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  • One of my most life-changing moments took place back in college: I was giving a presentation

  • on a product I had been developing over the semester, and midway through my talk, the

  • professor interrupted with a question that caught me off guard: “Can we see the other

  • concepts you worked on?”

  • My face turned red.

  • The answer was no, because I didn't have any.

  • I was presenting the only idea I had worked on, because I thought it was great.

  • The instructor was less than impressed.

  • Walking out of the classroom a little while later, I looked down at notes my instructor

  • had left for me on my assignment.

  • There, scribbled in red pen, were instructions that would fundamentally change how I approach

  • my ideas: “Research the Six Thinking Hats Method.”

  • Six Thinking Hats is a system designed in the 1980s by the psychologist and inventor

  • Edward de Bono.

  • The process involves wearing different imaginaryhats,” which represent different mindsets

  • and emotions, allowing people to look at an idea from various angles with a different

  • focus each time.

  • The main difficulty of thinking is confusion,” de Bono has said.

  • We try to do too much at once.

  • Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us.

  • It is like juggling with too many balls.”

  • Originally developed as a way to make meetings more productive, Six Thinking Hats has since

  • been adopted by the creative world as a way to critique ideas.

  • The method allows you to be creative and bold in a safe space, while forcing you to also

  • be honest and realistic.

  • While you can use it in meetings, I like to use it on my own — I think of it as having

  • a personal team of consultants, each with their own expertise.

  • But in this case, they're all living inside my brain.

  • The Six Thinking Hats are as follows: The Blue Hat, also known as the Management

  • Hat, is used at the start of the conversation to define the outlines of an idea, and at

  • the end to summarize and draw conclusions.

  • With this hat, you're stepping back and getting the 10,000-foot-view of your idea,

  • getting a sense of what to look at during and after the critique.

  • Next comes the White Hat.

  • When wearing this hat, you are looking for facts and data.

  • This should be the first hat you use after setting your outline, as it allows you to

  • establish relevant facts and information about your idea.

  • Ask yourself: What is the concept, in its basic form?

  • What is its purpose?

  • Who does it serve?

  • You should also use this hat to discover any gaps in your knowledge and understanding of

  • your concept.

  • The Yellow Hat brings a bit of positivity, and establishes the value of what you're

  • working on.

  • Ask yourself: What is great about your idea?

  • What benefits would it bring?

  • Remember to keep your enthusiasm in check, though.

  • Look for the true value in the concept, and keep expectations realistic.

  • The Red Hat comes next.

  • This is where you can get a little emotional.

  • With this hat on, you're looking for the emotive response you get from your idea.

  • Ask yourself: How does this make me feel?

  • What is my reaction when I first see this idea?

  • Then think outside yourselfwhat would a user's reaction be, if they had never

  • seen it before?

  • Now, we flip things upside down and get ruthlessly negative with the Black Hat.

  • Ask yourself: Why wouldn't your idea work?

  • What are the issues and flaws?

  • What are the drawbacks?

  • By uncovering the potential problems, you can remove them and develop a stronger concept.

  • Be careful not to bring in this hat too early in the discussions, as it can hinder any positive

  • ideas that may come up.

  • It's time to let your mind off the leash with the Green Hat.

  • Now that you're aware of potential issues and flaws, how are you going to work through

  • them?

  • Ask yourself: What can you improve?

  • What can be reiterated?

  • Or is there a completely fresh idea forming in your head?

  • If so, what is it?

  • This is where you can get creative and begin fresh brainstorming.

  • Use everything you have gained from the exercise to begin developing new ideas and directions.

  • The day I learned about the Six Thinking Hats was the day I learned an important, if uncomfortable

  • lesson: Even if you're amped about an ideaeven if you've run through it in your

  • head a hundred times, sketched out a logo, and prepared to release it to wild acclaim

  • that idea may still suck.

  • Or at the very least, it may need to be seriously refined.

  • When you hold on too tightly to your original concept, because of your pride or your ego,

  • it blinds you to the possibilities ahead.

  • The Six Thinking Hats can transform your idea from something mediocre to something good,

  • and from something good to something that could change your life.

One of my most life-changing moments took place back in college: I was giving a presentation

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A2 UK hat idea thinking concept critique creative

Turn a Good Idea Into a Great One With the 'Six Thinking Hats'

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