Creative Thinking in Business Part 4

88The 6 Thinking Hats Game

This is a technique developed by Edward De Bono, a designer of constructive and conceptual thinking methods.

Six coloured hats are used to symbolise different thinking emotions or direction.

White hat- Information, data

Red hat –intuition, emotion

Black hat -Negative, cautious

Yellow hat –benefits and advantages

Green hat –creativity, alternatives

Blue hat -process review

In ordinary, unstructured thinking, people move from critical thinking to optimistic in response to what is happening, without structure. This technique introduces parallel thinking, everyone has the same agenda at a given point.

So a meeting may begin with everyone metaphorically wearing the Blue hat to consider how the meeting will be conducted, and to decide objectives. The group then moves to Red hat mode, to collect opinions and reactions.

Then everyone adopts the Yellow hat to consider the benefits, then the Green hat to generate ideas and solutions. White hat thinking allows information to be considered and finally Black hat thinking is used to develop criticisms of the proposed solution.

Or the group might plan the first few hats then the facilitator will see what seems to be the best direction to move.

Another way of using the technique is to allocate a particular hat to each of six people in a discussion. The person wearing the white hat has all the data, the person wearing the Black hat has to put forward arguments against the proposal, while the yellow hat must propose arguments for the proposal.

This can be illuminating if the Black hat is given to someone known to be for the proposal, and the yellow to someone known to be against. This can force people to re -evaluate their stance, once they start to think differently

Blue sky thinking

Blue sky thinking is usually used to describe a session held by a team who are looking for visionary ideas “What if we could do anything?” There are no clouds, the sky is completely clear blue.

There will be a group of people looking at an opportunity with fresh eyes .They may be seeking the successful resolution of a serious and urgent business problem, or looking for ways forward for a company. In the latter case the session may be part of the development of the company’s forward strategy.

Or the question might be “if anything was possible, what product or service would we offer to our clients “. Ideas would be thrown out without regard for any existing problems or issues, such as lack of cash or ability, technological problems, competitors etc.

So creative ideas are not limited by current thinking or beliefs, there are no preconceptions, no obstacles, ideas may be suggested that may have no immediate application. As many ideas as possible are generated in a session where no ideas are rejected. They may be in the realms of fantasy, involve a quantum leap, or be a dream wish

The idea being that once you know what you would love to achieve, then you can start to solve the individual issues that prevent you from getting to your goal. You can bring the idea into the realms of possibility, grab the essence of it and try to use it to find a real solution.

So, although creative thinking techniques may sometimes look a bit strange, you can see that there are sound principles behind them. Even if you are a little sceptical about their potential, approach them with an open mind and prepare to be surprised and delighted.