Six Thinking Hats ®

Six Thinking Hats is a time-tested, proven, and practical thinking tool. It provides a framework to help people think clearly and thoroughly by directing their thinking attention in one direction at a time – white hat facts, green hat creativity, yellow hat benefits, black cautions, red hat feelings, and blue hat process.

Best used for

Better, more productive thinking and idea.  Improved communication, collaboration and understanding. Increased levels of creative thinking and fresh ideas.

Time to introduce this activity in lecture / Time to run this activity

30 min / 60 min

In the context of Digital Social Impact courses and learning activities

Great way of getting students to creatively think using different “hats” about societal problems and test/validate solutions and decisions.

Main Target Group

Lecturers and Students

Potential tools for digitising this activity

This could be done digitally using a tool like Zoom using breakout rooms. Each “hat” is a different breakout room. On Mural, Padlet etc. each “hat” would have its own workspace, students could add post-its as they move from one hat to another.

Step by Step

1 There are six different coloured hats that can be put on or taken off to indicate a mode or strand of thinking. Only one hat is worn at any one time by the individual or group (in parallel) allowing more thorough, expansive thinking, increased creativity, and decision-making. The six thinking hats is a fluid activity, students “try on” the thinking hats as needed.

2 Blue Hat: “the Conductor’s Hat” When you or your team are in blue hat mode, you focus on controlling your thinking and managing the decision-making process. You have an agenda, ask for summaries, and reach conclusions.

3 Green Hat: “the Creative Hat” The green hat represents creative thinking. When you’re “wearing” this hat, you explore a range of ideas and possible ways forward.


4 Red Hat: “the Hat for the Heart” This hat represents feelings and instincts. When you’re engaged in this type of thinking, you can express your feelings without having to justify them logically.


5 Yellow Hat: “the Optimist’s Hat” With yellow hat thinking, you look at issues in the most positive light possible. You accentuate the benefits and the added value that could come from your ideas.


6 Black Hat: “the Judge’s Hat” This hat is about being cautious and assessing risks. You employ critical judgment and explain exactly why you have concerns.

Tip: The black hat is one of the most powerful hats, but it’s often overused. Make sure that you and your team can justify any critical or cautionary comments, so that this mode of thinking doesn’t dominate your decision making.

7 White Hat: “the Factual Hat” The white hat represents information gathering. Think about the knowledge and insights that you’ve collected already – but also the information you’re missing, and where you can go to get it.