Six Thinking Hats

Promoted by @gragAshman’s piece entitles The Ministry of Silly Hats   that he wrote sometime in 2013 I decided to respond. I like Greg’s work and blogs which are well evidenced and often fit with my own less evidenced but feel-right views. I had mentioned on Twitter that I thought Six Hats was ok and while I know a number of other folk on Twitter disagree I have never seen any evidence to oppose. I was told that if I expected another to use the six hats system then I needed to provide the evidence. I agree. I am not directly promoting the use but I’d be happy, in an odd sort of way, for someone to show it is wrong.

I have not found any contrary evidence. My positive view comes from my own use of the process, developed by Edward de Bono. His proposition is that in the West we tend to knowcj=k ideas down; find things that are wrong with something rather than explore and seek solutions. We tend to have a reaction to an issue which is less concerned with the evidence or benefits than with whether or not an idea fits with our own current views. That seems to me to be true.

I have used Thinking Hats for quite a while and though not all my thinking by any means uses the discipline, probably I am too lazy and want a quick answer, when I do use it I feel I have better explored the issue. I probably come up with a more mellow response than I do when I just react.

A couple of points that I want to pick up from Greg’s piece.

I have never actually put on a coloured hat to identify the ‘type’ or mode of thinking. I do think that is silly. It s what might happen in The Office! I am not sure if de Bono himself actually wanted the hats to be real things.

Greg says that thinking depends on knowledge. Bit of a truism there. Who would deny that? Well ……… no, different post! Keep the focus. he implies because there is only one white hat that the status and value of knowledge is equivalent to any other hat. Not true. the white hat, meaning what knowledge do we have that might be relevant to the issue can be kept on for longer and put on more than once.

Anyway, I don’t mind being in a minority. I am not trying to get you to use Six Hats. I can’t find any research that either supports or denies that the system works. I have found it helps. perhaps that is just me. And generally, I like the work of Edward de Bono.

BUT he did write a book called Six Action Shoes. He says in the foreword to the book that he wrote in on an overnight flight from England to New Zeland. The book is unmitigated crap. It reads like a book written by someone hung over on a 24 hour plane journey!

Thanks Greg. Red, Yellow, Green, White, and Purple.

Red, Yellow, Green, White, and Purple. Might be a song there. 8-))

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