Six Hats, Six Coats and Happiness


I’ve had the chance to come across and am currently reading Alexander Kjerulf’s book Happy Hour is 9 to 5. It is a silly title but the book presents sound principles.  Something that has occurred to me in the course of reading it is the more control you have over the Six Hats and Six Coats you wear in your job, the happier you are. What I mean by this is the more control you have over how you repeat, refine, record, report, relate and revise your own outlook regarding your own motive, locale, object, method, person and moment, the more ready and willing you will be to get up on Monday morning.

Happiness at work, not just “satisfaction”, first comes with the choice to take control of yourself, your system, your own Six Hats and Six Coats and deciding to be happy. It also comes with management’s willingness to permit you to understand and influence all of the Six Hats and Six Coats of your company’s system. Read Alexander’s book, think about the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework and think about yourself, your company and your happiness.

Six Hats, Six Coats and Happinessreddit


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

Mix Thirty-six


The Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor allows you to manage your Perspectives and Focuses for any project. In fact, it allows you to pose thirty-six questions that can make or break a system. In this post I am going to translate the Six Hats and Six Coats into those questions. So, hang on, we’re going to eat the whole enchilada.

1. Conceptual
1.1 Motivational: What goals are available to achieve?
1.2 Spatial: What networks are available to support?
1.3 Formal: What data are available to verify?
1.4 Functional: What processes are available to perform?
1.5 Personal: What people are available to serve?
1.6 Temporal: What schedules are available to meet?

2. Contextual
2.1 Motivational: What goals are we compatible with achieving?
2.2 Spatial: What networks are we compatible with supporting?
2.3 Formal: What data are we compatible with verifying?
2.4 Functional: What processes are we compatible with performing?
2.5 Personal: What people are we compatible with serving?
2.6 Temporal: What schedules are we compatible with meeting?

3. Logical
3.1 Motivational: What goals can we reliably achieve?
3.2 Spatial: What networks can we reliably support?
3.3 Formal: What data can we reliably verify?
3.4 Functional: What processes can we reliably perform?
3.6 Personal: What people can we reliably serve?
3.7 Temporal: What schedules can we reliably meet?

4. Physical
4.1 Motivational: What goals can we economically achieve?
4.2 Spatial: What networks can we economically support?
4.3 Formal: What data can we economically verify?
4.4 Functional: What processes can we economically perform?
4.5 Personal: What people can we economically serve?
4.6 Temporal: What schedules can we economically meet?

5. Mechanical
5.1 Motivational: What goals can we intuitively achieve?
5.2 Spatial: What networks can we intuitively support?
5.3 Formal: What data can we intuitively verify?
5.4 Functional: What processes can we intuitively perform?
5.5 Personal: What people can we intuitively serve?
5.6 Temporal: What schedules can we intuitively meet?

6. Operational
6.1 Motivational: What goals can we actually achieve?
6.2 Spatial: What networks can we actually support?
6.3 Formal: What data can we actually verify?
6.4 Functional: What processes can we actually perform?
6.5 Personal: What people can we actually serve?
6.6 Temporal: What schedules can we actually meet?

So, there you have it. Thirty six questions to lead you through the life of a project. As I pointed out in Good Design, your emphasis will probably vary based on how these Focuses interplay as will your Perspectives. However, an complete oversight in any of these Focuses or Perspectives will most likely result in failure or diminished gains. Of course there are many more or even fewer questions you can ask, but I have found this batch to be a healthy standard.

Six Hats, Six Coats


Edward de Bono’s concept of Six Hats on the surface looks creative, but in implementation it falls short. de Bono’s six hats are:

  1. Data (white)
  2. Emotion (red)
  3. Pessimism (black)
  4. Optimism (yellow)
  5. Creativity (green)
  6. Process (blue)

I do not disagree with these six hats. I tip my hat to de Bono. However, I feel that de Bono made a few mistakes. I am going to coin my own Six Hats:


The Conceptual hat is Creativity. The Contextual hat is Compatibility. The Logical hat is Reliability. The Physical hat is Economy. The Mechanical hat is Intuitivity. The Operational hat is Actuality. These are your six Perspectives.

Now, here is where I extend de Bono’s concept. This extension I call the Six Coats:


The Motivational coat is Goals. The Spatial coat is Networks. The Formal coat is Data. The Functional coat is Processes. The Personal coat is People. The Temporal coat is Time. These coats are your six Focuses.

Together, you take your hats and coats and wear them in a set order to get a project done. You start at the top and proceed left to right, row by row, to the bottom. This takes a chaos of perspectives and focuses and turns them into a methodology:


You may notice that the colors of the hats and coats complement each other. This is intentional:

  1. Green = Creatable = Goals = “Because we’re capable.”
  2. Yellow = Compatible = Network = “Because we’re portable.”
  3. White = Reliable = Data = “Because we’re reliable.”
  4. Black = Economical = Process = “Because we’re economical.”
  5. Red = Intuitable = People = “Because we’re intuitable.”
  6. Blue = Actual = Time = “Because we’re available.”

If you follow my blog you will see that my definitions are evolving. This is to be expected as I am learning between and during every post. I hope you enjoy the process with me.

To see a more recent version of the Six Hats, Six Coats model Click Here.