When it comes to being creative, it is important to put your mind to it
Martina Brunetti - Marketing and Training
At the basis of problem-solving and of an effective creative process, the right idea often comes from someone who thinks outside the box, breaks new ground, and has a flash of genius. Creativity, on the other hand, is not something that only a select few have or that occurs only in exceptional circumstances, but can be trained with methods that can increase the lateral thinking skills of the entire working team, such as the Six Thinking Hats technique.
Starting from the bottom
The author of the Six Thinking Hats technique, a method of lateral thinking, is Edward Bono, an expert in creativity and problem-solving, as well as the father of this thinking methodology.
Lateral thinking differs from vertical thinking in its nature: vertical thinking is rational thinking, it does not seek new interpretations of reality, it does achieve correct results, but implicit in the problem and based on habit. Lateral thinking, on the other hand, is used when alternative solutions are needed, when rigid and obsolete mentalities need to be subverted, allowing a different perspective.
How to put on the Hat
The technique can be performed by a single person wearing hats one after the other, but the ideal approach for a successful creative process is to carry out the exercise in a group, as it was conceived by the author, so that everyone wears a hat.
"Divide et impera", remarked Philip II of Macedon, and that, in a nutshell, is the focus of the method: playing six different roles and illustrating the situation from different perspectives.
The Six Thinking Hats are divided by colors: White, Red, Black, Yellow, Green, and Blue.
- be impartial and objective
- don’t interpret facts or give opinions
- only answers to specific questions
- be as specific as possible
- when reporting facts that are probable or believed to be true, specify this and, if possible, report the probability
- it takes a real commitment, as one can hardly avoid expressing an opinion
- express themselves in the most sincere way
- freely report thoughts and feelings
- avoid, in the emotional rush, exceeding the limits of decency
- highlight anything that does not work or might not work
- highlight errors, risks, and weaknesses
- neither demolish a proposed solution nor ridicule it
- try to be objective, critical, and realistic
- don’t be pessimist
- highlight positive aspects
- focus on the advantages and benefits of the idea or proposal
- still remain logical (enthusiasm belongs to the Red)
- hypothesize opportunities
- propose concrete solutions that have already been used (creative ideas are the responsibility of the Green)
- keep an optimist and constructive approach
- use creative and divergent thinking
- looking for new ideas beyond the obvious and the established
- thinking outside the box by challenging oneself
- try and find new alternatives
- find new means to practically translate the opportunities identified by Yellow
- organizing the creative process to catch the objective
- intervene with questions and direct thought
- awarding other Hats
- summarizing results
- summarizing conclusions
- make the process more productive by trying to keep the group focused
The interaction between the Six Thinking Hats generates a mapping of the various dimensions of thought that, on almost every occasion, leads to the resolution of a problem or the possible development of an idea or project.
What are the advantages?
This method has many advantages, including fostering creativity, improving exploration skills, and having a comprehensive approach to a given situation.
- Striking a balance between emotions, logic, information, and creativity.
- Being more flexible, thoughtful, and original
- Depersonalizing. Wearing a hat is like wearing a mask, which does not constrain, but offers greater freedom, facilitating self-expression, in part because previously set roles no longer have importance.
- Overcoming personal conflicts.
- Cooperating at the same level with a common objective.
- Rationalizing time. Avoid deadlocks by unblocking, in a few hours, situations that may have been the subject of days of discussions and meetings.
- Giving concreteness. It always leads to a result and is more productive than an ordinary meeting.
The application of a lateral thinking method is not only useful in the creative and communication sector, but can be used to tackle projects and problems in any field.
Have you ever tried the Six Thinking Hats technique? Send an e-mail to email@example.com. We can't wait to hear about your experiences.
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