Sunday, October 4, 2009

Using Six thinking Hats for creative writing

I had written about Six Thinking Hats and its association with Software testing a while back. I had been sporadically using this concept in my day-to-day life. In my quest to further explore its usage, i gave a shot to use this amazing concept for creative writing.
In this post, i would further like to share my experiences, successes and failures on the topic. When i ventured into writing one of my recent articles on Enhancing your Learning skills through the Development continuum , it occurred to me that like for any thinking activity- the Six thinking Hats can be applied appropriately in creative writing as well. With this started my journey to explore this aspect further.
While i explain this in the upcoming sections, i would be dissecting my earlier article into pieces and narrate the usage of various hats and the sequence in which i used the thinking hats. Here we go-
[At some places in the upcoming text, i would be quoting (in Italics) the description of hats from Edward de bono's book- Six Thinking hats , the credit for which lies with the great author.

The usage of Hats in creative writing

Blue Hat Thinking
Blue Hat is for thinking about Thinking. The Blue hat is for organization of thinking. This hat lays out what is to be achieved. Going by a wonderful analogy with Computers- Computers follow their programs, which tell them what to do giving instructions. In a similar way, one of the function of blue hat is to design software for thinking about a particular matter.
Creative writing in itself is an engrossing activity involving extensive thinking. Going by the description of the Blue hat, i considered it ideal to commence this article though Blue Hat. Blue hat deals primarily with Organization of thinking. I started the article wearing (not literally!) a Blue thinking hat basically helping me to organize my thinking on the contents and also arrive at the Agenda. The text mentioned in the "Prologue" section is all listed while wearing a Blue thinking hat. This section of article basically covered initial thoughts that setup the tone for the entire article.
To compliment the actual use of Blue hat, this was not the only time i used the Blue hat while writing this article. As Blue hat basically "controls" the thinking, i practically used this hat in the later sections as a check-point.

White Hat Thinking
White hat thinking is a convenient way of asking for the facts and figures to be put forward in a neutral and objective manner.
Since this article primarily revolves around a new concept (new to me atleast!), it was apt to cover the facts that describe the concept of "The Development continuum". Unless i spent the time and energy explaining this concept, the rest of the article would not have made sense. This is where White hat thinking comes in handy as it focuses just on facts and facts only. The sections "What is Development Continuum ?", "What are the Stages involved in Development Continuum ?", "What does the Development Continuum suggests an individual to do if he/she is at "Enthusiastic Beginner", "Disillusioned Learner" or "Capable but Cautious Performer" stage ?" covers the facts describing this concepts. These were written with White hat thinking on.

Red Hat Thinking
Wearing the red hat allows the thinker to say: "This is how i feel about the matter". The red hat legitimizes the emotions and feelings as an important part of thinking.
As an unwritten norm in professional world, it is usually considered not good to express emotions and feelings. But the truth of the matter is that any subject cannot be explored in its entirety without considering an individual's passion, feeling and emotions. Human beings cannot always operate on plain logic while suppressing emotions and feelings, if it were then there would be no difference between Computers and humans. Well, that’s definitely not the case. No matter how much an individual pretend to be logical, there is always a tinge of emotions, feelings in any decision a person takes. Any creative write-up would be incomplete if it does not take into account the passion, emotion, feeling of the author and in my experience, these are usually brought forward in the first impression that an individual gets after going through the new concept. So, the section "My first Impressions" of this article was written wearing the Red hat.

Yellow Hat Thinking
Yellow Hat thinking is positive and constructive and this type of thinking is concerned with positive assessment of the situation. It focuses on benefit and Optimism.
While exploring a new concept, it is quite viable to look at it and find out whether is it solving the problems that it was intended to, how much beneficial is it going to be for an individual. I wrote the following sections of the article wearing the Yellow thinking hat-
"At what stage of learning do the learners tend to give up ?"
"Can an individual use this model for Self assessment ?"

Black Hat Thinking
Black Hat is concerned with caution. This hat helps the learner extend his thinking to look at the possible dangers and risks in the current context.
It would be only foolish to not consider risks and potential disadvantages in the topic under exploration. Its a given fact that some human beings always tend to look at negative aspect of any situation. If risks and dangers are looked at in a reasonable and appropriate manner then it adds value to the entire process. I did look at this aspect while writing my article as represented in the section "Are there any limitations this model has ?"

Green Hat Thinking
Green Hat is for creative thinking. The search for alternatives is an fundamental aspect of Green hat thinking.
Thinking above and beyond the current topic and exploring its possible alternative applications is a desired motive when writing. The write-up can always be based on the facts, figures, related emotions, benefits and risks but it would really be incomplete unless the author thinks to look beyond and presents the readers with alternative approaches. This is what actually tests author's grip on the subject and overall imagination. This is what i covered in the topic- "What are the opportunities available with this model ? "

Some more thoughts:
- One inference that i am realizing that anyone can draw after reading the above text is that anyone would think that even without using the Hats, i would have thought the same. I agree it may be true and also realize that such an inference may be because i have not explicitly mentioned in my write-up above is that the usage of each individual hat calls for a focused thinking i.e. while wearing a White hat, i am thinking only about facts and figure and not about emotion, passion, negativity etc. Uncluttered mind tend to give best results and this is what Six thinking hats help us achieve. Working in a time box and wearing certain hat gives more output and clarity in thoughts and hence in overall writing.
- One more thing is that the sequences of using these hats differ in different contexts.

Overall, working through this article has been an unique experience for me. I would love to hear from you, your thoughts, ideas and experiences.

No comments: