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Generating ideas by accessing the most important aspects

Welcome back with a new article that we hope will inspire and transform both your current projects and especially your big plans. We propose a method that will challenge you and your colleagues to approach solutions from a variety of angles. And yes, sometimes it won’t be comfortable, but that’s also what the ideation process is about: sometimes it’s necessary to be in a position you’re less used to in order to stimulate your creativity to overcome the situation.

6 Thinking Hats

Developed by Edward de Bono and detailed in his book, Six Thinking Hats – The Quick Thinking Method, the tool is a powerful one for both generating ideas and checking them. It is notable for eliminating the various tensions that arise during mental processes, which it also sorts out, and for challenging you to consider a topic from multiple perspectives.

It is suitable both as an individual and team exercise, both in brainstorming and in decision-making meetings. Our recommendation is to use it for medium to high difficulty projects and in working teams.

How it works:

There is a discussion leader who takes participants through the different ways the issue can be approached. On a metaphorical level, when putting on one of the hats, participants should generate representative input of the colour.

Meaning of colours
  • Blue: often the leader of the discussion, the one who provides the big picture. They should set the scene for the discussion, explain to the participants what the objective and problem are and manage the discussion. It can be passed on to other participants to challenge them to take an overall evaluative position.
  • White: known things. This is the hat that focuses participants on the clear, pragmatic facts and issues.
  • Yellow: symbolises optimism and positive approach. The point where you explore strengths and benefits
  • Black: critical thinking by exposing risks, difficulties, problems. It’s about managing risks: the idea is to discover them so that you can then mediate them. You have to go through the worst-case scenarios.
  • Red: it’s the hat of intuitions and feelings. When you get to this stage, the idea is to express the emotions you feel about the subject.
  • Green: symbolises creativity. The point where you look for new ideas and perceptions or unique things.
Questions for each category
  • Blue: What kind of approach is needed? What has happened so far? What does success look like?
  • White: What is the budget? What is the deliverable? What information do we have? What more information do we need to get?
  • Yellow: What are the strengths? What can be exciting about the project?
  • Black: What can go wrong? Do we really have to do it this way?
  • Red: How does it make me feel? What would be my first reaction? What is my intuition telling me?
  • Green: What other ideas could we come up with? How could we solve this problem differently?

How to use them:

Depending on what you want to achieve, you use them in the order in which you want the topic to be addressed. You don’t have to integrate them all, the only colour that should always be present is Blue, which is necessary to ensure the integrated vision.

To get you started, we suggest a series of processes to help you in your future projects:

Because the outcome of the process will go directly to the consumer, it is very important to make sure that we also understand the emotional component.

The process relies on a positive approach to set campaign goals at the end of which you get a series of hard facts and directions to be developed creatively.

This is a process that relies on exploring the possibilities and the emotions generated by them, which only then pass through a critical thinking filter towards the final result. Information and other pragmatics are accommodated at the end as part of the decision-making process, with the blue component providing sufficient directional space for creation.

This process focuses on understanding the problem and the drivers and accommodating the proposals to the needs raised. It has a dual critical thinking filter to generate a pragmatic approach to both requirements and outcome.