Thinking hats

Thinking about a problem in different ways.
At what stage of the design process is the tool most useful? 
What does it do? 

Thinking hats allow co-design teams to consider a problem in different ways and to have discussions.

‘By mentally wearing and switching ‘hats’ you can easily focus or redirect your thoughts.’

How do you use it? 

Consider a problem that you would like the co-design team to focus on.

  • The white hat focuses on the information that is known about or needed
  • The yellow hat focuses on the positives
  • The black hat focuses on the negatives
  • The red hat focuses on feelings
  • The green hat focuses on creative possibilities
  • The blue hat is used to manage the thinking process

This technique was popularised in the book Six Thinking Hats (De Bono E, 1985). More information…

Useful resources when using the tool 

Using coloured party hats can be useful as the group can physically put on and take off their thinking hats.

Capture the responses to the thinking hats on pieces of paper relating to the hat in question.

Take photographs of the process and results for your records.