Blue Hat Thinking

Blue Hat

Blue Hat Thinking, a vital component of Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats framework, serves as a control mechanism for the thinking process. It is responsible for organizing and overseeing the other thinking modes, ensuring a structured and efficient approach to decision-making, problem-solving, and discussions.


When individuals wear the metaphorical “blue hat,” they take on the role of a conductor, guiding and managing the thinking process. Blue Hat Thinking is not about contributing content or making judgments; rather, it focuses on structuring and directing the thinking process effectively.

Key Principles and Applications

  1. Meta-Thinking: Blue Hat Thinking is meta-thinking, as it involves thinking about thinking. It defines the framework for using other thinking hats, deciding when to switch between them, and setting the agenda for discussions.
  2. Control and Organization: This thinking mode ensures that discussions and decision-making processes remain focused, structured, and on track. It sets time limits, priorities, and goals for the thinking session.
  3. Conflict Resolution: Blue Hat Thinking can help manage conflicts during discussions by ensuring that everyone follows the established rules and remains respectful and open to different perspectives.
  4. Decision-Making Oversight: In systems thinking, the Blue Hat ensures that all aspects of a complex system are considered, facilitating well-rounded decision-making.

Use in Systems Thinking

In systems thinking, Blue Hat Thinking plays a crucial role in overall guiding the analysis and discussion of complex business systems. It sets the agenda for understanding the system, deciding which thinking modes to apply, and ensuring that the analysis remains focused on the broader system context.


  • Structure and Efficiency: Blue Hat Thinking brings structure and efficiency to discussions and decision-making by setting clear goals, time limits, and priorities.
  • Conflict Management: It helps in managing conflicts during discussions and decision-making by ensuring that everyone adheres to established rules and guidelines.
  • Systematic Analysis: In systems thinking, the Blue Hat ensures a systematic and comprehensive analysis of complex systems.
  • Focused Decision-Making: It contributes to well-informed and focused decision-making by guiding the thinking process toward the desired outcomes.


Blue Hat Thinking is a thinking approach that serves as the conductor of the thinking orchestra, guiding and overseeing the other thinking modes within the Six Thinking Hats framework. In systems thinking, it plays a pivotal role in structuring discussions, setting agendas, and ensuring that the analysis of complex systems remains focused and efficient. By promoting a systematic approach to decision-making and problem-solving, Blue Hat Thinking contributes to well-rounded and well-managed thinking sessions, ultimately leading to informed and effective outcomes.