Six Thinking Hats

A Thinking Skills Training Course from Edward de Bono

Six Thinking Hats, a thinking skills training course from Edward de Bono, teaches parallel thinking as an alternative to argument. Parallel thinking guides thought processes in one direction at a time so we can effectively analyze issues, generate new ideas, and make better decisions.

Six Thinking Hats helps put our opinions and egos aside so we can focus on a way forward, without argument.

Six Thinking Hats training is fast-paced, practical, and interactive. Participants learn how to separate emotion from facts, the positive from the negative and critical thinking from creative thinking.

Six Thinking Hats participants leave with tools they can apply immediately.

“I have a whole new appreciation for what de Bono has done . . . Just imagine how much more productive we would be as individuals, as team members, and within society as a whole if we all applied these concepts in our everyday activities!” – Six Thinking Hats Participant, Dipesh Patel, Chevron

Who Needs Six Thinking Hats?

Anyone who wants:

  • A meeting facilitation tool that surfaces hidden agendas and achieves objectives without conflict
  • A way to make sure that all sides of an issue are addressed
  • A tool that works well in different cultures around the world
  • A sharpened ability to think clearly, objectively, systematically, and creatively
  • HR Professionals
  • Project Managers
  • Meeting Facilitators
  • Engineers
  • New Product Developers
  • Team Leaders & Members
  • Trainers & Consultants
  • Sales & Marketing Professionals
  • Advertising & PR Professionals
  • Patent Attorneys

How Might You Use The Six Thinking Hats?

  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Preparing for discussions
  • Continuous process improvement
  • New products / new designs
  • Idea Generation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Radical Innovation
  • Ethical Decision-Making
  • Group Problem Solving
  • Customer focus groups / interviews
  • Leadership development
  • Presentations
  • Virtual meetings
  • Individual thinking
  • Individual Problem Solving
  • Reports/Memos/Emails

Six Thinking Hats Training Course Objectives and Outcomes

Six Thinking Hats training participants will show evidence of the following:

A marked tendency to identify themselves as thinkers and confidence that they have the ability to cope with and improve their environments.

Competencies enabling them to solve problems including the ability to:

  • identify a problem
  • propose alternative solutions
  • predict the consequences of each alternative
  • assess the usefulness of each set of consequences
  • select the best alternative
  • implement it
  • evaluate it

Competencies enabling them to identify and pursue opportunities including the ability to:

  • develop a habit of perceiving events and situations as opportunities
  • identify the benefits/desired outcomes of pursuing each opportunity
  • identify the risks/dangers of pursuing each opportunity
  • design ways to minimize risks and dangers
  • select opportunities based on weighing the benefits against remaining risks
  • design plans for pursuing a selected opportunity
  • assess and reevaluate plans in progress

Competencies enabling them to think cooperatively including the ability to:

  • understand and take on the facilitator role in a group meeting
  • identify and articulate other people’s points of view
  • devise an agenda and demonstrate the necessary discipline to follow it
  • provide for equal participation among group members

“We hope you will remember the Business Process Reengineering Team from Honeywell because you certainly made an impression on us. Six Thinking Hats has become part of our team psyche and we take the work out into our organization. Using the Six Hats method we have worked through many emotion issues, and in conjuction with brainstorming techniques, have come to consensus on many issues thought to be unresolvable. We use the “Hat method” even when we’re not discussing specifics. This training has made our task, which is very challenging, a little less overwhelming.” – BCAS BPR Team Honeywell

The Six Thinking Hats

White Thinking Hat

White Hat thinking focuses on data, facts, information known or needed.

Black Thinking Hat

Black Hat thinking focuses on difficulties, potential problems.

Red Thinking Hat

Red Hat thinking focuses on feelings, hunches, gut instinct, and intuition.

Green Thinking Hat

Green Hat thinking focuses on creativity: alternatives, solutions, new ideas.

Yellow Thinking Hat

Yellow Hat thinking focuses on values and benefits. Why something may work.

Blue Thinking Hat

Blue Hat thinking focuses on the thinking process, next steps, action plans.

Learn Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats On-Site or Virtual Training Seminars
Bring our Six Thinking Hats Instructor to your location to deliver a one- or two-day Six Thinking Hats seminar or have us deliver a seminar virtually.
On-Site Six Thinking Hats Training Seminar Details

Six Thinking Hats Open Seminars
Attend a one-day Six Thinking Hats seminar with employees from other organizations.

Meeting Facilitation Using the Six Thinking Hats
de Bono Consulting will facilitate your meeting(s) using the Six Thinking Hats framework and other de Bono Thinking Systems.

Six Thinking Hats Train-the-Trainer Certification
Completing the Official Six Thinking Hats Certification is required if you wish to teach Six Thinking Hats to others.

