Divergent thinking exercise
Developed by Edward de Bono, Six Hats is a method that provides direction for decision-making by building off the common notion of “putting on your thinking cap.” de Bono has developed six different “hats” that each focus on thinking in one particular direction (feelings, judgment, creativity, process, optimism, and facts).
Practicing this widely used divergent thinking method will help you learn how to separate thinking into 6 clear functions and roles. Try it out for yourself what approaching an issue from different perspectives mean!
Brief summary of the overall task
- Have a pen and paper or screen
- Think about a problem or challenge that you face at school and examine the situation from 6 different perspectives!
- Write down as many ideas as you can. Go crazy, there are no bad ideas!
- White hat (facts) Calls for information known or needed. “The facts, just the facts.”
- Yellow hat (optimism) Symbolizes brightness and optimism. You explore the positives and probe for value and benefit.
- Black hat (judgment) Is judgment — the devil’s advocate or why something may not work. Spot the difficulties and dangers; where things might go wrong.
- Red hat (intuition) Signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. You can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates.
- Green hat (creativity) Focuses on creativity; the possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas. It’s an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.
- Blue hat ( process) Is used to manage the thinking process. It’s the control mechanism.
- Which problems do you want to observe from different angles?
- Where do you need the hats the most?
Groups of any size or a solo activity. Pick a topic and then analyse it using the 6 thinking hats.
The moderator measures the time during the activity and appoints the hats to 6 participants. In the end read out loud your answers wearing the different hats. The more different those perspective are, the more you can think in divergent ways.
Time and schedule
- 5 minute for each hat
- 5 minute overall evaluation