Problem-solving and brainstorming technique
The basic premise behind the Six Thinking Hats is that most people think and reason in a specific way based on their personality type. This means that a more emotional person may generate ideas differently than a more analytical person, and vice-versa. Similarly, a pessimist will approach a situation very differently than an optimist.
The Six Thinking Hats technique provides a systematic solution to sharing and improving ideas by eliminating idea-destructive elements.
The Six Thinking Hats technique can be used to help a team facing difficulties by inviting people into the discussion who represent a cross-section of instinctive ways of thinking. The process and methodology allow emotion and skepticism to be brought into what might normally be a purely rational process, and it opens up the opportunity for creativity within decision making.
Decisions made using the Six Thinking Hats technique can be more resilient and based on a holistic perspective, allowing you to avoid pitfalls and gaps before you have committed to a decision.
Five different ways of reacting to a problematic situation
Edward de Bono developed his method from an observation of the different ways of reacting to a problematic situation. He identified five:
The pragmatist person - This is someone who will primarily refer to concrete and objective reality. To the figures, to the law, to the regulations, to the observable course of events. What is it about?
The creative person - He is the bearer of solutions. Creative is not taken in the artistic or advertising sense, but in the imaginative sense. The one who thinks first of alternatives. What if we did this?
The negative person - This is the devil's advocate, the bearer of "buts". He is therefore also the cautious one, who urges us not to rush headlong into solutions that are not solutions, or not to settle for unsatisfactory situations, and who argues. It won't work because…
The positive person - This is the opposite of the previous one. The one who first sees the assets, the strong points; who gives off enthusiasm in favour, and who also argues. It will work because…
The emotional person - The one who reacts first with his gut, his feeling, his intuition. His sixth sense. Without thinking or arguing. I think it's great! Or: I don't believe it!
Everyone reacts in these five ways depending on the moment or the situation, that's normal.
But if we let our first voice - that little inner voice that reacts in crisis situations - there is a great risk of obtaining a fruitless cacophony that does not lead to a decision. One person proposes a solution, which others reject rationally or intuitively, in order to come up with another solution that will not even be examined... If these different ways of thinking are natural and necessary, their coexistence is not productive. Each way of thinking will pollute the others.
The method imagined by de Bono is very simple: rather than thinking in these different ways at the same time, let's dissociate them: everyone will be invited to think in the same way at the same time.
Everyone will wear the same hat at the same time, so that our angles of thinking are simultaneously aligned.