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Mastering the Art of Volleyball: Key Techniques and Strategies

Volleyball is a fast-paced and competitive team sport that requires a combination of skill, athleticism, and strategic thinking. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, understanding the key techniques and strategies can greatly enhance your performance in a volleyball match. In this article, we will explore four essential aspects of the game that will help you master the art of volleyball.

I. Serving Techniques: The First Strike

The serve is the initial contact made with the ball and sets the tone for the rest of the rally. A well-executed serve can put your opponents on their backfoot right from the start. There are various serving techniques in volleyball, including float serves, jump serves, and topspin serves.

A float serve involves hitting the ball with minimal spin to create unpredictability in its trajectory. This technique aims to disrupt your opponents’ reception and make it difficult for them to set up their offense. Jump serves, on the other hand, require explosive power as players leap into the air before striking the ball with maximum force. These serves are often more challenging to receive due to their speed and downward trajectory.

Another effective serving technique is a topspin serve that combines power with spin. By hitting the ball with topspin, you can create a downward curve that makes it harder for your opponents to control their passes accurately.

II. Setting Techniques: Precision at its Finest

Setting is a crucial skill in volleyball as it determines how effectively your team can attack. A well-executed set allows hitters to approach and attack the ball at optimal angles, increasing their chances of scoring points.

The two main setting techniques used in volleyball are overhead setting and bump setting (also known as forearm passing). Overhead setting involves using your fingertips to direct the ball accurately towards your desired target. This technique requires good hand-eye coordination and a soft touch to ensure proper placement.

Bump setting, on the other hand, involves using your forearms to pass the ball to your teammates. This technique is often used when the ball is too low or fast for an overhead set. Bump setting requires precise contact with the ball and control over its direction.

III. Attacking Techniques: Seizing Opportunities

Attacking in volleyball refers to the offensive actions taken to score points. A well-executed attack can catch your opponents off guard and create scoring opportunities for your team. There are several attacking techniques in volleyball, including spikes, tips, and blocks.

Spiking is one of the most powerful and exciting attacking techniques in volleyball. It involves jumping up and hitting the ball forcefully towards the opponent’s court with a downward trajectory. Spikes require good timing, coordination, and power to be effective in overpowering the opposing team’s defense.

Tips are another effective attacking technique that relies on finesse rather than power. Instead of hitting the ball forcefully, players use their fingertips to redirect the ball gently over or around blockers. Tips are useful for exploiting gaps in the opposing team’s defense or surprising them with unexpected shots.

Blocking is a defensive technique that aims to stop or redirect an opponent’s attack. Effective blocking requires good timing, footwork, and anticipation of where the attacker will hit the ball. By successfully blocking an opponent’s attack, you not only prevent them from scoring but also create scoring opportunities for your team.

IV. Defensive Techniques: Keeping it Solid

Defense plays a critical role in volleyball as it prevents opponents from scoring points and keeps rallies alive. Effective defensive techniques can frustrate your opponents’ offense and give your team a better chance at winning.

Digging is one of the primary defensive techniques used in volleyball to receive hard-driven attacks from opponents. It involves diving or sliding on the floor to save a low-lying or fast-moving ball from touching the ground. Digging requires quick reflexes, agility, and the ability to read your opponent’s shots.

Blocking, as mentioned earlier, is not only an offensive technique but also a defensive one. By effectively blocking an opponent’s attack, you can disrupt their offensive rhythm and force them into making errors.

Another essential defensive technique is the art of positioning. Good positioning allows players to anticipate where the ball will go and be in the right place at the right time. This skill minimizes gaps in defense and increases the chances of successfully digging or receiving the ball.

Mastering the art of volleyball requires a combination of key techniques and strategies. By focusing on serving techniques, setting techniques, attacking techniques, and defensive techniques, you can enhance your skills on all fronts of the game. Practice these techniques regularly and apply them strategically during volleyball matches to take your game to new heights.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


what is six thinking hats technique

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Six Thinking Hats

History of the six thinking hats, benefits of the six thinking hats technique, using the six thinking hats in agile, how to run a six thinking hats exercise and examples, .css-uphcpb{position:absolute;left:0;top:-87px;} what are the six thinking hats, definition of the six thinking hats.

The six thinking hats is a method used to amplify creative conversations, by making sure that a broad variety of viewpoints and thinking styles are represented. Using six roles (or "hats"), the framework — developed by Dr. Edward de Bono — allows teams to more easily structure abstract thinking for productive results.

The six hats are:

The white hat: This is the objective hat, which focuses on facts and logic

The black hat: This is the cautious hat, used to predict negative outcomes

The yellow hat: This is the optimistic hat, used to look for positive outcomes

The green hat: This is the creative hat, where ideas are abundant and criticism spare

The blue hat: This is the hat of control, used for management and organization

In product development , the six thinking hats are used to divide up the project team into different groups (the white hat group, the red hat group, etc.). Each group talks about the product from their hat's perspective, i.e., the logical components, the emotional components, and so on. This allows for more focused collaboration among smaller groups that can later rejoin with stronger ideas and goals.

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The six thinking hats were first published in 1985 by the respected psychologist Dr. Edward de Bono. The inspiration for writing the book came from structuring creative thinking, which often leads to confusion and disagreement, especially in groups of people. 

The "hats" allow for organized and effective group thinking.

