Here's how to use the Six Thinking Hats in Six Sigma improvement projects:
White Hat Thinking: Information Known and Needed
During the Measure phase of a Six Sigma Project, a White Hat session will collect all the projects' information and define the limits for each of the selected outputs. Having all of the information collected in an organized and efficient process will give the Six Sigma Project team the ability to set realistic and achievable targets.
Green Hat Thinking: Creativity and Alternatives
The Green Hat or Lateral Thinking tools will provide solutions during the Improve phase of the Six Sigma Project. Using Lateral Thinking tools like PO and Random words will generate creative ideas that will be Harvested systematically. In addition, Lateral Thinking techniques like Challenge will cut unnecessary costs to implement the solution, provide alternative solutions, or improve the projects processes.
Black Hat Thinking: Cautions and Difficulties
The Black Hat will improve the Define phase of the Six Sigma Project by classifying the VOC into Black Hats and Green Hats. Using the results from the Black Hat and Green Hat sessions, the team may use the DMADV project rather than DMAIC based on the potential problems and difficulties that were identified.
Yellow Hat Thinking: Benefits and Feasibility
During the Improve phase of a Six Sigma Project, a Yellow Hat session will provide the strongest evidence for each of the team solutions so that the team can make the best business decision without bias. In addition, a Yellow Hat session will provide the differences between each solution which will give the team more confidence in their decisions.
Red Hat Thinking: Intuition and Feelings
The Red Hat provides each team member an opportunity to express their gut feelings about the Six Sigma Project and/or solutions in a short phrase or one word. The benefit from a Red Hat session is that each team member and stakeholder has a moment to express their concerns with the teams decision allowing them to buy-into the solution even if he or she does not agree with the solution. This is arguably one of the most powerful benefits of using the Six Thinking Hats.
Blue Hat Thinking: Process Control
The Blue Hat is typically worn by the Master Black Belt on the Six Sigma Project. The Blue Hat session forces the team to focus on finding the best solutions while getting each team members input and buy-in to the team's solution.
There are many companies that have integrated the Six Thinking Hats with Six Sigma methodology to drive their companies business improvement and development. Using the Six Thinking Hats and Six Sigma together will bring clarity to the thought process during every Six Sigma project.