Each hats represents some sort of a character. Each with it's own benefits for a group.
The theory behind this book by E. de Bono is that working in a team and discussing subjects requires everyone to have a certain task, in order to achieve higher levels of thinking.
Everyone automatically puts on a hat about a certain subject. This may have various reasons.
By putting on a hat, you react in a certain way. An example:
A group of teachers is deciding if they should use more technology inclass, or not.
A group of teachers that might have bad experiences with technology might have an rather dark opinion about this subject. While a young and enthusiastic teacher might be more open to possibilities. But thanks to this, the teachers with bad experiences might see some opportunities thanks to the young teachers. And thanks to the teachers with bad experiences, the young and maybe 'too' enthusiastic teachers will see some problems they may face when trying to bring more technology inside the class.
So having all kinds of hats during a discussion might be rather confrontional. But it shows certain possibilities or disadvantages you wouldn't have seen without a certain hat in your team.
Now isn't a person just a red hat, or a pure evil dark hat. No, definitely not. People aren't just straight one way. Almost everyone has some parts of different hats. The color of hat you wear might also change during different subjects ofcourse. Someone might be a bit sarcastic about a teacher wearing hats during teaching, but the same person might be very creative when it comes to using technology inside the school.
The different kinds of hats
About information. What are the facts.
Emotional. He lets his feelings in a case guide him.
Optimistic and bright. Open for new possibilities.
Cautious and conservative. Critical thinker.
Creativity, alternatives and new ideas.
The manager. About structure and thinking processes. An observer and guide.
How does this all affect me as a teacher?
At first I felt denied by people with a black or white hat who needed facts, or weren't so easily convinced to try something new. But now I know, it requires different kinds of people in order to bring something to a succes. Everyone has a part to play during a discussion about a subject. And thanks to those hats you hate during these discussions, you will see things you haven't thought about just yet. I think I am a bit yellow and green. I really want to try new things I discover during my journey. And meeting black hats and white hats who let me calm down first, look at the facts and look more cautious, will eventually improve my idea.
Source: Presentation by A. Lammers during minor KLM