While deploying the six thinking hats technique can initially feel awkward, it’s worth persevering. The benefits speak for themselves: 


The six thinking hats technique promotes a highly organized thinking process. By considering various perspectives on a problem or decision, you can assign weight to information and eliminate unnecessary details, leading to streamlined decision-making and team consensus.

The six thinking hats technique encourages teams to explore situations and propose innovative ways to address them. This pushes individuals and groups to challenge their capabilities, generate more creative ideas, and combine diverse perspectives.


The six hats technique enables people to achieve more in less time by strengthening skills like organization and creative thinking. Individuals work together more effectively and can feel empowered by a clear direction for the discussion. 

Quality decision-making

It’s crucial that teams can clearly define the context of the discussion to reduce conflicts and encourage proactive thinking. Focusing on one perspective at a time allows the group to make quality decisions as each hat contributes its unique viewpoint.


The six thinking hats technique allows individuals to think outside of their bubbles. They’re responsible for viewing the problem in a way that represents a specific group of people, leaving preconceptions at the door. Each hat needs to be represented during the meeting. This allows the group to concentrate collectively on one perspective at a time, fostering minimal conflict and shared understanding while ensuring everyone is fully immersed in the discussion. 

Interpersonal skills

The six thinking hats technique enhances listening and communication skills. It helps individuals become more persuasive when presenting their ideas, more supportive of others during discussions, and more confident in offering solutions and resolving possible conflicts.

The six thinking hats technique is perfect for agile retrospectives , especially if your team is growing tired of the typical retrospective format. The six hats technique still lets us look at what went right and what went wrong, but it helps us see how these results will affect each perspective the hats represent. 

The first time you run the six thinking hats technique in your retrospective will take a little longer than usual, but you’ll find your team is far more engaged in the process. Plus, it helps uncover a wider range of perspectives to guide your next sprint. 

Six Thinking Hats is the perfect technique to look at decision-making from different perspectives. It introduces an organized parallel thinking process and it helps participants to be more mindfully involved and focused during discussion. 

This technique can be applied in many ways, both in groups and as individuals. After deciding on the problem or situation you need to discuss, try these approaches:

Start by assigning a moderator for the group who will wear the blue hat. The moderator should set an agenda prior to the meeting and be familiar with the Six Thinking Hats concept.

Then, each participant should have an easy way to see what perspective they have to take depending on what hat they have. A name tag with their respective hat color or a sign on the table in front of them should do the job.

Make sure everyone has a way to record their ideas, so they can clearly show which hat they were wearing at that particular time.

If the group is large, break it into smaller groups. You can assign a hat to each group to discuss their approach, or you can have all groups wear the same hat to discuss the same perspective before proceeding to the next hat.

It’s a good idea to rotate the hats between each group to foster as many new ideas as possible and make everyone think about the issue from different perspectives.

In order to improve teamwork and collaboration , you can also make each group and sub-group wear only one hat at a time.


When you deal with an issue, but you have to solve it alone, it’s best to use a template which has every hat along with a section to record your notes.

The straightforward way to do this is to work your way through each hat one at a time while making notes from each point of view.

Try not to jump around switching from one hat to another before you are done with it — that can get confusing.

Let’s imagine that you are holding a meeting in where you’re discussing the introduction of a new service or product to the market. Here’s how the Six Thinking Hats exercise will go:

The White Hat will ask, “What are the facts that we know?” and will present the known facts such as sales figures, market research, and other data.

The Red Hat will ask, “What are your gut reactions?” and will base the arguments on feelings, hunches, and instincts.

The Black Hat will ask, “What risks should we keep in mind?” and will present a rather pessimistic perspective, talking about disadvantages, risks, and problems.

The Yellow Hat will ask, “Why should we be optimistic?” and will be the opposite of the black hat, presenting the advantages, benefits, and opportunities.

The Green Hat will ask, “How can we create opportunities?” and will be the creative perspective, coming up with ideas and possibilities.

The Blue Hat will ask “What systems or processes will be needed?” and will be in charge of the overview, summary, and planning.

What Are The Six Thinking Hats?

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Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats

What is the Six Thinking Hats Technique by Edward De Bono?

The Six Thinking Hats is a role-playing model developed by Edward de Bono  in 1986.  Each hat represents a different lens or perspective on a particular issue and is an insightful activity that prevents narrow thinking. 

It serves as a team-based problem solving and brainstorming technique that can be used to explore problems through various perspectives in order to uncover options that might otherwise be overlooked. 

The basic premise behind the Six Thinking Hats is that most people think and reason in a specific way based on their personality type.  This means that a more emotional person may generate ideas differently than a more analytical person, and vice-versa. Similarly a pessimist will approach a situation very differently than an optimist.

An example of the benefit of running the thinking hats techniques is therefore to encourage different perspectives to be shared, seen and discussed as part of the decision making process.

