Edward de Bono has developed a technique for creativity that has been outlined in his book the Six Thinking Hats. 1 The objective of his approach is to encourage problem solving and creativity by having team members wear different hats. This approach just might help to reduce relationships where the power distance is high. The following presents a brief overview of how the different hats influence team interactions and information gathering:
- White Hat Thinking: This involves gathering facts and figures related to the problem. It is also used to identify areas where more information is required.
- Red Hat Thinking: This involves emotional thinking. Gut feelings and passionate evangelism are permitted.
- Green Hat Thinking: This is where creativity is encouraged. Creative solutions are in order and you can draw it from the approaches discussed earlier (flipping, idea arbitrage, combining ideas, and unlimited resources).
- Black Hat Thinking: This involves the use of critique and judgment to assess the negative aspects of a solution. Key questions to be asked include whether the solution is viable and whether it can be executed.
- Yellow Hat Thinking: This involves the positive aspects of a solution. It is important to be optimistic about the solution when under the yellow hat.
- Blue Hat Thinking: This involves trying to get a strategic look at the problem. An attempt is made to get at the big picture in terms of where were we, where do we want to go, and how do we get there.
The six hats approach is a useful activity that may help to bring different perspectives into the creative process as well as reduce high levels of power distance. When implemented properly, it encourages participation and helps reduce dysfunctional power relationships among team members.