then this naturally should open the door to further discussion and an exploration of opportunities.


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  6. By giving this new idea its deserved attention, you are now expanding possibilities that you may never have considered before. These gaps may need to be addressed to solve the problem under question. The red hat is, however, no shaman or prophet. Its natural tendencies and decisions may, therefore, indirectly reveal subtle internal conflicts that boil up within its psyche.

    It must bring these conflicts to the surface before a final decision is reached. What are my feelings telling me about the choice I am about to make? Based on my feelings, is there a better way to go about this? Additional questions that you formulate by yourself should take into account each of the roles and objectives that are critical to the mindset of a red hat thinker. An effective problem solver needs a means of proactively identifying the pitfalls, dangers, and flaws of possible solutions. We will then conclude with a set of questions that can help you to think through your problems more critically and realistically.

    A Reaper is a mythical creature who brings death and destruction to the living. Yes, its nature is dark and gloomy, however, as with everything in life, it has a purpose and plays a critical role in the cycle of life. In precisely the same way a black hat is pessimistic and gloomy in nature.

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    It always seeking to pinpoint holes, flaws, weaknesses, and dangers in ideas. Sharing these grim scenarios helps the other hats put in place suitable contingency plans to overcome likely problems.

    Summary of the 6 Hats by De Bono. Abstract

    The black hat must, however, avoid bringing to mind personal biases that are tinged with fear, jealousy, anger or any other harmful emotions that may impede a solution or magnify the problem. Throughout the problem-solving process, the black hat has a set of predefined objectives that it seeks to accomplish. Every solution you come up with may seem wonderful on the surface. However, below the surface, it could be riddled with dangers. The black hat excels at finding fatal flaws in potential plans and solutions before you jump headfirst into a pool filled with hungry sharks.

    It will also bring to mind the various resources that you will likely need to accomplish your objective. These resources could include skills, knowledge, support, and time. If the solution you are aiming for requires key resources you are sorely lacking, then the black hat will make you aware of these inadequacies. Once these weaknesses have been brought to light, that is when the yellow hat takes over.

    As a result, the black hat persistently asks itself:. What are the potential risks and consequences associated with this? Do I have the necessary resources, skills, and support to pull this off? Additional questions that you formulate by yourself should take into account each of the roles and objectives that are critical to the mindset of a black hat thinker.


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    An effective problem solver needs a means of realistically analyzing problems and bringing to light promising ideas that can help inspire effective solutions. Moreover, they need to cultivate a resilient mindset that inspires proactive action in the face of criticism and adversity. We will then conclude with a set of questions that will encourage you to think through your problems more optimistically and favorably. In exactly the same way, a yellow hat brings forth a positive, welcoming, and radiant energy that breathes life into every idea. The yellow hat seeks to infuse positive ideas into the problem-solving process that enhances motivation and opens doors to new opportunities and understandings.

    The primary role of the yellow hat is to move through the myriad of obstacles to a solution in a realistic and positive way. The yellow hat sees no boundaries or limitations and wholeheartedly believes that if there is a means, then they will find a way. The yellow hat must, however, avoid getting caught up in pessimistic thoughts. They must also avoid bringing to mind hopeful solutions based on hypothetical facts, feelings, and opinions.