The six types of “Thinking Hats” are:

  • White Hat:  Similar to the calm and pure emotions associated with the colour white, this type of thinking focuses on analytical, objective thinking, with an emphasis on facts and feasibility.
  • Red Hat:  We often associate the colour red with anger and heat and hence this represents emotional thinking, subjective feelings, perception, and opinion.
  • Black Hat:  The colour black has been stereotypically linked with doom and gloom and so this forms a type of thinking that is critical, skeptical, focused on risks, and identifying problems.
  • Yellow Hat:  Often symbolising sunshine and happiness, the yellow hat is about thinking optimistic, speculative, best-case scenarios.
  • Blue Hat:  Blue being the colour of the sky and high above creates a sense of structured thinking, high-level overview of the situation, the big picture.
  • Green Hat:  Associated with the colour of trees and nature, the green hat is about creative, associative thinking, new ideas, brainstorming, out-of-the-box.
  • Pros and Cons
  • PESTLE Analysis
  • PEST Analysis
  • Encourage each person to contribute to each of the perspectives. Avoid putting people into categories – Everyone can and should use all the hats.
  • One or more hats can be used at any point during a discussion process.They are used as a convenience for directing and switching the thinking process as needed. (E.g. “Let’s have some black hat thinking…”)
  • Simple sequences of two or three hats may be used together for a particular purpose, for example:
  • The yellow hat followed by the black hat may be used to assess an idea.
  • The black hat followed by the green hat may be used to improve a design.
  • Six Thinking Hats is excellent at eliciting different perspectives, but there is less guidance on how to resolve conflicting views among the different hats. Sometimes a group will naturally move together toward one resolution during the discussion. If not, another framework might be needed to resolve the discourse.

Use the Six Thinking Hats for Better Meetings

Six Thinking Hats is a powerful technique for decision making that includes different points of view.

The process and methodology allows emotion and skepticism to be brought into what might normally be a purely rational process, and it opens up the opportunity for creativity within decision making.

Decisions made using the Six Thinking Hats technique can be more resilient and based on a holistic perspective, allowing you to avoid pitfalls and gaps before you have committed to a decision.

When Should I use the Six Thinking Hats Technique?

Use the Six Thinking Hats model to help with:

  • Running better and more structured meetings especially if there tends to only be a single view at every meeting.
  • Making better decisions by having a more holistic and wide ranging view of the problem. 
  • Approaching problems from various angles of facts, emotions and creativity.
  • Inspiring idea generation as an ice-breaker activity by having different people play different roles.
  • More collaboration during brainstorming and decision making with assigned roles including facilitator responsibilities.

Six Thinking Hats Template Example

Imagine if you are facilitating a meeting to introduce a new product or service to the market. In doing so, you might ask people to wear different hats, or to navigate between the hats around this goal.

“What are the facts that we know?”

 – Our survey last month indicated a 5% preference of the green product by women aged 25 – 45.

– Return rates from sales has fallen by over 50% since the introduction of the new delivery packaging.

– There are new delivery routes available via Company Logistics.

“Why should we be optimistic?”

  – The new product could increase our revenue diversification stream and increase our family of products.

– We can start receiving better feedback and testimonials from our customers.

– The impact from damage from delivery will meet our service standards.

“What are your gut reactions?”

– The green colour inspires a sustainable look and is very appealing. This is even a great shade.

– The impact on the reduced return rates could mean additional resources.

– How do the new delivery routes impact our delivery times? I would certainly be interested in learning more about it.

 “How can we create opportunities?”

– A green range could be expanded to a different colour range set or be symbolic.

– Creating multiple channels will allow us to establish new partnerships and partners.

– Speeding up quality and reliability of delivery could allow us to bundle exisiting products.

“What risks should we keep in mind?”

– Is a 5% preference sufficient for us to make a single colour product? What happens if preferences change.

– What is the cost of maintaining the packaging quality and sustainability?

– The new delivery routes may not have been proven as reliable yet or may increase our costs.

“What systems or processes will be needed?”

  – Let’s go around the room and discuss the colour options based.

– How has the reduced return rates impacted our warehousing department?

– Would there be any other changes to our workflow with a new delivery partner and will it change our logistics technology?

How to Use the Six Thinking Hats to Run Better Meetings

Six Thinking Hats is a powerful technique for looking at decision-making from different points of view. By introducing a structured parallel thinking process, it helps people to be more focused and mindfully involved in a discussion.

what is six thinking hats technique

Start brainstorming through each of the different hats.

what is six thinking hats technique

Review the responses for common themes that can be grouped.

what is six thinking hats technique

Have people voted on the topics that they would like to discuss the most.

what is six thinking hats technique

Share the results and facilitate the discussion towards a decision.

Facilitate the conversation (wearing the blue hat).

As an inspiration, check the following example of how to use Six Thinking Hats sequentially to resolve a problem with alternative solutions:

  • White Hat: Present the facts of the problem
  • Green Hat: Generate ideas on how the problem can be solved
  • Yellow Hat: Evaluate the ideas by listing their benefits
  • Black Hat: Evaluate the ideas by listing their drawbacks
  • Red Hat: Get everybody’s gut feelings about the alternatives
  • Blue Hat: Summarise the discussion and agree on the conclusions

You may decide which sequence of hat use fits best for your purpose. In general, it is recommended that each hat is worn at some point however, there are some sensible sequences too.

Once you have completed the brainstorm for each thinking hat, review the responses and look for common themes which can be grouped into one.

This step is more time consuming if the brainstorming was performed individually – or completed at different times and locations. Using a software tool like GroupMap to group ideas can significantly reduce the time and effort required in this step – and result in a better outcome.

Now that there are clear themes, encourage your participants to vote on the top three ideas they would like to discuss further.

You can facilitate this by advising participants to vote based on: 

  • the level of importance to action or implement; 
  • aspects that they would like to discuss or explore further; 
  • areas that they have questions on and require clarification. 

