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Six Thinking Hats

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Six Thinking Hats
Anngellet Jones
Dallas Baptist University
Creative Problem Solving/Marketing Decisions
MRKT 6301
Professor Toni McNutt
November 2, 2012

Six Thinking Hats
Introduction
Six Thinking Hats, is authored by Edward de Bono. Mr. de Bono comes from a well-educated family from Malta. De Bono’s parents were Joseph and Josephine de Bono. Mr. de Bono graduated at the age of 15, and was nicknamed genius. Mr. de Bono has several degrees, including a couple of doctorates. Mr. de Bono is a physician, author, inventor, and a consultant. The phase lateral thinking as a term was introduced by Mr. de Bono. Mr. de Bono is widely known for his development of lateral thinking as a skill. De Bono used his medical experience as his inspiration for understanding the brain as a self-organizing system, which allowed de Bono to create practical tools for thinking (Powell, 2007). Mr. de Bono is an activist for teaching lateral thinking as a subject in schools.
Development of Lateral Thinking
The development of Mr. de Bono’s theory was a result of his path from medicine during the 1960’s. Mr. de Bono’s path lead to the use of a system for solving health problem but related it to the thinking process, but more specifically creativity thinking. Mr. de Bono’s was researching the glands and kidney system at the time of developing the thinking process as a result of recognizing they were self-organizing glands. Mr. de Bono related his research of the self-organizing systems to the brain. Mr. de Bono figured if tools could be created to train a person to think then anyone could be creative (Bailey, 2007).
Mr. de Bono was very interested in letting the world know about his theory. Methods used to let others know about the lateral thinking were presented through goals of getting it across social, educational, and cultural barriers. Mr. de Bono has written over 70 books that have been translated into at least 40 other languages. A school for lateral thinking has been created as a result of his efforts to teach others of the skill of lateral thinking.
The Six Thinking Hats
Six Thinking Hats, one of the many books authored by Mr. de Bono is a technique used by some of the most successful business leaders. The technique of the Six Thinking Hats can be used for both individual and group discussion thinking. Parallel thinking is the main idea of the technique providing the group an opportunity to use planned thinking to gain better results from collective thinking. The Mr. de Bono technique is designed to be used with any type of group; however it has been most successful in the business arena.
The purpose of the Six Thinking Hats is being to discuss a creative problem solving process that is useful in reducing time, avoiding the fluctuation of freely expressing ones opinion, and ending with making a final decision De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats has two main purposes, (1) to simplify the thinking process and to focus on one thing at a time, (2) to allow switch in thinking (1985, p. 172). de Bono’s systematic approaches are based on the human behavior (1985, p. 175). Mr. de Bono wanted to use hat because it was something could actually be visualized being changed. The hats are directions and not a description. Using the hats should be focused on a person to think in a specific direction. The colors are associated with the function of a specific hat.
Using of the hats is for two basic reasons, either to solve a problem or select a type of thinking. The book asks you to image the white hat as a computer or a printed out sheet of paper with information. The hat is used as the hat of information mainly used at the being of session or meeting. The information is just presented without any additional behavior to go along with it. The entire focus of using the hat is to get information whether it is facts or figures. (de Bono, 1985, pg 13)
Thinking using the red hat describes emotions and feelings. Red hat thinking is considered the opposite of white hat thinking where you are allowed to express your feelings and emotions without being judged. The red hat is there to allow a thinker to express the feelings that generally would be held back because of what others might think. Intuition and hunches are included in the red hat thinking. (de Bono, 1985, pg 13)
Black hat thinking is considered the most useful hat of all. It can be frowned upon as a negative hat, but he the black hat thinking allows for caution. “Labeled also as the devil’s advocate,” black hat thinking such as the world with its presumption. The black hat thinking is to prevent us from making obvious mistakes. Using black hat thinking can be a risk assessment. ; pulling information from previous experience to make the correct assessment of the risk. (de Bono, 1985, pg 13)
Yellow hat thinking is the positive aspect of thinking in this technique. The direction of the yellow hat thinking is to allow people the choice to be positive. Wearing this hat should be used to seeking out the positive aspect of the situation or circumstances. Going in the direction of the benefits and accomplishing a goal. (de Bono, 1985, pg 13)
