Six Hats Thinking
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Six Hats Thinking

Black Hat. You be the judge.

The Black Hat is the hat of fault-finding and nit-picking.

It’s black to remind us of the clothing worn by a judge in court.

The Black Hat is the hat you pretend to wear when you are looking to identify difficulties and potential problems.

Sometimes, there is a very profound reason for using Black Hat thinking.

For example, we may want to help a team stay out of trouble — ethically, legally or regulatory by highlighting potential areas of concern..

Other times, Black Hat thinking is a way a facilitator (the Blue Hat wearer) can prevent a group from getting carried away with the positive aspects of an idea.

Black Hat thinking comes easily to us. It’s part of being human — a Western human at least — to find fault. So we should wear the Black Hat sparingly.

But, note well, the Black Hat is about realism, not knee-jerk opinion (which is Red Hat thinking).

If, for example, you believe that you could lose customers if new production delivery dates slip, this needs to be based on an element of truth, or a hypothesis that holds water.

One detailed Black Hat tool is known by the acronym ‘OPV’ or Other People’s Views.

By adopting a different perspective, we may broaden our search for Black Hat difficulties.




Read what happens when I think about an issue using Edward de Bono’s famous Six Hats process.

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Philip Morley

Philip Morley

I turn fluff into concrete. I help businesses communicate the most complicated things clearly and simply.

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