Combining individual voting into an overall score is much easier and faster if you use an online tool like GroupMap, especially if you can vote on ideas individually and independently.

With the votes tallied, you can now better facilitate the discussion in the meeting and help the group come to a more considered and educated decision.

Sharing the outcomes of the Six Thinking Hats process ideas and comments with the wider group of stakeholders as well as the team is essential to getting buy in! 

The results of your Six Thinking Hats should allow for the next steps of:

  • Communication to relevant stakeholders. 
  • Further analysis using other business tools such as a SWOT Analysis for each of your top voted discussions. 
  • Product and design thinking activities, including customer personas.

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Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world , GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.

what is six thinking hats technique

Six Thinking Hats

Simple & effective..

Used with well-defined and explicit Return On Investment success in corporations worldwide, Six Thinking Hats is a simple, effective parallel thinking process that helps people be more productive, focused, and mindfully involved. A powerful tool set, which once learned can be applied immediately!


How It Works

You and your team members can learn how to separate thinking into six clear functions and roles. Each thinking role is identified with a colored symbolic “thinking hat.” By mentally wearing and switching “hats,” you can easily focus or redirect thoughts, the conversation, or the meeting.

Using Six Thinking Hats®, you and your team will learn how to use a disciplined process which will…

  • Maximize  productive collaboration and minimize counterproductive interaction/behavior
  • Consider  issues, problems, decisions, and opportunities systematically
  • Use  Parallel Thinking as a group or team to generate more, better ideas and solutions
  • Make  meetings much shorter and more productive
  • Reduce  conflict among team members or meeting participants
  • Stimulate  innovation by generating more and better ideas quickly
  • Create  dynamic, results oriented meetings that make people want to participate
  • Go  beyond the obvious to discover effective alternate solutions
  • Spot  opportunities where others see only problems
  • Think  clearly and objectively
  • View  problems from new and unusual angles
  • Make  thorough evaluations
  • See  all sides of a situation
  • Keep  egos and “turf protection” in check
  • Achieve  significant and meaningful results in a less time

Significant Applications for the Parallel Thinking Process of Six Thinking Hats

  • Leadership Development
  • Team Productivity, Alignment and Communication
  • Creative and innovative thinking
  • Meeting leadership and decision making
  • Product and Process Improvement, and Project Management
  • Critical, Analytical Thinking and Problem-Solving
  • Organizational Change/Performance
  • Wherever High Performance Thinking and Action is needed
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Six Thinking Hats Technique explained

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Six Thinking Hats technique: this article explains the Six Thinking Hats technique , developed by Edward de Bono in a practical way. This article contains the meaning of the Six Thinking Hats technique and a practical explanation of all six thinking hats, including examples. You will also learn about different related concepts, such as parallel thinking . The article also contains advantages and disadvantages of this method to extract maximum value and to avoid pitfalls. Enjoy reading!

What are the Six Thinking Hats?

Six Thinking Hats technique or dr Edward de Bono ’s Six Hats is a good decision making technique and method for group discussions and individual thinking.

Combined with the parallel thinking process , this technique helps groups think more effectively. It is a means to organize thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive manner.

Edward de Bono is the founding father of this six thinking hats technique and wrote a book about this called the Six Thinking Hats in 1985.

Six Thinking Hats Technique: meaning of thinking hat

A thinking hat is a metaphor for a certain way of thinking. By mentally wearing different thinking hats people are forced to look at a problem from different perspectives. Thus a one-sided way of thinking is excluded and new insights are created.

He distinguishes six different frames of mind in which the brain can become sensitive. Each of these frames of mind can be found in the brain and create conscious thoughts for certain aspects of the issues that are being discussed, (e.g. gut feeling, pessimistic views, neutral facts).


Brainstorming is one of the most effective and widely used methods to kick-start innovation. Brainstorming sessions can be organised anywhere, from the office workspace to the laboratory.

However, the sessions are not always equally effective. This is usually due to a lack of leadership or because of conflicts. Edward de Bono , a pioneer in creative thinking , has developed six thinking hats to eliminate most of these disadvantages.

The technique enables the user to think in six different directions. By only wearing one hat at a time, a synergy can be created between the people participating in the brainstorming session. And on top of that, brainstorming and lateral thinking also stimulate creativity and expand the scope of solution-based thinking.

Types of six thinking hats technique

The six different frames of mind (six thinking hats) are identified in the shape of a hat and each of the hats is a different colour:

Information: consider only information that is available, what are the facts? The white hat pushes all available information and data to be considered forward. This includes information both from within and outside the scope of the discussion or brainstorming session. This delays the assessment of this data.

It is important to be clear and specific when it comes to data so that any ambiguity can be prevented. The general goal is to better understand the concept or subject that is up for discussion, which is easier when the data is being managed in a neutral way.

Emotions: intuitive reactions or gut reactions, or expressions of feelings (but no justification required). The red hat is the emotions hat. Whenever this hat is worn, the emotional thinking process is targeted.

Emotions can be both positive and negative. Examples of positive emotions include joy, happiness, admiration, enthusiasm and expectation.

Negative emotions include, for example, disappointment, jealousy, cynicism or anger. More neutral emotions would be curiosity and intuition. The objective behind wearing the red hat is to address the credibility of the emotions that play a part in a certain discussion.

Judgement: logic applied to identification of mistakes or  barriers, looking for a mismatch. The black hat is the hat of caution. This also includes critical evaluations.

