Thinking skills can actually be taught. Thinking is so important in your daily life and in business. You will find that you have access to a lot of information and that you can learn from that information. Your business success will be determined by how you “think” with the information that is given to you or that you search for. We have developed some interesting exercises to help you think in different ways.

We have created some thinking activities to help you learn more about thinking and how to improve how you think. You will find that in school you focus mostly on absorbing information and repeating it on tests, quizzes and other exercises. You will also find that you are exposed mostly to reactive thinking that asks you to respond to something that is put in front of you. We are creating tools to help you use a variety of thinking approaches that will allow you to think differently.

You will find that in business your thinking skills are very important. You can have all the information in the world available to you, but you must be able to think with it.

Thinking Hats

You may be familiar with the “thinking hat” expression. We are suppose to think better when we have a thinking hat on. We don’t actually put a hat on (you can if it helps), we just focus on thinking. The only problem is we don’t necessarily know how to think. We are going to use a “thinking hat” concept that introduces you to a number of ways to think about things.

By understanding a number of “thinking hats”, you will be able to use these approaches to think in a number of ways and think much better.As we develop this section, you will realize that great thinking will use all of these approaches. It kind of boils down to; when you think about something, think about it in more ways than one.

The multiple thinking hat concept was developed by Edward de Bono and can be examined in greater detail in “Teach Your Child How To Think”.

White Hat Thinking

This hat allows you to think about facts, figures and information. It also helps you use information in your thinking process. When you are thinking about something there are many tools to help you such as books, the Internet, or by asking somebody for the facts. Before you make a decision use information to help you come up with your decision. This is becoming much easier as we are in the “information age”.


Think through the following questions using the framework above:

  • Do some white hat thinking on the street you live on (look for information).
  • In choosing a color of paint for your room, what aspects are white-hat thinking?
  • Do some white-hat thinking on your “job fit”.
  • Do some white-hat thinking when deciding to purchase a mountain bike. What information is available to help you decide?

As you think about a career, how could you use some white-hat thinking to help you consider the many options? Look at our e-Mentoring Program and Career Coaching information to help you.

Red Hat Thinking

This hat allows you to put feelings into your thinking. It can be just a hunch you have that does not have to be supported by any information. Do you remember when you learned to ride your bike without anyone holding you up? You probably had a feeling that you were ready to do it on your own.

The red hat is opposite to the white hat. You rely on feelings instead of facts or information.

  • Justification – You don’t have to justify why you feel the way you do.
  • Feelings – At this moment, you feel a certain way.
  • Mixed feelings – It’s ok to like some parts of an idea and not others. Make sure you are clear.


Think through the following questions using the framework above:

  • Are computers capable of red hat thinking?
  • In choosing your career, what would some red-hat thinking be?
  • When you choose friends, what is the red-hat thinking you do?

Take a look at “What’s Your Thing” and use some red-hat thinking on what you think your thing is.

Use some red-hat thinking on the e-Mentoring Profiles.

Black Hat Thinking

The black hat is one of the most commonly used hats in thinking. It’s concept is based on truth and reality. The black hat searches for what is true and correct by pointing out errors. There are number of questions we ask in this thinking process:

    • Is it true?
    • Does it fit? We don’t mean on your head, but is it logical and does it work with everything else? Give reasons why.
    • Will it work? Decide whether or not the idea will work and if not, give reasons why it won’t.
    • What are the dangers and problems?


Think through the following questions using the framework above:

      • Should kids take over their parents jobs now? Do some black-hat thinking to point out the weaknesses in this idea.
      • Should you get paid to go to school? What is some black-hat thinking about this idea.
      • Once you have gone through the “What’s Your Thing” section do some black-hat thinking about your first choice.

Yellow Hat Thinking

The yellow hat is full of hope in the future and draws from the past. Therefore, when you are thinking about something using the yellow hat thinking process you do it in a hopeful way. Figure out the benefits and why it will work.

      • What are the benefits? Find and show the benefits.
      • Why should it work?


Think through the following questions using the framework above:

      • Imagine there is some stealing going on at school. Do you think a reward should be offered to anyone helping to catch the thief? Do some yellow-hat thinking. ( What are the benefits and why should it work?)
      • Once you have gone through the “What’s Your Thing” section, do some yellow-hat thinking about your first choice.

Green Hat Thinking

This hat is for creative thinking. Creative thinking is developing new ideas, new alternatives, new solutions and new inventions. Green hat thinking helps you make things happen. As you explore, make sure you open up your mind and use green-hat thinking.

      • Explore ideas, concepts, suggestions and possibilities.
      • Find suggestions to come up with ideas about what can be done.
      • Alternatives to come up with a number of options.
      • New ideas when the old ideas do not work, or there are no ideas available to look at.
      • Provocation to look at things differently. To bring forward an idea that will help us look at the situation in an alternate way.


Think through the following questions using the framework above:

      • Use green-hat thinking to think about starting a business.
      • Should parents teach kids business at an early age?
      • Use some green-hat thinking as you look at the e-Mentoring Profiles.
      • Explore the “Attitude is Key” section with some green hat thinking in mind.
      • Play a game of “toss nothing out.” Write down everything you can that won’t work. Now, an idea that will work will come to you.

Blue Hat Thinking

The blue hat is the overview. Think of it as if you were up in the sky and looking down and about the thinking. You need to step back from what is going on in order to watch that thinking. This is a very important skill and one that is key for being a successful manager of people.

While you are blue hat thinking, you are thinking about:

        • Where are we now and what is the focus?
        • What is the next step?
        • What are the steps that should be taken?
        • Summarize where you are in the thinking?
        • Observations and comments on the thinking that has gone on.


Think through the following questions using the framework above:

      • There is an argument between parents and children on what time the kids should be home at night. Using blue hat thinking, how would you organize the argument?
      • A film-maker asks you to help him/her review a number of ideas for a new movie. Do some blue hat thinking to see how you would set out thinking up a new movie idea.