Turn a Good Idea Into a Great One With the ‘Six Thinking Hats’

Turn a Good Idea Into a Great One With the ‘Six Thinking Hats’


One of my most life-changing moments took
place back in college: I was giving a presentation on a product I had been developing over the
semester, and midway through my talk, the professor interrupted with a question that
caught me off guard: “Can we see the other concepts you worked on?” My face turned red. The answer was no, because I didn’t have
any. I was presenting the only idea I had worked
on, because I thought it was great. The instructor was less than impressed. Walking out of the classroom a little while
later, I looked down at notes my instructor had left for me on my assignment. There, scribbled in red pen, were instructions
that would fundamentally change how I approach my ideas: “Research the Six Thinking Hats
Method.” Six Thinking Hats is a system designed in
the 1980s by the psychologist and inventor Edward de Bono. The process involves wearing different imaginary
“hats,” which represent different mindsets and emotions, allowing people to look at an
idea from various angles with a different focus each time. “The main difficulty of thinking is confusion,”
de Bono has said. “We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity
all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.” Originally developed as a way to make meetings
more productive, Six Thinking Hats has since been adopted by the creative world as a way
to critique ideas. The method allows you to be creative and bold
in a safe space, while forcing you to also be honest and realistic. While you can use it in meetings, I like to
use it on my own — I think of it as having a personal team of consultants, each with
their own expertise. But in this case, they’re all living inside
my brain. The Six Thinking Hats are as follows:
The Blue Hat, also known as the Management Hat, is used at the start of the conversation
to define the outlines of an idea, and at the end to summarize and draw conclusions. With this hat, you’re stepping back and
getting the 10,000-foot-view of your idea, getting a sense of what to look at during
and after the critique. Next comes the White Hat. When wearing this hat, you are looking for
facts and data. This should be the first hat you use after
setting your outline, as it allows you to establish relevant facts and information about
your idea. Ask yourself: What is the concept, in its
basic form? What is its purpose? Who does it serve? You should also use this hat to discover any
gaps in your knowledge and understanding of your concept. The Yellow Hat brings a bit of positivity,
and establishes the value of what you’re working on. Ask yourself: What is great about your idea? What benefits would it bring? Remember to keep your enthusiasm in check,
though. Look for the true value in the concept, and
keep expectations realistic. The Red Hat comes next. This is where you can get a little emotional. With this hat on, you’re looking for the
emotive response you get from your idea. Ask yourself: How does this make me feel? What is my reaction when I first see this
idea? Then think outside yourself — what would
a user’s reaction be, if they had never seen it before? Now, we flip things upside down and get ruthlessly
negative with the Black Hat. Ask yourself: Why wouldn’t your idea work? What are the issues and flaws? What are the drawbacks? By uncovering the potential problems, you
can remove them and develop a stronger concept. Be careful not to bring in this hat too early
in the discussions, as it can hinder any positive ideas that may come up. It’s time to let your mind off the leash
with the Green Hat. Now that you’re aware of potential issues
and flaws, how are you going to work through them? Ask yourself: What can you improve? What can be reiterated? Or is there a completely fresh idea forming
in your head? If so, what is it? This is where you can get creative and begin
fresh brainstorming. Use everything you have gained from the exercise
to begin developing new ideas and directions. The day I learned about the Six Thinking Hats
was the day I learned an important, if uncomfortable lesson: Even if you’re amped about an idea
— even if you’ve run through it in your head a hundred times, sketched out a logo,
and prepared to release it to wild acclaim — that idea may still suck. Or at the very least, it may need to be seriously
refined. When you hold on too tightly to your original
concept, because of your pride or your ego, it blinds you to the possibilities ahead. The Six Thinking Hats can transform your idea
from something mediocre to something good, and from something good to something that
could change your life.

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19 thoughts on “Turn a Good Idea Into a Great One With the ‘Six Thinking Hats’”

  • This is most certainly a video that I put into my 'Keys to Success' playlist. I've never heard of this before and now I'll never forget it.

  • Some NOTES here

    THINKING HATS: Meaning wear imaginary hats which represent different mindset or emotions to look at an idea from various angles with a different focus.
    1. MANAGEMENT HAT: This is used to define idea outlines at the start and at the end to draw conclusion. With this hat you are stepping back & showing you what to look after the critique.
    2. WHITE HAT: This is about facts & data. It helps you establish relevant facts information about your idea. Ask yourself What is the concern in its basic form, What is its purpose, who does it serve.
    3. YELLOW HAT: This bring positivity & value which establishes the value of what you working on. Ask yourself What is great about your idea, what benefits would it bring
    4. RED HAT: With this you get little emotional. Ask yourself How does this make me feel, What is my reaction when I first see this idea.
    5. BLACK HAT: This bring negativity to your mind. Ask yourself Why wouldn’t your idea work, What are the issues and flaws, what are the drawbacks. Don’t bring this hat too early in the discussion.
    6. GREEN HAT: This bring creativity in your mind. Ask yourself What can you improve, what can be reiterated, is there a completely fresh idea forming in your head.

    My passion is to share summaries like started doing it on my channel with PDF summaries ✌
    Let's make these six hats part of our thinking to grow from mediocre to something big 🙌

  • What a great idea.. I often use the 4MAT learning model in my videos! But this one might be even better..

  • Great video bringing up a method I never thought about. I went through ,most of the “Six Hats” process unaware. This method brings much needed discipline in evaluating an idea.
    However, the teacher’s question seems not in line with the rest of the content. She asked for “the other concepts”. Not six and different, in my understanding.
    This is about a method elaborating an unique idea with a number of approaches. Not about identifying different other ideas (assuming the word “concept” stays for “ideas”).

  • Fuck the hats improve your come backs..
    'what are some of the other concept's you've been working on'
    'been polishing one diamond rather than 7 turds'

  • Thank you for this ! It's cool to see an idea put down into words, and now even cooler to see the words transformed into this visual piece.

  • I'm just going to begin work on a lot of ideas both for extra curriculars and academic work. I have several seminars and presentations to give which will be important for my final grades and this video came at the right time!

  • Thank you so much for making this video! I want to apply the thinking hats to each video I make and see if I can improve them and results on my channel! Keep making these videos, they are very helpful!