All shortcomings of the concept that is up for discussion are noted. The scope of the problem is maximised, through which the ‘worst case scenario’ can be found. The moment this hat is worn, the participant is required to play devil’s advocate.

Positive view: logic applied to the identification of opportunities, looking for harmony. The yellow hat is the hat of positivity. The wearer of this hat is required to bring forward as many positive aspects related to the subject as possible. It is vital that, whilst wearing this hat, positivity is encouraged at all times.

The point of view of this hat is on how something works, not on how it doesn’t work. All positive aspects that come up will be jotted down. This hat focuses to understand all benefits and positive points of the various ideas.

Creativity: statements of provocation and investigation, hearing what an idea is about. The green hat is the hat of ideas.

Feasibility and judgment are temporarily set aside when this hat is worn, ensuring participants are free to generate as many ideas in the scope as possible. New ideas inspire you to think of even more new ideas. In this situation, everything is adapted to ‘out of the box’ thinking. The objective of this hat is to generate as many new ideas as possible.

Thinking: thinking about thinking. The blue hat is about the flow of the brainstorming session or discussion itself.

Thinking about thinking is also referred to as metacognition . The agenda and timeline are also part of this. How long do the sessions take? When do you need to wear a particular hat, and for how long? The group’s controller should wear the blue hat for as long as the session takes.

Extra information

The coloured hats are used as metaphors for the various states of mind. Switching to a certain type of thinking is symbolized by wearing a coloured hat, literally or metaphorically.

These six thinking hats metaphors provide a more complete and comprehensive segregation of the types of thinking than the prejudices that are inherent to the immediate thoughts of people. All these thinking hats help people to think more deeply about a certain topic.

Parallel thinking

In ordinary and unstructured thinking, this method seems unfocused. The thinker moves from critical thinking to neutrality, to optimism, etcetera, without structure or strategy. The process of the six thinking hats introduces the process of parallel thinking .

Many people are used to ordinary thinking and they unconsciously navigate on their own habits. Sometimes these are effective and sometimes they are not. What is certain is that when people think in a group using their individual thoughts, they often fail to come to an agreement. As a consequence, there are no discussions.

The power of the ego and the identified preference for black hat thinking can lead to disastrous meetings. Even with courtesy and good manners and clear common objectives in cooperative thinking activities , people have a natural tendency for the so-called “spaghetti-thinking” in which one person is thinking about the advantages whereas another is considering the facts and so on.

Edward de Bono ’s six thinking hats prevent this, so that everybody shares each other’s opinions about the problems, advantages, facts, reducing distraction and supporting thought cross pollination.

This will be accomplished because everyone will put on a hat together, for instance the white hat. After the attendants have expressed their thoughts in a round of discussion, they will put on the next hat.

In this way all the attendants will think in the same way at the same time. The only exception is the facilitator, who will tend to keep the blue hat to ensure that the discussion will progress effectively.

Six Thinking Hats technique: the strategies and programmes

After the six types of thinking have been identified, different programmes can be created. These are sequences of hats that structure the thinking process towards a clear goal.

A number of these goals have been included in the materials that support the franchise training of the six thinking hats method, however, it is often necessary to adapt these for individual purposes.

Sequences always begin and end with a blue hat, the group agrees on how they will think together, then they do the thinking and finally they evaluate the outcomes of the thinking process and what to do next. Sequences (and indeed hats) may also be used by individuals who work alone or in groups.

The following division can be made:

  • Initial Ideas – Blue, White, Green
  • Choosing between alternatives – Blue, White, Green, Yellow, Black, Red
  • Identification of solutions – Blue, White, Black, Green
  • Fast Feedback – Blue, Black, Green, White
  • Strategic planning – Blue, Yellow, Black, White
  • Process improvement – Blue, White, Yellow, Black, Green, Red
  • Problem-solving – Blue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black
  • Performance assessment – Blue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green

Examples of the Six Thinking Hats technique

The human, natural way of speaking and interacting is often a combination of different thinking hats, as is established by Edward De Bono .

For example, someone might say: this idea ties in with our strategy and could strengthen our market position but I don’t know if the cost is acceptable or if our customers will love the idea. This sentence flows from a white hat (in line with the strategy), to a yellow hat (improving the market position), to a red hat (customers may not like it).

The Six Thinking Hats method helps managers and others to analyse different statements and judge them separately.

Below are some examples of phrases that fall under each of the thinking hats.

  • ‘We will talk about this problem for one hour’
  • ‘Besides the other, what are the benefits of this plan?’
  • ‘Let’s put our emotions to the side for a moment: we will take action when it’s time for the red hat’
  • ‘What will the costs be to produce one unit of the product?’
  • ‘Over the past year, the turnover has increased by 10%’
  • ‘It is estimated there are 80 million people in the United States between the age of eighteen and thirty-five’
  • ‘Instead of opening the factory in China, we could also upgrade the one in New York’
  • ‘This is a difficult matter. Let’s get together with the team and organise a brainstorming session’
  • ‘Are there any other options we have not yet considered?’
  • ‘Can we save on products and energy in order to cut costs?’
  • ‘Our sales team has many years of experience in selling programs’
  • ‘Tapping into a new market offers room to expand’
  • ‘Finishing this project next week makes me happy’
  • ‘The results from this research make me angry!’
  • ‘Research shows our customers are afraid of a change in recipe’
  • ‘With the current capacity we can never expand that quickly’
  • ‘I am almost certain that would be illegal’
  • ‘This idea has many advantages. What problems does it involve?’

