Friday, August 29, 2008
"Confusion is the biggest enemy of good thinking. We try to do too many things at the same time. We look for information. We are affected by feelings. We seek new ideas and options. We have to be cautious. We want to find benefits. Those are a lot of things that need doing.
"Juggling with six balls at the same time is rather difficult. Tossing up one ball at a time is much easier. With the Six Hats method, we try to do only one thing at a time."
That's Edward de Bono, quoted from his book Six Thinking Hats - my latest reading. The book's been around for a long time - it was first published in 1985, and revised in 1999 - but it's a new discovery for me, and I was impressed.
Although de Bono is mostly advocating the method for work in groups, he also notes that it can help an individual. The basic idea is to get everyone in a group focused on one way of thinking at a time, for a limited time period. The six hats are:
White hat: Focus on just the facts. This one reminded me of the Fair Witness in Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.
Red hat: Focus on emotions
Black hat: Focus on the negative, the possible problems
Yellow hat: Focus on the positive, the possible benefits
Green hat: Focus on new, creative ideas
The sixth hat, the blue hat, is a bit different - it's focused on thinking. What problem are we trying to solve? How is the thinking process going?
Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen wrote about de Bono recently, and pointed me to the following video where de Bono talks about the different hats. It's a nice introduction, but if you are at all interested, try reading the book. It's a quick read, and you can probably find it at a local library - I did!