Six Thinking Hats

Creative Techniques for Creative People - Six Thinking Hats

What is the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ Creative Technique?

‘Six Thinking Hats’ is a technique for creative thinking that can be used to manage any creative thinking process.

In Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats technique, the essential activities of the creative process are described in a series of six steps, represented by six coloured ‘thinking hats’.

  • The development of creative poetic and visual work requires an information gathering stage (e.g. specific and general ideas) which is represented by the white hat.
  • The use of Glanside creative thinking techniques is represented by the green hat.
  • The response to the creative ideas, themes and ‘points-of-departure’ that flow from the creative process are covered by the red, yellow and black hats.
  • The management of the whole process – deciding which thinking hat to use next – is itself denoted by the blue hat.

The artistic response to the ideas derived from the green hat Glanside Creative Thinking Techniques falls into three categories:

  1. Those which are positive ways forward given the creative objectives you have set yourself.
  2. Those which are negative ways forward – and could waste a lot of time – given the creative objectives you have set yourself.
  3. And – most importantly – your overall emotional response towards the ideas and themes (points-of-departure) you have identified.

How does ‘Six Thinking Hats’ work?

The Six Thinking Hats technique is used in the form of a series of steps that are taken according to the developing needs of the Glanside creative process.

Each step is characterised by a different colour of imaginary ‘thinking cap’ that you put on.

Each colour of thinking cap denotes the thinking processes that need to be applied at that point in the Glanside creative process.

There is no defined order to the use of the Six Thinking Hats. You employ each thinking hat according to the need.

Creative Techniques for Creative People - Six Thinking Hats

The Blue Thinking Hat is the hat for managing the creative process – i.e thinking through the thinking process (the ‘creative hat’) that will be required next.

Creative Techniques for Creative People - Six Thinking Hats

The Green Thinking Hat is the actual creative step. This is the ‘Glanside’ – the Creative Technique you choose to apply to provide the creative glance sideways – and exactly how you are going to apply that technique. ‘Green Thinking’ also includes the ‘points-of-departure’ you choose to take forward from the output of the creative technique used. It also includes the further creative processes (i.e. the ‘forwards thinking’ and ‘sideways thinking’ processes) you use to develop your written passages or sketches from each of the identified points-of-departure you have chosen to work with.

Creative Techniques for Creative People - Six Thinking Hats

The White Thinking Hat is the ‘information hat’. This is the hat you wear when you are searching for information to drive  – or support – the creative process.

High quality creative thinking is always supported by an ‘information rich’ approach to the specific ideas you start with – and the general ideas you are going to combine with your specific ideas  – in order to find a new creative direction (i.e. idea/theme/point-of-departure).

Creative Techniques for Creative People - Six Thinking Hats

The Red Hat is the ‘feeling hat’. From the Glanside creative process you will have established new creative directions (i.e. points-of-departure) in which you could take your work. In choosing the creative direction to follow, it is vital to assess your emotional reaction (i.e. your feelings) towards the poetic or artistic ideas you have identified and started to develop. Your feelings towards an idea – and/or how that idea is developing – are enormously important in the creative process.  Creativity should always respond to an artistic objective.  Your feelings are key indicators as to whether your artistic objective is being met.

Creative Techniques for Creative People - Six Thinking Hats

The Yellow and Black Thinking Hats are logical thinking hats.

There is a ‘serendipity’ side to creativity.  When things just seem to ‘fall-in-to-place’ you know that the creative direction is sound.  These are the ‘positive characteristics’ of any idea.

The Yellow Hat is worn when considering these positive characteristics of the creative ideas/themes/points-of-departure that you have identified.

Creative Techniques for Creative People - Six Thinking Hats

The Yellow and Black Thinking Hats are logical thinking hats.  

The Black Hat is worn when considering the negative characteristics of the creative ideas/themes/points-of-departure that you have identified.

Applied Glanside

The Applied Glanside section of this website offers examples of creative works developed using the range of Glanside Thinking-for-Creativity techniques.