Advantages and disadvantages of the Six Thinking Hats technique

The use and application of the Bono Six Thinking Hats technique of has several advantages and disadvantages. These are listed below.

Advantages and benefits of the Six Thinking Hats technique

  • The Six Thinking Hats method is a properly defined method
  • It stimulates parallel thinking
  • The Bono method provides structure to a brainstorming session or meeting
  • The Six Thinking Hats method motivates a clear thought process
  • The method inspires creative and effective thinking
  • The Six Thinking Hats method provides a variety of possible solutions to a problem
  • The method stimulates team engagement and performance

Disadvantages of the Six Thinking Hats technique

  • Applying the method in a team is time-consuming
  • In using the method, people can still disagree strongly and there can even be conflicts about different perspectives

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It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What is your experience with the Six Thinking Hats technique by Edward De Bono? Do you use the six hats to discuss issues from a variety of perspectives? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions? What are your success factors for good decision making?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  • Silverstein, D., Samuel, P., & Decarlo, N. (2009). The Innovator’s ToolKit: 50 Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth . Wiley .
  • De Bono, E. (1985). Six Thinking Hats: An Essential Approach to Business Management . Little, Brown, and Company.

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The only limitation I perceive with 6 thinking hats, and I am novice with its use, is that all parties must be trained in the model for it to work. This is fine if all parties are from the same organisation, but if from different organisations, they might not be exposed to six thinking hats and probably aren’t. Have I misunderstood the model with my belief?

what is six thinking hats technique

Thank you for your comment and question, Tim.

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what is six thinking hats technique

Six Thinking Hats

Making the best decisions often requires looking at them through different lenses so that you don't overlook an important aspect. Six Thinking Hats, created by Edward de Bono, is a tool for doing exactly that. You can use it for your own thinking or in a group where everyone can represent a different perspective.

How to use it

Each thinking hat represents one lens/perspective/style of thinking. Try "wearing" different hats and look at the decision through each.

If you're in a group, you can assign the hats to everyone to get a balanced discussion. Or you can go through different perspectives as a whole group.

Here's what each hat is about:

  • 🟡 Yellow hat is about positivity . Try seeing the benefits of this decision and what opportunities it opens.
  • 🟢 Green hat represents creativity . Let your mind run free and generate ideas without censoring them. Try coming up with creative options and solutions. Tools like the Productive Thinking Model or First Principles can help you.
  • 🔴 Red hat is about emotions . How do you feel about this? Use your intuition and gut feelings. Try to see how others might react emotionally. It's a great way to bring emotions into an otherwise rational process.
  • ⚪️ White hat makes you focus on the data . Analyze the available data and trends. This represents a very rational approach.
  • ⚫️ Black hat represents looking at the downside . What are the worst-case scenarios? Take a defensive approach, imagine any potentially negative outcomes, see what might not work. Inversion might be a helpful tool here.
  • 🔵 Blue hat is for controlling the process . Especially in meetings, it's good to be able to step in when there's no progress and enable the group to move forward (e.g. by shifting the thinking or discussion to a different hat/perspective).

Illustration of the Six Thinking Hats: Yellow for positivity, Green for creativity, Red for emotions, White for data, Black for negativity and Blue for control.

Let's see how using this tool might play out in an example scenario. Suppose you're in a management meeting to decide if you should introduce a new product to your portfolio to battle declining sales. You use the Six Thinking Hats tool to make sure the decision is considered from all possible angles.

Starting with the yellow hat, you discuss the sizable chunk of the market that this new product might cater to. It's a big opportunity for capturing a lot of revenue.

You switch to the black hat to look at possible downsides: what if the new product cannibalizes our existing products? What if it doesn't offer enough value for people to buy it?

A person wearing the white hat points out that the data you have about the market shows several unmet needs. It also shows that the declining sales of the existing products signal a trend that the market as a whole is moving to different solutions.

Wearing the yellow hat again, you see that the unmet needs in the market represent a solid opportunity and it's supported by data. Considering the possible downsides, you ask: How might we make sure the new product offers enough value?

You put on the green hat and generate ideas for how you might prototype the new product and test its value with people.

Because the meeting has been running for a while now, the facilitator wearing the blue hat suggests postponing the decision until the new product is validated with people.

The group decides to wear the red hat to do a check how everyone feels about this plan. People agree that it's a high-stakes decision and it feels right to lower the risk before making the decision. They're less anxious about it now.

In this example, the group arrived at a reasonable next step toward making this decision. Using the Six Thinking Hats, every perspective was heard and the outcome was made possible by discussing the different perspectives.

Key takeaway

Six Thinking Hats is a tool that allows you to consider a decision or problem from different angles. It enables you to deliberately see aspects you might otherwise overlook, making your decision better and more resilient in the end.

If you want to find out more about the Six Thinking Hats, Edward de Bono's book with the same title is the best place.

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MindManager Blog

The six thinking hats method: how to use it for effective brainstorming

August 10, 2023 by MindManager Blog

Learn how to effectively use the six thinking hats method to foster diverse perspectives and improve decision-making. Discover practical tips and techniques to promote more productive and collaborative thinking in your team!    

What is Edward De Bono’s six thinking hats brainstorming method?  

