Blue Hat Thinking focuses on managing the thinking process, keeping participants on track, and stating what has been accomplished.
Every Six Thinking Hats sequence begins and ends with Blue Hat Thinking. At the beginning of Six Hat Thinking, the Blue Hat is used to define the focus (what we’re going to think about). Under the Blue Hat, we also lay out which hats will be used, in what order, and for what amount of time. During the meeting, the Blue Hat takes requests and maintains discipline.
At the end of a Six Thinking Hats session or meeting, Blue Hat Thinking is used to note conclusions and determine next steps.
Blue Hat Thinking: Defining the Focus
In defining the focus, Blue Hat questions include these kinds of things:
- What is the subject?
- What are we thinking about?
- What is our goal?
“We agreed to hold this meeting to target the customers most likely to keep buying our products during an economic downturn.”
Blue Hat Thinking: Setting out the Agenda
Here we’re referring to making a plan for using the hats as well as for how and when we’re going to handle any other activity during the meeting.
“Okay, Blue Hat, everyone. We have the conference room for one hour. What hat sequence would make the most of our time?”
Blue Hat Thinking: Maintaining Discipline
When discussions become heated or get off track, there is a need for someone to put on the Blue Hat and control the situation. Otherwise, the thinking can quickly revert to the traditional argument.
”That is a good Yellow Hat point. Right now, however, we are using Green Hat Thinking and listing all of the alternatives we can think of.“
“The focus of this meeting is how to eliminate unnecessary steps in the ordering process. We can change the focus if we all agree, but we don’t want to drift away from it by accident. Let’s stick to the original focus for now.”
Blue Hat Thinking: Noting Conclusions
It is part of Blue Hat Thinking to state conclusions that a group seems to have reached and get agreement to or revision of the stated conclusions. Even if no decision has been made, the conclusion should note new ideas and approaches that have been considered. A summary is concerned with what has taken place. A conclusion is concerned with what has been achieved.
“The conclusion is that each sales area should decide on its own promotion and price-cutting policy.”