The Brain: Intuition

blink.jpg malcomgladwell.jpg

While thinking about the Seven Hat, Six Coat Framework I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book blink and I realized that here I had an indepth analysis of the Manipulation row otherwise known as Red Hat or Intuition.

Malcolm’s book is about how our intuitive thinking process works, how it can be developed and how it can be compromised. It is a perfect extension to de Bono’s definition of intuition and a great way to approach the manipulation perspective of each of the focuses. There is simply a certain amount of “Red Perspective” that influences the system even before domain or “White Perspective” is recorded.

Below is a ring diagram describing the perspectives as concentric circles.


The progression is as follows:

  • RESORT: Orange Hat: Medium : Media
  • RENDER: Red Hat: Manipulation : Intuition
  • READY: Black Hat: Definition: Pessimism
  • RECORD: White Hat: Physics: Data
  • REPORT: Yellow Hat: Logic: Optimism
  • RELATE: Blue Hat: Context: Control
  • REVISE: Green Hat: Concept: Creativity

As you can see there is a hiearchy from outermost “medium” or “Media Hat” to innermost “entity” perspective or “Creativity Hat”. Also note that the focus need not always be data. Any of the Six Coats can be used.

I might also add as a footnote that Blink style judgements may be looked at as heuristics.

Structured Thinking System: Entities

When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.
Anatole France

Here is the final version of the STS Entities:


And here are the STS Entities abstracted:


So what have I accomplished? What I have done is defined the six fundamental motives (Green Coat column), the six fundamental personas (Blue Coat column), the six fundamental objects (White Coat column), the six fundamental methods (Yellow Coat column) , the six fundamental locales (Black Coat column) and the six fundamental moments (Red Coat column) of the human experience. These are the entities of the Structured Thinking System. Alternatively, I have defined the six focuses of the creativity perspective (Green Hat row), the six focuses of the relativity perspective (Blue Hat row), the six focuses of the objectivity perspective (White Hat row), the six focuses of the optimicity perspective (Yellow Hat row), the six focuses of the pessimicity perspective (Black Hat row) and the six focuses of the intuitivity perspective (Red Hat row).

Don’t expect to understand this post without at least visiting these Related Links:

Green Hat: It’s Best to Brainstorm Alone

I came across this quote on brainstorming today and find I agree with it.

“The result, it turned out, is not an anomaly. In a [1987 study, researchers] concluded that brainstorming groups have never outperformed virtual groups. Of the 25 reported experiments by psychologists all over the world, real groups have never once been shown to be more productive than virtual groups. In fact, real groups that engage in brainstorming consistently generate about half the number of ideas they would have produced if the group’s individuals had [worked] alone.

In my experience the added demands to coexist in harmony while in a group implements more self-editing of ideas than when you are alone. Maslow would conclude that esteem (relativity), belonging (optimivity) and safety (pessimivity) would actually limit self-actualization (creativity) . (Forgive me for creating two new terms, I’m virtual brainstorming.)

Traditional brainstorming falls under the social and social-psychological domain of Yellow Hat, White Hat and Black Hat in the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework. More people automatically implies, more relationships, meaning more difficult generalization; more attributes, meaning more difficult normalization; and more constraints, meaning more difficult exceptionalization. It flies in the face of the assumptions behind the concepts of synergy and of socialist and communist thought. It also gives Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism a great boost.

Green Hat (creativity), is a state of mind where one rises above Yellow Hat (relativity), White Hat (optimivity) , Black Hat (pessimivity), Red Hat (anthropivity) and Blue Hat (chronivity). The state of leadership as opposed to citizenship, apprenticeship, studentship, humanship and existence.

If you want to think great thoughts, you must first think them alone.

It's Best to Brainstorm Alonereddit

Trouble? Change Hats

I’ve just finished reading “Why Wait for Trouble?” by Kenneth W. Freeman in Strategy and Business. Kenneth described a five stage condition model of a company.

  1. Bleeding
  2. Stability
  3. Gradual Improvement
  4. Rapid Improvement
  5. Arrogance

The danger Kenneth described was remaining in any of these stages too long. I agree, but you probably guessed that I disagree that there are five stages. I believe there are six stages and there are symptoms of remaining in them too long. Again I am referring to my Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor.

  1. Blue Hat: Synchronization Failure. You are not performing transactions at the optimal rate. Bleeding.
  2. Red Hat: Personalization Failure. You are not addressing employee/customer needs. Over Stability.
  3. Black Hat: Physicalization Failure. You are not minimizing cost. Overly Gradual Improvement.
  4. White Hat: Logicalization Failure. You are not maximizing value. Overly Rapid Improvement.
  5. Yellow Hat: Contextual Failure. You are not maintaining uniqueness. Arrogance.
  6. Green Hat: Conceptual Failure. You are not revising your vision. Dictating.

These are the symptoms of wearing any of the Six Hats too long. You can also wear any of the Six Coats too long, but that remains for another post.

White Hatting a Website


White Hatting in the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor is about the logical perspective of a system.  Edward de Bono calls this the optimist’s hat.

White Hats take the contextual design provided by the Yellow Hats and exprore it to its full extent. In the White Hat perspective designers optimize goals, networks, data, processes, people and times to theoretical limits. White Hat logical design is used by the Black Hat physical design team.

Like the other hats, the White Hat is worn with each of the Six Coats. The basic question is what are the logical limits within the context.

White Hat, Green Coat: How do we achieve maximum value for the customer?

White Hat, Yellow Coat: What are we navigating?

White Hat, White Coat: What is our data?

White Hat, Black Coat: What are our processes?

White Hat, Red Coat: What are our personas?

White Hat, Blue Coat: What is our peak performance?

White Hat also has a reverse purpose when variances occur in the transacting system. White Hats decide how to handle a variance which is to alter the system to accomodate the exception or to escalate it up to the Yellow Hats.

Red Hatting a Website


No, this does not have anything to do with Linux. This is the Red Hat of the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor. In the last post I discussed the Six Hats, Six Coats Blue Hat which has nothing to do with Microsoft. The Red Hat is about the closeness to the intuition of the user. It is about the implementation of your own system. What transactions are intuitive and what transactions are counter-intuitive.  I alternatively call this the Mechanical perspective, because it deals with the mechanism the Green Hat, Yellow Hat, White Hat and Black Hat end up creating.  Edward de Bono also calls this the intuition hat.

Red Hat, Green Coat: How do we lower the barriers to adoption?  Intuition.

Red Hat, Yellow Coat: Who navigates our site? How do you support each browser?

Red Hat, White Coat: Who accesses our data? What DDL and DML will you have to write?

Red Hat, Black Coat: Who uses our processes? What approach will be taken to coding?

Red Hat, Red Coat: Who are the personas we are serving? How do you achieve the site aesthetics?

Red Hat, Blue Coat: Who is setting our performance requirements? What can achieve your performance goals?

Each of these implementations has implications for your website design. It will impact the positioning and emphasis of each of your website’s elements as well as your website’s behavior when those elements are employed. It will affect the overall look and feel of the site. When you are working in the Red Hat perspective you are asking yourself, “How do I implement ‘business as usual’?” You will have dealt with all the possibilities in the White Hat perspective and all the probabilities in the Black Hat perspective. Anything that defies your user’s intuition will be escalated back up to the Black Hats as exceptions. If there is a trend in the exceptions it will be escalated up to the White Hats as a variance. If there is a trend to the variances it will be escalated to the Yellow Hats as a deviation. And if the deviation is great enough it will be brought to the Green Hats as an opportunity.

The Six Hats metaphor can be used for any system. I plan to branch out my examples over time.