Edward De Bono’s six thinking hats is a decision-making and problem-solving method that encourages parallel thinking and creativity.   

Parallel thinking is a term coined by De Bono. It’s a collaborative thought process where people explore different perspectives on a topic, enabling a balanced and productive brainstorming environment. 

The six thinking hats process involves a facilitator guiding participants through different thinking styles by symbolically wearing different hats. Using these hats, participants explore a topic, one perspective at a time, giving everyone an equal chance to contribute without debate or criticism. 

We’ll dive deeper into this later, but for now, here’s a quick breakdown of what each hat represents and its related thinking style: 

  • White hat: Objective data analysis. 
  • Red hat: Emotional and intuitive responses. 
  • Black hat: Critical judgment for identifying risks and flaws. 
  • Yellow hat: Positive thinking for exploring benefits. 
  • Green hat: Creative and innovative ideas. 
  • Blue hat: Facilitation and process control. 

In all, the six thinking hats process provides a framework that improves collaboration, decision-making, and problem-solving by leveraging the power of parallel thinking and tapping into group intellect. 

The 6 benefits of six thinking hats  

There are many benefits of the six thinking hats brainstorming technique that may be of interest when problem-solving and decision-making. Some of these include: 

1. Enhanced creativity  

The six thinking hats method stimulates creative thinking by encouraging participants to explore various perspectives, generate new ideas, and think outside the box. 

By wearing different hats, individuals are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and explore uncommon ideas. Overall, the method promotes nontraditional thinking and unlocks fresh ideas and possibilities. 

2. Balanced thinking 

Each of the six hats ensures balanced thinking by considering all angles of a topic, including:  

  • Facts 
  • Emotion 
  • Critical judgments 
  • Positive thinking 
  • Creativity 
  • Process control 

When all of these factors are considered, the results are more balanced and fairer. This allows participants to see the topic, idea, or problem comprehensively. 

3. Improved collaboration 

The structured framework of the six thinking hats facilitates effective collaboration by ensuring that all participants can contribute to the discussion. Furthermore, they have the opportunity to share their viewpoints without conflicts or interruptions.  

4. Efficient decision-making 

The method enables faster and more efficient decision-making by systematically analyzing different aspects, risks, benefits, and alternative possibilities. 

By doing so, the method helps streamline the decision-making process, reducing the time spent on deliberation and enabling timely outcomes. Moreover, the approach minimizes the risk of overlooking important factors, which helps to create solid solutions. 

5. Reduced bias and subjectivity 

The six thinking hats technique asks participants to temporarily set aside their personal biases and judgments and focus on the specific thinking style that their appointed hat represents.  

By encouraging a temporary shift in thinking, individuals can approach a problem or idea with an objective mindset. This enables them to consider perspectives based on logical reasoning rather than personal biases.  

6. Increased productivity 

The six hats process provides a structured and organized approach to brainstorming , ideation, and planning, which increases productivity. 

During a session, discussions remain concentrated on the overall goal. By channeling efforts towards a common objective, participants can streamline their thought processes, eliminate distractions, and maintain focus throughout the session. 

This increased clarity contributes to heightened productivity as team members use their collective intelligence to achieve outcomes quickly. 

The six thinking hats step-by-step process  

The six thinking hats process, developed by Edward De Bono, is a structured method for brainstorming, problem-solving , and decision-making.  

The process involves the following steps, participants, facilitation, and tools: 

  • Define the focus. The session begins by clearly defining the problem, idea, or topic of discussion that requires brainstorming and decision-making.   
  • Select participants. Select a diverse group of individuals who bring different perspectives, expertise, and roles to the discussion.   
  • Introduce the six hats. The chosen facilitator introduces the concept of the six thinking hats and explains the meaning and role of each hat color. Participants are briefed on the thinking styles associated with each hat and the purpose they serve during the session.   
  • Assign hat roles. The facilitator assigns specific hat roles to participants. Each person is responsible for wearing a particular hat for a given period.   
  • Hat rotation. The session progresses with hat rotation, where participants switch roles by changing hats at designated intervals. This rotation ensures that every participant has the chance to contribute from different perspectives and prevents individuals from becoming fixated on a single thinking style. 
  • Hat exploration. While wearing a specific hat, participants share their thoughts, ideas, observations, or questions related to the topic. The facilitator guides the discussion, ensuring that the focus remains on the thinking style represented by the current hat. 
  • Facilitator’s role. The facilitator plays a crucial role in managing the session. They guide the flow of the discussion, enforce hat rotation, encourage active participation, and maintain a balanced and inclusive environment. The facilitator also ensures that all participants have an opportunity to express their views and that the session stays on track.   
  • Tools and visual aids. The brainstorming process can be supported by visual aids so that participants can jot down key points, ideas, or observations associated with their hat. Visual representations help in organizing thoughts and summarizing outcomes. 
  • Summarize and analyze. At the end of the session, the facilitator summarizes the key insights, observations, ideas, and conclusions from each thinking style. This summary helps to consolidate the collective understanding, identify patterns, and inform subsequent decision-making processes. 

The six thinking hats colors and what they represent 

Each hat in the six thinking hats method represents a distinct thinking style. The collective use of these hats during a brainstorming session facilitates the evaluation of ideas and well-rounded decision-making. 

Red hat  

The red hat represents emotions and intuition. When wearing the red hat, participants can express their feelings, gut instincts, and subjective opinions without the need for justification.  

