By Dennis Mellersh
In his book Six Thinking Hats, Edward de Bono suggests that if we want to be more creative in our thinking, then we need to consider using six different approaches in our thinking process.
When we have a variety of thinking methods to choose from we can eliminate the chief roadblock to creative thinking, namely confusion, de Bono says.
Describing thinking as “the ultimate human resource, de Bono says, “The main difficulty of thinking is confusion. We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope and creativity all crowd in on us…”
“…What I am putting forward in this book is a very simple concept which allows a thinker to do one thing at a time…[to be] able to separate emotion from logic, creativity from information, and so on. The concept is that of the six thinking hats.”(1)
Here are the six different types of thinking, de Bono suggests, represented by thinking hats, each with a different color:
White hat: concerned with objective facts and figures
Red hat: takes the emotional view
Yellow hat: optimistic and covers hope and positive thinking
Green hat: indicates creativity and new ideas
Blue hat: concerned with control and the organization of the thinking process
The book features:
(a) Seven introductory explanatory chapters on the overall thinking process and the concept of using six different thinking methods;
(b) Sections specifically devoted to each type of thinking, or hat, and;
(c) It concludes with a summary or highlights of each type of thinking.
De Bono believes that, in the West, there has been far too much emphasis on a single approach to problem solving, namely critical thinking: “The Western habit of argument and dialectic is defective because it leaves out the generative and creative. Critical thinking is fine for reacting to what is put before you, but does nothing to produce proposals.”
(1) Edward de Bono, Six Thinking Hats, Penguin Books, 1987, 207 pages