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Process improvement project - Communication -

thinking hats
Six Thinking Hats reflects the six ways of thinking:

  • Factual - Facts we know or need to know

  • Emotional

  • Optimistic

  • Creativity

  • Constructive criticism based on analysis - critical

  • Planning – thinking about thinking


If you take a meeting environment, you will often find one person trying to explain a situation and describe what’s happened, the next person have many great ideas, the next does not agree to any ideas, and the next is thinking there is no way these ideas will be applied in my department.


  • Factual – “The supplier has done this”, “these customers are complaining about it”

  • Emotion – “no way is that happening in my department”, we should be placing more than enough orders”

  • Optimism – “what’s in it for us” type statements, “we´ll be able to cut costs and increase customer satisfaction”

  • Creativity – “what if we changed our process using xxx?”

  • Critical – “that won’t work”, “that will only work if…”

  • Planning – “we´ll start the meeting by reviewing the facts, then we´ll discuss the benefits”


Thinking Hats provides a framework to help overcome meeting issues.


Colors of the Hats:

  • FACTUAL - WHITE: White hat thinking considers just the facts and figures surrounding a problem. This approach involves analyzing trends and past data to arrive at a solution. The white hat thinking says things like “let’s examine the database”.

  • EMOTIONAL - REDWith red thinking, emotions are foremost, and gut reaction is important. Red hat thinkers say things like “I think this is a bad idea” or “I feel that resources would be wasted on that type of communication.”

  • OPTIMISTIC - YELLOWYellow hat thinking is optimistic and positive, pointing out the benefits of an idea, or solution. Yellow hat thinkers say things like “This solution will improve productivity by 10%”.

  • CREATIVITY - GREENGreen hat thinking is creative, proposing alternatives to the suggested ideas or solutions. Green hat thinkers say things like “we could try this alternative instead”.

  • CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM BASED ON ANALYSIS - BLACK: Black hat thinking is logical and judgmental, pointing out an idea’s bad points and potential pitfalls of a solution. Black hat thinkers say things like “that solution will require technology we don’t have”.


  • PLANNING - BLUE: Blue hat thinkers are the leaders of a session, focusing the thoughts of the other types of thinkers. Blue hat thinkers summarize the thoughts of participants and keep the flow going. They say things like “I think we should try some green hat thinking now”.

You can use this methodology when holding DMAIC meetings. 

Six thinking hats at Lean4U


  • White Factual = ask these types to explain What Is the Situation

  • Red Emotional = ask these types to help develop the Problem or Goal Statement

  • Yellow Optimistic = ask these types to help put together the Benefits of the project


This approach helps very well when holding a meeting to discuss a Project Charter.


Tool created by Edward De Bono.

Training and workshops at

As a Lean consultancy, we are passionate about simplicity and Lean is a mindset that we apply in all our areas of activity. Our Lean Office and Leadership-oriented communication training programs act as a catalyst to help you accelerating your professional skills and abilities to face the future of work.

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