This hat encourages the open sharing of personal perspectives and taps into the intuitive and emotional aspects of decision-making. It helps to foster a more holistic understanding of the topic at hand. 

Green hat  

The green hat symbolizes creativity and new ideas. Participants wearing the green hat are encouraged to think innovatively, develop fresh ideas, and explore alternative possibilities.  

This hat promotes divergent thinking, encourages brainstorming, and stimulates creative solutions. It adds a spark of inventiveness to the session. 

Blue hat  

The blue hat represents process control and organization. It plays the role of a facilitator in the brainstorming session.  

The blue hat wearer manages the overall thinking process, guides the discussion, and ensures the session stays on track. They summarize outcomes, coordinate the contributions of different hats, and keep the session focused and productive. 

Yellow hat  

The yellow hat signifies positive thinking. Participants wearing the yellow hat focus on exploring the benefits, advantages, and positive aspects of the ideas or proposal.  

Yellow hat wearers look for value, prospects, and optimistic perspectives. In addition, they help to create a constructive and forward-thinking atmosphere. 

White hat  

The white hat is associated with facts and information. It represents a logical and objective thinking style.  

Participants wearing the white hat gather and analyze data, facts, and information relevant to the topic. They provide an objective foundation and add evidence-based insights, helping the group make well-informed decisions. 

Black hat  

The black hat embodies critical judgment. Participants wearing the black hat take a cautious and critical approach.  

They identify potential risks, flaws, and negative aspects of ideas or proposals. The black hat thinking style aims to identify pitfalls, challenge assumptions, and encourage careful evaluation. 

When to use the six thinking hats method 

The six thinking hats method provides a framework for collaborative brainstorming that maximizes the potential of a team’s collective intelligence. As a result, sessions may be more creative and effective. 

The six hats thinking method is particularly useful in situations where: 

  • A team needs to generate new ideas or solutions. 
  • There are diverse opinions or conflicts among team members. 
  • A comprehensive evaluation of ideas is required. 
  • Emotional or intuitive aspects need to be considered alongside logical reasoning. 
  • The decision-making process needs to be more objective and rational. 

Six thinking hats example  

To understand the six thinking hats method more fully, here’s an example of how the process may play out in a real-life scenario:

  • Team : The marketing team at a tech company. 
  • Objective : Generate innovative marketing campaign ideas for a new product launch. 
  • Process : The team leader introduces the six thinking hats method and assigns specific hat roles to each team member. 
  • Red hat (emotions and intuition): The individual wearing the red hat openly expresses their gut feelings and emotional responses towards the marketing campaign ideas at hand. They discuss their personal inclinations and share their enthusiasm or concerns about specific campaign concepts. 
  • Green hat (creativity) : The green hat team member freely shares creative marketing campaign ideas without criticism. They generate diverse ideas, such as viral videos, interactive social media campaigns, and experiential events. 
  • White hat (facts and information): The team transitions to the person wearing the white hat. Here, the individual analyzes the feasibility and gathers data on the market campaign ideas. They consider budget constraints, target audience demographics, and competitor analysis. 
  • Black hat (critical judgment): Moving to the black hat, this individual critically evaluates the ideas on the table. They identify potential risks, such as legal implications, negative public perception, or budget overruns. They weigh the pros and cons of each idea and highlight any drawbacks or challenges. 
  • Yellow hat (positive thinking): The person wearing the yellow hat focuses on the positive aspects of the campaign ideas. They discuss potential benefits, advantages, and opportunities for each concept. They also highlight the possible impact on brand awareness, customer engagement, and market differentiation 
  • Blue hat (process control): This team member takes on the role of session manager. They summarize the key insights and guide the discussion toward the most promising ideas. They also highlight the most feasible concepts from the overall hat discussion. 
  • Results : The brainstorming session allowed the marketing team to explore various creative marketing campaign ideas. The team considered diverse perspectives, backed by data and discussion. 

The session facilitated inclusive participation and balanced the exploration of ideas. As a result, the team identified three promising campaign concepts:  

  • A gamified social media contest. 
  • An influencer-driven product launch event. 
  • An interactive augmented reality experience.  

The team left the session with a clear direction for further developing and refining these ideas. This led to a more informed and effective marketing strategy for the new product launch. 

Unleash the power of the six thinking hats method for brainstorming and take your ideation sessions to new heights!  

Explore the benefits of MindManager®, the ultimate mind mapping tool, to unlock innovative ideas, foster collaboration, and make informed decisions.  

Sign up for a free trial today and supercharge your brainstorming sessions with MindManager!

Six thinking hats frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Below are a few commonly asked questions about the six thinking hats brainstorming method:  

What is six thinking hats? 

The six thinking hats is a method developed by Edward De Bono for structured thinking and decision-making. It involves wearing six metaphorical hats, each representing a specific thinking style. 

This technique explores ideas, analyzes information, considers emotions, and facilitates well-rounded and effective discussions.  

How do teams use six thinking hats?   

Teams use the six thinking hats to develop unique perspectives and ideas. By assigning different hats to each participant, teams can work together to think outside the box and enjoy efficient and productive brainstorming, problem-solving, and decision-making. 

What are the benefits of six thinking hats?   

The benefits of six thinking hats include: 

  • Enhanced creativity 
  • Balanced perspectives 
  • Improved decision-making 
  • Efficient collaboration 
  • Effective problem-solving 
  • Increased productivity 

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