SCA turned me into a six-year-old – By @elisaczerwenka

By Elisa Czerwenka


SCA turned me into a six-year-old


A couple of months ago, Marc introduced us to the system of six thinking hats by Edward de Bono. It is a set of tools to help you think in more effective and also creative ways, by using six different hats. Each of the hats represents a way of thinking, and by imagining “wearing” one (literally or metaphorically), it helps frame your thoughts on a project or problem. The following is a summary of the six hats and how they have been helping us in the creative process.

Why it works

Our brains like to think in several distinct ways, which can be challenged. De Bono identified six ways, hence the 6 hats. None of them come entirely natural to us, but everybody tends to have their favourite hat or default hat – The one which they tend to think in, even when it is not asked for.

Here are the six directions (hats):

White hat: Facts

focus on the available data. Look at the information that you have, analyse past trends, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and try to either fill them or take account of them. This is the best hat to ask questions about the brief or the problem you’re trying to solve.

Red hat: Feelings

With the Red Hat, you look at problems using your intuition and your emotions. It is also worth discussing how others react emotionally to whatever you’re proposing. Try to get in their shoes and use empathy. 

Black hat: Cautions

Using Black Hat thinking,  we look at a decision’s potentially negative outcomes. Try to see why and an idea might not work. Why it could fail?  The black hat sounds negative, but it is crucial to make your work do its job. It allows you to eliminate flaws, alter them, or prepare actions to counter them. This hat is particularly important for me because I naturally tend to think positively. This hat helps me to counter that.

Yellow hat: Benefits

My natural or default hat. It is the optimistic viewpoint that allows you to see all the benefits of the decision and the value in it. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.

Green hat: Creativity

The Green Hat represents creativity. This is where you develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a freewheeling way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas.

Blue Hat: Process

this hat represents planning the process.
What do we need to do to get to a solution? Planning for action.

The way it works is that you start with blue and end with blue, the rest of the order can be random. I like to put in the black hat as early as possible but that’s a subjective choice. I need to make sure I cover the cautions and flaws of an idea too. I tend to get too excited thinking about making it work rather than preventing it from failing. This whole process should take less than 30mins. I like to spend 2-3 mins on each hat.

Why it works for me

When  I learned about six hats, I wasn’t sure how they are going to help me. As the second term progressed, I realised that while I was making progress and learning new things, some of my ideas felt unfinished. A lovely spark of concept but limited executions. Or they felt like I had the handbrake on while coming up with the executions. So what could I do? It was a matter of time management. But rather than trying to manage it better in my schedule, I felt like I lacked efficiency in how I spent some of my time.

But where? Just as my partner Ellie and I were discussing solutions, Marc reminded us of this system. He suggested a schedule for the week, including six hat sessions. My partner and I immediately committed to it.

It worked wonders.

The same day we six hatted every – single – bit of our work.

First of all, it was incredible to see how efficient we could think in less than 30 mins. We went through the hats in no time and enjoyed it like it was a game. On top of having fun, we realised we had come up with media channels we never used before. We designed executions we’d never seen before, and with the use of black hat, we could make our work more convincing.

So, we started thinking about enhancing our process even more. If we used it so much, how could we make this process more interesting? I convinced Ellie to get a big soft dice 20x20cm, just like children use in school. Since we have six hats, I painted each side in a different colour. When we need to choose hats, we roll the dice, rather than losing time on choosing ourselves. We randomise the process more by doing so.

It might sound stupid to some, why we would do that. You imagine us rolling the dice around like 6-year-olds. But if I have learned one thing at SCA, it’s to do whatever works for yourself and to make sure you create the best work possible. If I produce better work throwing soft dice around then so be it.

If you have never heard about six hats before, why don’t you give them a try on your next idea?


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