J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Put Your Thinking Hat On

Put Your Thinking Hat On

  • Comments 1

I'm a fan of using different techniques for improving thinking. Here's a write-up on Six Thinking Hats.  This book presents a simple and effective thinking framework.  What I like about the approach is that it's both effective for individuals as well as a team.  What I also like about the approach is that rather than focus on trying to change personalities, it creates a way for different personalities to play well together.  Imagine the time you'll save in meetings!

Because Six Thinking Hats uses the hats as a metaphor, nobody gets a label.  Instead, the entire team can put on the relevant hat for the task at hand: white, red, black, yellow, green, or blue.  Imagine the surprises you get when the dominantly data-driven put on their green hats and get creative.  Better yet, imagine what happens when the overly optimistic put on their black hats and play the "devil's advocate"?

What's interesting is this type of mode switching already happens.  For example, in security we use white hats and black hats.  On my team, I often ask, "what's your gut say" to tap into intuition and emotions.  If I see the team too optimisitic, I ask "why won't this work?".

I think having a simple set of metaphorical hats and rules for the game will really help improve thinking and collaboration, and avoid the stale-mates that can often happen in meetings.  As the author puts it, you "think your way forward versus judge your way forward."

  • Walt Disney had a similar approach and Robert Dilts co-founder, avid researcher, and author in the field of NLP described it in the Disney Creativity Model. It includes the roles: DREAMER, REALIST & CRITIC.

    You want to be clear about which role you are "in" or as JD puts it what hat you put on; and let the dreamer get some space and time; before you start shooting at the crazy ideas.

    Referene: DISNEY MODEL

    “Tools for Dreamers: Strategies for Creativity and the Structure of Innovation”

    by Robert Dilts (Meta Publications, 1991)

    I found a summary on:

    http://www.change-management-toolbook.com/tools/pm_02.html

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