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Thinking hats

Have you ever been wondering why UX designers are wearing hats with six different colours? Let's find out more on thinking hats today.


Have you ever seen a group of UX designers and every one of them had a hat with a different color? Crazy people, right? This is a creative technique called thinking haps that was developed by Edward de Bono and published in 1986. Roll the intro. 



Seriously: We, as UX designers, are not wearing those hats. This technique can be used during the ideation phase of a project. Every participant of the discussion is given a specific role represented by his or her hat color. 

Red hat: The participant wearing the red hat needs to focus on emotional reactions like anger, fear, hope, frustration, or happiness. 

Let's move on to the Green hat: If you are wearing the green hat, your responsibility is to be creative and seek new ways and solutions to solve the problems of your discussion. 

And the Blue hat: The person with the blue hat needs to focus on processes and structures. He/she needs to be aware of the big picture at all times. 

The yellow hat: The task of the yellow hat is to think of the best-case scenario for the problem discovered or solution created.

White hat: When you were given this hat, your responsibility is to focus on facts and analytic thinking. You need to know some statistics from the past and learn from them for future ideas.

The last hat, the black hat: The main task of this person is to think of the risks and things that could go wrong with your approach to solve the problem. 

Don't worry if you did not remember all of the hats. If one specific hat is essential during the rest of this show, we will remind you what it stands for. Let's take a short break before we discuss the advantages and problems with this method. 



What do you think about this song? Good, right? But let's bring the focus back to our topic of today - thinking hats. This creative technique is fundamental to every UX designer as it reflects the topic chosen for the session from different angles, and therefore the results of the ideation will be more secured against setbacks.

If you did not have the green hat for being creative, for example, it would be a significant loss in the group as fewer solution approaches would be created during the ideation process. 

On the other hand, if the black hat which focuses on risks and possible setbacks was missing, the solution to the problem would be too optimistic, and the solution would probably be developed too naively. 

To sum it up: every hat has its responsibility that plays an essential role during the discussion and the ideation process in general. And this is a big advantage that the results are not only new ideas, but those ideas were also already evaluated to some degree by the persons participating in the discussion. 

This was the second section of today's episode - time for the second break, right? 



One more part to go in today's episode! And there is a downside with that technique. Some participants might feel insecure if they had to take a hat that doesn't fit his or her strengths. If a very creative person that would prefer the green hat has to wear the white hat that is made for analytic thinking, he or she might feel uncomfortable due to the new approach of thinking that might not be his or her strength. 

But even this is a good aspect of this technique. People might have to get out of their comfort zone, which is probably the worst zone you can be in because it is perilous. If you never get outside and do something uncomfortable, you will not make any progress and will be stuck in your current situation. It will be impossible to improve your situation without getting embarrassed and trying new things. 

This podcast: In the beginning, it was way out of my comfort zone. I actually recorded the first episode six times because I was too nervous. Today - I got comfortable with it, and I increased my comfort zone by leaving it. And so can you! Most people are afraid of failing when doing something they have never done before. But you can not fail when you never stop doing something until you succeed in the end!

Now that's it for today! I hope you enjoyed today's episode of the UX Globals podcast. I will be back again tomorrow, and I will appreciate it if you are too. Remember: Always keep pushing. Enjoy your day!

Find out more about thinking hats on the UX Platform.

Your Host

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UXD Chris

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