Six Thinking Hats Conference / Convention Presentations
Have de Bono Consulting present a Six Thinking Hats keynote, general session, or breakout session at your next conference or convention.

Six Thinking Hats Results

MDS SCIEX shaved 2–3 years off the product development lead-time, cut material costs by $35,000 per unit, eliminated reliability problems, and fostered a collaborative corporate culture.
Potawatomi Bingo Casino improved morale, cut meeting time by 88%, and saved $50,000 annually.
A division of Siemens reduced product development time by 50%.
ABB was able to reduce a series of multinational project meetings from 30 days to 2 days.
Read more in Innovation: Case by Case by de Bono Consulting CEO and Founder, Barbara Stennes

Six Thinking Hats Testimonials

“I used the Six Thinking Hats for a team conference call yesterday and it was a great success. The feedback from my team was very positive. One of my direct reports said it was one of the best, most productive conference calls they had ever been on and that the training was well worth it!” – John Hutt, District Business Manager, Pfizer, Inc.

“This was the first real opportunity we had to practice and use the Six Thinking Hats training. And it worked! This is a good sign that we can make efforts to concentrate on a specific matter and stick to that matter. We channeled our discussions in the same direction. We found a lot of solutions in a very short period of time and it helped us concentrate and focus. Six Thinking Hats created a common direction for all people involved and brought discipline to the group.” – Simona Adelina Popovici, Associate Director of Organizational Development and Employee Communications, CONNEX – a Trademark for MobiFon S.A.

“I was called in to facilitate a major innovation session for one of our business units. We had over 50 participants from all facets of our business (research to commercialization). I used the Six Thinking Hats process to run this meeting, which was something that most of the participants had not been exposed to. The result was that we got through as much information and brainstorming in 5 hours that we would have normally accomplished in a year of meetings with tremendous alignment and input from everyone. I’ve gotten more kudos over that meeting than anything else I’ve done at Elanco. And as such, our enrollment for our next open enrollment session of Six Thinking Hats has rapidly expanded! Thanks for enabling mine (and Elanco’s) success.” – Global Training & Development Associate, Elanco Animal Health

“In pockets of R&D, we are using the Six Thinking Hats methodology to structure group processes towards achieving meeting goals in less time. By using the Six Thinking Hats, we made it! It really does work. And, we’ll keep on using it and building additional expertise. Thank you for the new tools!” – Kenneth Newman, R&D Continuous Improvement, Philip Morris

“A great process to bring about creative thinking in a cooperative environment.” -Emily Fuerst, Kemin

“Six Thinking Hats systematically provides an opportunity for creativity in an environment that’s free of the criticism and confrontation we used to see. This means that everyone can collaborate and build on even the craziest of ideas to come up with creative solutions. It’s true, we had great results using Six Hats with QSTAR (an increase in efficiency of the development process by 40%), but the long-term impact is even greater. We can repeat our success over and over because of these changed behaviors.” – Suzanne Wolfe, Human Resource Director, MDS SCIEX

“Just a quick note to let you know that I have enjoyed using the six hats model for lateral thinking in a couple group meetings and for my own personal thought. I was so moved by the concept that I also bought de Bono’s book de Bono’s Thinking Course to further study the concept.” – David Arens, Vice President, Bankers Trust

Six Thinking Hats Training Participants

“I thought the [Six Thinking Hats] methods were great and very useful. This will be great to have in the toolbox.”

“Six Thinking Hats is a powerful tool for managing discussions while minimizing the distraction from egos.”

“Great concepts! Barbara was able to demonstrate the utilization of different concepts in scenarios that are very applicable for everyday use.”

“The most rewarding training experience I have had in years!!”

“The course was a practical and practice-based method to integrate the Six Hat thinking into the corporate toolbox.”

Six Thinking Hats Comments from Participants at Texas Instruments

“I now feel that I can effectively use the Six Thinking Hats to be a change agent in my organization” – Amanda Lapierre

“Great Class! Powerful. Six Thinking Hats can be used in virtually every aspect of my life and job!”

“Very stimulating. I am eager to use the Six Thinking Hats tools.”

“Six Thinking Hats is a very good class that needs to be available at all levels of the organization.”

Read Additional Six Thinking Hats Testimonials

Six Thinking Hats Book by Edward de Bono (Paperback)

Using case studies and real-life examples of his “Six Thinking Hats”, Edward de Bono shows how each of us can become a better thinker through deliberate role-playing. This book is an ideal way to prepare before attending our “Six Thinking Hats” seminar. Find out how the “Six Thinking Hats” can change you and your company.

“Ideas are the currency of success. They separate you from your competition.”
Edward de Bono