“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, 1937

Key Features

Adapted from: de Bono, E. (1992). Teach Your Child How to Think.[3]


White Hat: Facts and Numbers

De Bono says to think of…

A typed report, computer printout or a newspaper

Role of the hat:

  • Focuses directly on the available information
  • Facts
  • Neutral and objective information
  • There are no suggestions, ideas or arguments

Key Questions when wearing the White Hat

1. What information do we have?
2. What information is missing?
3. How do we get the information weneed?

Red Hat: Feelings and Emotions


De Bono says to think of…

Anger and joy but also fire and warmth

Role of the Hat:
  • Emotions
  • Feelings likes and dislikes
  • Hunches
  • Intuition

Key Questions when wearing the Red Hat

1. What do you like about the idea?
2. How do you feel about this?
3. What don’t you like about this?
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Black Hat: Negatives / Judgment

De Bono says to think of…

A stern Judge

Role of the hat
  • Hat of critical thinking
  • prevents us from making mistakes

Key Questions when wearing the Black Hat

1. Will it work?
2. Does it fit?
3. What are the dangers and the problems?


Yellow Hat : Positives

De Bono says to think of…
Sunshine and optimism

Role of the Hat
  • benefits of the idea
  • is full of hope, however a logical reason behind the hope must be given

Key question when wearing the Yellow Hat

1. What are the benefits?
2. Why should it work?
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Green Hat: Creative

De Bono says to think of…
Grass, trees, vegetation and growth

Role of the Hat
  • used for creative thinking
  • concerned with proposals, suggestions, new ideas, new alternatives, new solutions and inventions
  • Emphasis is on ‘newness’ Grass, trees, vegetation and growth

Key questions when wearing the Green Hat should focus on:

1. Exploration of the ideas
2. Proposals and suggestions
3. Alternatives
4. New ideas
5. Provocations

Blue Hat: The Big Picture 

De Bono says to think of…
Blue Sky which is above everything orblue_dog.jpg the Conductor of an orchestra

Role of the hat:
  • the process control
  • above the thinking’ looking down on the thinking
  • thinking about thinking!

Key Questions when wearing the Blue Hat

What sort of thinking is needed?
Where are we now?
What is the next step?
Where have we been?

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