Six Non-Thinking Socks

Six Thinking Hats is a well known brainstorming method designed by Dr. Edward de Bono. Six Hats aims to help a group to think more effectively. The idea is to use different hats symbolically, in order to take different productive points of view to a conversation such as positive thinking, information & fact driven argumentation and critical judgment.

But what would be the opposite of Six Thinking Hats, points of view to a conversation that would be damaging and non-productive from the group effort point of view. Something that would eventually bring the conversation to a halt, a dead-end or even a fight? On a long lunch today with my colleagues we designed just that.

thumbnail 300x187 Six Non Thinking Socks

Six Non-Thinking Socks

How to destroy a potentially fruitful conversation and brainstorming session by just being present.

1. White Socks – Direct Interruption

What ever is being said is being interrupted by speaking over and loud. If someone starts to interrupt you too, just rise your voice and continue.

2. Red Socks – Getting Personal

Every point that is provided is cleverly turned into a personal assault targeting the character and personality of the fellow team player.

3. Black Socks – Unthinking

Use every logical fallacy in the book to confuse the conversation with arguments that first sound reasonable but turn out to be totally flawed in the very details.

4. Yellow Socks – Blatant Ignorance

When someone is speaking, just pretend that you are not listening. Look at the walls, at your clock and knock your fingers on the table. Moan.

5. Green Socks – Extreme Pessimism

It is the worst possible day of your life. Everything that is being said is viewed through lenses of absolute negativity and likelihood for failure. Cast a dark shadow on the whole conversation and start speculating what could most possibly go wrong.

6. Blue Socks – Unreasonable Haste

You are in such a hurry that there is no point in thinking about anything longer than a second – maybe two on a good day. No time to think – decisions are made based on intuition alone.

So, there you have it. Not too far away from your typical meeting.

Now go on and use this method in your next meeting and report back the results!

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  • Crystal

    What about a Rainbow sock ;D!

  • Teemu Arina

    Yes, all problems in one package!

  • markuskoljonen

    What about these?

    Grey Socks – Conservatism. Everything is just perfect as it currently is. Any change is a threat and is to be defended against.

    Orange Socks – Out of Topic. Instead of the big picture, focus on details. The smaller, the better. Take the discussion off the track as far as you can.

  • markuskoljonen


    Pink Socks – Rant. Blab on relentlessly, without a point. State the obvious and be as redundant as you can. Repeat the things you and others have said over and over again.

  • Massiel Barros-Torning

    Oh how witty and clever.