Six Thinking Hats: An Innovation Tool for Group Discussion & Parallel Thinking - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Six Thinking Hats: An Innovation Tool for Group Discussion & Parallel Thinking

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Six Thinking Hats: An Innovation Tool for Group Discussion & Parallel Thinking

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  1. Six Thinking Hats: An Innovation Tool for Group Discussion & Parallel Thinking Jan McNally Corporate Director, Leadership Development Covenant Health

  2. Six Thinking Hats • Method used for parallel thinking devised by Dr. Edward De Bono • Physician, Ph.D • Degrees in psychology and physiology • Rhodes Scholar • Major clients: IBM, Du Pont, Prudential, British Airways, AT & T, Siemens

  3. Parallel Thinking • Concept introduced by Dr. De Bono • Traditional thinking: analysis, judgment and argument (Think the Big 3: Aristotle, Plato and Socrates) • Parallel thinking: constructive, creative

  4. Parallel Thinking • Extremely broad application: • Schools – 5 year olds in Argentina to senior science students in Malaysia • Business – major corporations such as Microsoft • Armed Services – Royal British Navy • Multi-cultural – Europe, Asia, Americas, Australia

  5. Six Thinking Hats Method: Practical Ways of Using Parallel Thinking • Specifically, what is Parallel Thinking? • An alternative to arguing • 2 or more people explore a subject from all sides of the issue, in tandem or cooperatively, instead of arguing against the others’ points • A method to unbundle our thinking • All focus in the same direction at the same time


  6. What are the Benefits of Using the Six Thinking Hats? • Works – see results immediately • Simple to learn, use and implement • Not dependent on others • Modifies behavior without attacking it • Empowers and can be used at all levels • Reduces conflict • Enhances quality of thinking

  7. How Does It Work? • Each of the Six Thinking Hats has a color as its name • The color helps us to remember what a hat stands for • All participants ‘put on’ the same color hat simultaneously and focus their thinking on the subject using the characteristics of that hat, and that hat only

  8. So, What Are Those Six Hats?

  9. Hats in Pairs • White and Red • Black and Yellow • Green and Blue

  10. Two Uses For The Hats • Single Use • when there is a need for everyone in the group to focus their thinking on the subject wearing a single hat

  11. Examples Of Single Use Of The Hats • Green Hat thinking to generate some fresh ideas or solutions • Black Hat thinking to identify the possible pitfalls with what seems like a brilliant new idea • Yellow Hat thinking to get people to focus on looking for values in an idea (usually harder to find benefits than dangers in a new idea)

  12. Sequence Use Of The Hats • Evolving – sequence ‘evolves’ depending on the output of each hat; recommended only for experienced, trained facilitators • Preset – established at the beginning of the session, under an initial blue hat, often worn by a facilitator

  13. Ground Rules for Participants • Follow the lead of the Six Hat Facilitator • Stick to the hat (type thinking) that is in current use • Try to stay within the planned time limits • Contribute honestly and fully under each of the hats

  14. Facilitator Role • Define & clarify the focus of the team thinking • Plan the sequence and timing of each ‘hat’, or thinking step • Manage requests from the group for changes in sequence • Form periodic summaries of the thinking for the team

  15. Blue Hat Always Begins And Ends… • Blue Hat should always be used at the beginning and the end • First Blue Hat – sets the stage: why, what, desired outcomes, plan for sequence of hats • Second Blue Hat – what was achieved, outcomes, next steps, etc.

  16. Tips & Techniques • Red Hat may be used first, after first Blue Hat, when there are strong feelings on the subject already • In an assessment situation, put the Yellow Hat before the Black: if can’t find much value, no sense in going further • Using Black after Yellow – if you’ve seen lots of value, easier to work to overcome obstacles identified

  17. More Tips… • Most valuable in group discussions although can be used individually • May want to do ‘silent thinking’ for 2 minutes before having participants share ideas aloud • Call on those who are not speaking up • Use the Six Hats in reports from a group on identified topics

  18. Summary • Not just another gimmick • Represents a fundamental shift away from basic principles of Western thinking: argument and a focus on defending our current beliefs and ideas versus generating or considering and evaluating new ideas or points of view

  19. Cautions • Do not use method as a way to label people: “Black Hat” person • Do not assign a hat only to an individual – see above • There is no one right sequence to use • Always refer to the hats by their color, never by their function

  20. Six Thinking Hats Exercise

  21. You are the leadership team of a mid-size Tennessee company that is only 5 years old • Your company has been highly successful in identifying a niche market • You provide secure, highly reliable, reasonably priced, on-site services to owners of home computers and mobile devices

  22. You specialize in new equipment set-up, troubleshooting, maintenance and repair of existing equipment and software • You have leveraged your success in working with the “Low-Tech. High-Need Customer” to grow your business profitably in the last 2 years

  23. Your leadership team is evaluating the idea of partnering with TNCPE, using the Baldrige Criteria, in your quest to achieve the highest levels of performance excellence for your company • Your CEO has read a lot about what value this could bring to the company but is fairly naive about what it might entail

  24. There are mixed reactions among the senior team members, some of whom never heard of TNCPE, or Baldrige, and others who are very knowledgeable and even served as Examiners at their previous company

  25. Assignment • Blue Hat – Facilitator We will use the Six Thinking Hats method to formulate your recommendations to your CEO regarding his proposal to partner with the TNCPE and begin using the Baldrige Criteria to improve your company’s performance

  26. Sequence of Hats • Participants (you!) will wear the Red Hat first and share all of your intuitions and feelings/emotions about what this might mean for your company • Next, you will wear the Yellow Hatand share all the logical positive ways this could bring value and benefits for your company

  27. Sequence of Hats • Next, you will don the Black Hat and brainstorm all the possible cautions, problems, reasons you should not do this, or that it wouldn’t be good for your company at this time

  28. Blue Hat again… • Blue Hat – audience volunteer participant will summarize the discussion for presenting to the boss and next steps