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Feedback Hats

Six Thinking Hats is a book by Edward de Bono which describes a tool for group discussion and individual thinking involving six colored hats. "Six Thinking Hats" and the associated idea “parallel thinking” provide a tool for groups to look at concepts from different angles. As a feedback activity, the thinking hats provide different lenses for constructive peer feedback on ideas and concepts. Members of the team present ideas or work in progress to the rest of the team. Selected people give feedback to the presenters from the perspective of one of de Bono’s thinking hats.

  1. Step 1:

    Edward De Bono’s six hats represent different modes of thinking and working. In this exercise participants will use them to give feedback on ideas or work in progress.

    You can find lots of detailed information through the links in the references sections, but in short De Bono’s 6 Hats represent:

    • Information and facts (White) Brightness and optimism (Yellow)
    • Judgement and cynicism (Black) Feelings, hunches, and intuition (Red)
    • Creativity and possibility (Green) Process and control (Blue)

    Other hats that we find useful are:

    • Money: considering the business potential and possibility of the ideas
    • Innovation: considering the uniqueness and utility of the ideas
    • Value: considering how meaningful the ideas are for the good of the world
  2. Step 2:

    In a workshop setting, have the participants in teams or as individuals present their ideas or concepts to each other.

    Before each presentation issue different hats (either real hats, stickers, or sheets of paper) to different audience members, ensuring that they are relevant to the content and the purpose of the session. Each hat-wearer should watch the presentation through the lens of their hat.

    When the presentation is over invite feedback from the hat-wearers.

  3. Step 3:

    After each presentation, reassign the hats so that different members of the group get a chance to practice giving feedback from different positions.