Green hat thinking is representative of growth. The direction of green hat thinking fosters the thinkers to come up with new ideas. Green hat thinking lays out the potential of what is expected. The green hat thinker has an opportunity to create new ways of doing thing already being done. (de Bono, 1985, pg 13)
Last, but certainly not least of the six hats are the blue hat. Blue hat thinking is considered to be the control hat. The blue hat takes all the information from the other thinking hats and processes it into a final decision. Possibly the blue hat could determine that additional work is needed before moving to the next phase. Blue hat thinking is considered to be the cool, calm and organizing hat. (de Bono, 1985, pg 14)
Critique
The process of the thinking hats seems to be effective to me. Six Thinking Hats, has been known to solve problems quickly after being implemented. There were several examples of how the six thinkings were used in the book. The hats can be used to make many types of decision. Here is one specific example from the book where a man and his wife needing to make a real estate decision. The man reads a write up in a newspaper article about the Six Thinking Hat’s. The couple was able to make a decision within ten minutes that was pleasing to the both of them. (De Bono, 1985, p. 170). A good example of personal usage.
The process is good that it allows for a group of people to think all in the same direction at once. As the book mentioned using the method it is good to remember the colors and hats function will follow. You can also pair the hats into three different pairs. Remember to always refer the the color of the hat because you may not get an honest answer, for example if you ask for an emotional reaction. The person may hold back their honest feeling in fear of what others will think.
There does not seem to be anything missing from the process of the method. Mr. de Bono has done a great job in designing and executing the lateral thinking movement. The success is demonstrated in the fact that the method is widely known both nationally and internationally. Many organizations have adopted the method in helping their business be successful. For example, Robert Rawlinson the CEO of the de Bono Foundation in the UK has created a mission to us the lateral thinking designed by Mr. de Bono to help organizations increase constructive and creative thinking to improve performance and productivity (2007).
Personal Application
The method applies in different usages, both personal and business. ; As mentioned before Mr. de Bono was interested in teaching the method in the educational system. Teaching people to think should be a class, I would agree. With the educational system that we currently have in America kids are being taught to pass tests and not to use the nature skills given. The Six Thinking Hats affects business by allowing the hats to make the decisions. The hats allow for everyone involved to make a contribution in the process without being judged or looked at negatively.
Using the six hat thinking method can be used for both personal and business purposes. I see how I can use the six thinking hats in my family. Dealing with 4 very different personalities, two adults and two children using the hats could make it easier to discuss issues that need to be addressed. As the hats relate to my family teaching my daughters to know how to address their father and I on any issue they could approach us stating, dad and mom I need you to remove the red hat and put on your yellow hat about this specific situation. We could also, let them know please use your black hat thinking before approaching us because we are always black hat thinking when it comes to your safety.
As I graduate in May of 2013, with my MBA, with a concentration in Entrepreneurship I see how this method could be very useful. Having a start up company makes it easier to implement a method such as the six hats thinking. Introducing it to the group of people that will be the management as we have the initial meeting and stating this will be the method used to conduct all of our meetings makes it easier encourage it as a company culture. I hope using this method will help my new company be successful and the decision making process a lot easier.
To conclude this was a very interesting book. I would have never even have heard of this method of discussing make without this opportunity to redo my assignment. Mr. de Bono has a great ideal of teaching people to think, and again I believe that children should be taught how to think along with the other necessary educational need. Thinking both vertical and lateral is necessary to make it. There is more than one way to solve a problem and using the Six Hats Thining methods helps everyone see it clearer.

Reference
De Bono, E. (1999) Revised and Update, Six Thinking Hats
Powell, S. (2007). Spotlight on Edward de Bono. Management Decision, 45(6), 1058-1063. doi:10.1108/00251740710762080
Bailey, J. (2007). Profile: Edward de Bono. Engineering Management, 17(5), 46-47. doi:10.1049/em:20070514
Rawlinson, R. (2007). Think laterally for success. (cover story). Manager: British Journal Of Administrative Management, (60), 10-11
Hannon, V. (2009). 'Get creative and get your business through the crisis.'. Coaching At Work, 4(2), 8.

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