Six Thinking Hats

Six thinking hats1 is one of the most well-known tools for creative thinking, with some evidence that it can help to generate richer, more creative solutions to problems2.

The idea is to take six different views of your challenge to produce a more complete and creative understanding of it. The coloured hats symbolize the different viewpoints and  ‘putting on the hat’ helps the team (or individual if you are doing this individually) to get into the different ways of thinking about the challenge.

Quick Tip for teams and individuals

(1 hour - or less if you choose only a couple of hats or spend less time on them)

  1. Express the challenge you are facing as a question inviting a solution.
  2. Use some or all of the hats in turn to take a different perspective on an issue. (Having an explicit and challenging target for the number of ideas you want produces more creative solutions. So whether you are doing this on your own or with a team, set a target eg: ‘Use this hat's thinking style to come up with 20 thoughts about the question in 10 minutes.’)
  3. When you have put on as many hats as you want to, follow the convergent thinking process to review all the material, and then select the best with the select the best solution process.


1Six Thinking Hats, de Bono, Penguin Life 2016

See Vernon et al An evidence-based review of creative problem solving tools: A practitioner’s resource; Human Resource Development Review 2016, Vol 15(2) 230 - 259