Published 2 Sep 2022
What is a Six Thinking Hats Template?
A six thinking hats template is a tool used in brainstorming, planning, decision-making, and problem-solving sessions or discussions that helps provide an easier way of looking at ideas and solutions through different perspectives using guide questions under each of the six thinking hats. This tool is designed to help discuss, probe, and gauge an idea or problem further using the six thinking hats technique developed by Dr. Edward de Bono in 1985.
This free six thinking hats template can help individuals, teams, and organizations arrive at better decisions by effectively using the six thinking hats technique in their brainstorming, decision-making, and planning sessions. Through the help of this downloadable template, maximize the benefits of the six thinking hats technique and do the following:
- “Wear” each thinking hat at a time and answer the guide questions during each step.
- Create actions, add notes, and upload media attachments such as photos, videos, and PDFs for reference materials you need during the meeting or session.
- Supply supporting notes as well as recommendations and next steps.
- Export it into a six thinking hats template PDF report that you can use as a reference for your succeeding brainstorming and planning sessions.
This article discusses:
- why using a six thinking hats template is important;
- what should be included in it;
- a six thinking hats template example;
- how a powerful platform can help you perform efficient brainstorming sessions;
- FAQs about six thinking hats templates; and
- free templates you can download and customize based on your needs.
Each of the six thinking hats serves a different purpose or mode of thinking. When used by teams or during group discussions, it’s important to ensure that everyone uses the same hat at the same time. Its essence is to help avoid unnecessary conflicts between the various modes of thinking and follow a set structure or order of using the hats in resolving problems or addressing situations. By using a six thinking hats template, the facilitator can easily keep everyone reminded to use the same hat simultaneously since it also helps dictate the flow of the discussion.
On the other hand, it’s also crucial to use guide questions that are aimed to be answered when each thinking hat is being used. While these questions can be customizable to fit different scenarios, ensuring that they stick to the central theme or representation of each hat is key to achieving the ultimate goal when using or “wearing” a specific hat. A 6 thinking hats template walks you through each hat using guide questions to help you account for details and important data needed for the problem being solved or project or idea being explored.
In order to make the use of the six thinking hats technique more effective, having a standard template is encouraged. Even more so, it helps ensure that no thinking hat—blue for organizing and planning, white for gathering facts, green for fostering creativity, yellow for establishing value, red for recognizing feelings, and black for identifying risks—is overlooked or unused in the process.
Hence, here are the key details and sections you must include:
The first page of your six thinking hats template should include basic details about the project or idea being explored. Hence, allot this page for the following information:
- Meeting Date
- Meeting Location
- Project Name/Idea/Problem
Separate Pages for Each Thinking Hat
- Blue Hat – Conductor’s Hat; represents organization and planning through agenda setting and the sequence of using the succeeding hats
- White Hat – Factual Hat; discusses all available and needed information as well as its key sources that will help evaluate and validate an idea, concept, or project
- Green Hat – Creative Hat; responsible for idea generation and conceptualization
- Yellow Hat – Value Hat; looks at the positive aspects and identifies the benefits and values
- Red Hat – Intuitive Hat; explores the emotions and feelings for and about the topic being discussed or addressed
- Black Hat – Cautious Hat; takes into account the negative implications of the project with the aim to take steps in mitigating the risks or consequences involved
This recommended process by TSW Training helps you effectively use the six thinking hats in a logical order, but you can always customize it the way you, your team, and your organization need it.
Lastly, allot the final page of your template for the following details:
- Recommendations and Next Steps
To help you better understand what this template looks like, here’s a six thinking hats example when you use it in iAuditor:
iAuditor by SafetyCulture is an operations platform that helps teams and organizations simplify their brainstorming sessions and decision making processes through the help of the six thinking hats technique and powered by useful templates toward collaborative and conflict-free thinking processes. Using iAuditor, be able to do the following:
- Download and customize, as well as create templates and forms.
- Customize six thinking hats templates based on your needs, whether you’re working individually or as a group.
- Use sliders, multiple-choice response sets, and dropdown menus for your response sets in filling in information when conducting brainstorming sessions, planning meetings, and similar discussions.
- Include text fields and number fields for short or long answers when filling in key details, such as answers to guide questions under each thinking hat. You may also add photos and videos (up to 3 minutes long) of planning resources and other supporting media documentation.
- Use the iAuditor Exporter and integration capability so you can export accomplished templates into various formats like PDF, Excel, and Google Sheets files.
- Automatically save completed six thinking hats templates in the cloud for secure recordkeeping toward building a healthy and sustainable culture of collaboration and cooperation.
- Use Heads Up for workplace communication.
- Leverage insights and data.
- Use the Analytics dashboard to easily track the overall trends and historical performance of the organization when it comes to the continuous implementation of best practices in meetings and sessions.
- Generate relevant reports that you can use in pinpointing and addressing common concerns or issues encountered during planning, ideation, and touch-base efforts.
FAQs About Six Thinking Hats Templates
Six thinking hats templates can be used by anyone who’s in charge of or involved in brainstorming sessions, planning stages, and decision-making processes in an organization or a team. Often, meeting leaders or facilitators widely use such templates to help streamline the overall process of the brainstorming or planning session.
Using each section of the six thinking hats template, members of the meeting answer guide questions to help them further analyze or evaluate an idea or problem. Such questions are crucial in making the discussion flow smoothly and ensuring every perspective is considered.
Generally, using the six thinking hats technique along with a well-crafted template for it lets you:
- Look at and probe different problems, ideas, and concepts from six various perspectives more efficiently using the guide questions under each thinking hat stated in the template;
- Establish a reliable way of recording ideas, factors to consider, possible risks to face, and other details relevant to the overall project or idea being explored;
- Practice parallel thinking among the team which can bring about favorable results in collaboration; and
- Encourage everyone involved in the session to think outside the box and wear the thinking hats more intentionally.
Free Six Thinking Hats Templates
This free 6 thinking hats template (stand-alone sections) lets you “wear” the thinking hats based on what you only need during a specific meeting or session. This is best used when you identify opportunities that you haven’t tapped during the initial session conducted, letting you further probe ideas or problems in-depth by focusing on just one or more thinking hats. Simply choose the color of hat/s you’ll be wearing during the meeting, and answer the guide questions.
Another approach you can use in evaluating or analyzing an idea, concept, problem, or project is the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle with the help of this free PDCA template. Using this cycle, you can “wear” the first four hats—blue, white, green, and yellow—when undergoing each of the steps. During the Plan phase, wear the blue hat. Use the white hat when gathering information and objective results to aid the Do stage. Utilize the green hat when checking opportunities and ideas on how effective the idea is. Lastly, wear the yellow hat for further exploration of the results and solutions with the purpose of validating the overall effectiveness of the problem-solving process.
Use this free root cause analysis template when you and your team want to wear the black hat in a more in-depth way. Since doing so means you’re aiming to probe the risks or implications associated with the idea or problem you’re exploring, you might come across scenarios wherein you’ll need to pinpoint the root cause/s. Through this template, be able to briefly describe the issue, rate its impact on productivity, and list the potential reasons why the issue happened. Apart from that, discuss and recommend prevention strategies and complete the report by including a sign-off.