Last week’s article in critical thinking resulted in numerous comments, with one in particular questioning the place for emotions in solving problems. This prompted me to go deeper into exploring Edward de Bono’s book Six Thinking Hats.
His concept of the six hats is designed for group decision making, taking us through various approaches and thinking styles from factual, to optimistic, risk managing, emotive, creative and finally one of managing the thinking process.
In problem solving and risk management we like to look at the data and the facts. And we should be using data to help us understand both the problems and the solutions. So, is there a place for feelings, emotions and intuition in problem solving?
Expressing emotions can prevent failure
Where a team are working together on a solution, by requiring everyone to voice their feelings at the same point in the process, this can be beneficial in understanding potential uptake of an idea. Identifying an unpopular decision that may never be properly implemented due to lack of support is best done early to avoid failed initiatives.
Edward de Bono also tells us that people are both limited by and extend themselves to meet expectations. If they are expected to be creative for a moment in a supportive environment, they won’t rely on the one ‘creative individual’ in the team but will start making creative effort themselves.
Facilitated problem solving and decision making that follows a known process, guides the team both through the discovery of the problem and then discovery of the solution. Tools and techniques applied at the right time can generate innovative solutions that address risks, and because they are supported by the team are likely to succeed.