Six Thinking Hats

                                    “Tell me and I will forget,

                                 Show me and I will remember,

                              Involve me and I will understand”

-Chinese Proverb

“The proverb is the essence of creative problem solving and learning”, said Ms Preiti Juneja. It implies involvement by trying and practicing that leads to understanding, possessing skills and attitudes that permit you to seek resolutions to questions and issues while you construct new knowledge.

FIIB as a part of it’s management fest, “Sankalp” organised a workshop on “Six Thinking Hats-Creative Problem Solving” by Ms. Preiti Juneja, a corporate trainee in soft skills.

She started the session by talking about the evolution and the importance of soft skills. About 15 years back, training and development of employees wasn’t given much importance probably because of less competition at that time, but now a lot of emphasis is given on the development of these soft skills to have a competitive edge over others. Management is all about dealing with people, so it gets immensely important to have such skills. The BIG 4 Soft Skills that any recruiter looks for are: Interpersonal Skills, Communication Skills, Strategic Thinking and Leadership.

Ma’am cited stories about a few successful people and said the only common thing about all of them was that they are always Optimistic. They believe that they’ll find a way out in all struggles. In life there’s always a conflict between force and choice. Success may or may not come if you work forcedly but will definitely come if it’s by your choice.

Then it was time for a game, Acid River, where the audience was divided into groups of two and had to cross a hypothetical acid river, with the help of a few rocks. Now the crux of the game were, all the members had to form a chain by holding hands, no one could stand on one rock for more than 5 seconds, and the foot can’t go off the rock. After several attempts both the teams succeeded in crossing the river and the winning team was awarded with a prize. The game brought out the trust, coordination, and leadership qualities in the audience.

What is the first word when we hear the word “Problem”? Obstacle, decision making, opportunity, hurdle or an issue. Everyone has a different perspective of viewing the word problem. Problem is a hindrance that makes it difficult to achieve a goal. Ma’am shared a Problem Solving Model with the audience:

  • Define the problem.
  • Analyse the problem
  • Generate solutions
  • Analyse the solutions
  • Implement the solution
  • Monitor the progress

Beside these, four Problem Solving Tools were also shared:

  1. The Five Whys: It is a practice of repeatedly asking five times “why” to determine the root cause of the problem.
  2. 2.     The Six-Word Diagram: Here the problem is defined, then 6 questions, what, when, why, where, who and how along with what not, when not, why not, where not, who not and how not are framed. And then all brainstorm and analyse the questions.
  3. 3.     Fish Bone: It defines the cause and effect relationships. A diagram in the form of a fish bone is formed where the problem or the effect is written in a box and the possible causes or reasons are branched out from the box.
  4. 4.     Mind Maps: It involves drawing a pictorial diagram in your mind putting the main cause in the middle in a circle and the sub causes or subdivisions are lined out of the circle.

After all this we came to the main topic of “Six Thinking Hats”, but understanding this would have been impossible without the activities we had. Six Thinking Hats is a book by Edward de Bono. The term Six Thinking Hats using the right part of the brain i.e. the logical part, is the tool for group discussion and individual thinking. “Six Thinking Hats” and the associated idea parallel thinking, provide a means for groups to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way, and in doing so to think together more effectively.  While dealing with a situation all the members hypothetically wear different hats which are:

  • White hat: They deal with facts and figures. With this thinking hat you focus on the data available.
  • Green hat: The Green Hat stands for creativity. This is where you can develop innovative solutions to a problem.
  • Yellow hat: The yellow hat helps you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it.
  • Black Hat:  Using black hat, individuals observe all the negative points of the decision. They look at it cautiously and defensively and try to see why it might not work.
  • Red Hat: They collect opinions and reactions to the problem. You look at problems using intuition, gut reaction, and emotion.
  • Blue Hat: The Blue Hat stands for process control. This is the hat worn by people chairing meetings.

A variant of this technique is to look at problems from the point of view of different professionals (e.g. doctors, architects, sales directors, etc.) or different customers.

The concept of Six Thinking Hats was made more vivid by dividing the audience in group of three and each group been given the responsibility of one hat. A business situation was presented before the audience and each group had to give their point of view according to their respective hats for e.g. white hat had to show the facts. The green hat presented with some very innovative ideas and were awarded for their performance by Ms.Preiti.The activity was quite an interesting one and everybody’s involvement helped them understand the concept much better.

In the end the audience passed a ball to each other and did a quick recap of what was done in the session. Ma’am wished the audience a prosperous and a bright future. The workshop was concluded by thanking ma’am for sharing her valuable time and knowledge and giving her a token of gratitude on behalf of FIIB.