Co-founder, Edward de Bono and his Hats

I recently saw an online chat session between several trainers who were discussing the origin of Edward’s Six Thinking Hats. One raised the question: Is 6 hats Edward de Bono’s original idea?

The answer is, Yes. I know because I was there. 

Edward was the co-founder of the School of Thinking (SOT) and in September 1983 we had a series of SOT meetings with Edward – in New York at The Algonquin and in London in his set of rooms at The Albany. On the agenda we discussed producing ‘Thinking Caps’ simply as a promotional item (not as an education method). 

After retiring for the day Edward went to Albany and had his famous brainwave. He typed up his idea on his personal letterhead under the heading Thinking Caps and tabled his notes the next morning at breakfast (attached below: Original notes by Edward de Bono “Thinking Caps” 9th Sep, 1983). 

As he explained his notes over kippers and tea Edward pointed out that the caps aspect was minor. They could just as easily be Six Shades (glasses) and that ‘the key part was the separation of thinking into Six Modes’.

So, there is no doubt whatsoever that the ‘6 Thinking Hats method’ is Edward’s own original idea. In due course, Edward developed his idea and wrote his book version Six Thinking Hats which was first released two years later in 1985.

•• SOT Archives:

Original notes by Edward de Bono “Thinking Caps”, London 9th Sep, 1983. 

•• SOT Archives: Original notes by Edward de Bono “Thinking Caps”, London 9th Sep, 1983. 

Posted: Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, 5 July 2022.