6 thinking hats exercise as a way to bring evaluative thinking into team meetings

During an evaluative thinking workshop I attended 2 years ago the presenter suggested an exercise to incorporate evaluative thinking in your work: The Six Thinking Hats. The exercise gets teams members to wear different ‘hats’ and thus have the responsibility to take on a different perspective:

  • White Hat: focuses on information known or needed - the facts
  • Yellow Hat: focuses on the positive, probes for value and benefits
  • Black Hat: highlights difficulties and what things may go wrong
  • Red Hat: brings forward feelings, hunches and intuition
  • Green Hat: focuses on creativity, alternatives, new ideas
  • Blue Hat: manages and facilitates the exercise

While I like the idea of having different team members wear different hats so that there are people that intentionally approach an issue from different angles and the ability to expressly ‘switch’ hats, I have actually never tried it out. I really do want to give it a try. Anyone out there use this? If so, have you found it useful?

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I’ve seen it used for event debriefs. Everyone “wore” each hat at the same time and they went through each one. Can’t recall what the Blue Hate would have been.

I think it was helpful to facilitate and focus the discussion on the different perspectives, and to keep the conversation from really focusing on only one area.