Why 6 Hats? Because the human brain thinks in a number of distinct ways we can develop strategies for thinking about particular issues. Dr de Bono identifies six distinct states that the brain can focus on. In each of these states the brain will identify and bring into conscious thought certain aspects of issues being considered (e.g. gut instinct, pessimistic judgment, neutral facts).
Six distinct states are identified and assigned a color: Information: (White) - considering purely what information is available, what are the facts? Emotions (Red) - instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification) Bad points judgment (Black) - logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers, seeking mismatch Good points judgment (Yellow) - logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony Creativity (Green) - statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes Thinking (Blue) - thinking about thinking
Coloured hats are used as metaphors for each state. Switching to a different thinking state is symbolized by the act of putting on a coloured hat, either literally or metaphorically. These metaphors means people can separate their thoughts and focus on one thinking state at a time. All of these thinking hats help to think more deeply. Dr de Bono asserts that the best way to use the hats is one at a time, ad when used in a group that everyone in the group wears the same hat at the same time so that each hats thinking state can be properly used.