Assigning colors to comments made during brainstorming sessions can help grease innovation, writes Dharmendra S. Modha in The New York Times (10/13/13). The technique, known as "six thinking hats," was "pioneered by the author and inventor, Edward de Bono." It requires brainstorm participants "to identify, by using colors, the essential nature of the points made – white for facts, black for discernment, red for emotions, green for creativity, yellow for optimism and blue for coordination."
By "jotting down the ‘colors’ of the statements that they and other people were making … partcipants could see more objectively whether their arguments were driven by facts and solid reasoning, and whether they were being open-minded." This worked well for Dharmendra while working through issues on a project that was on the brink of failure, and required drawing on a diverse group of experts and persuading them to let "go of long-cherished ideals while embracing emerging possibilities."
The six-hats technique, says Dharmendra, enabled participants to "see more objectively whether their arguments were driven by facts and solid reasoning, and whether they were being open-minded." It also "lightened the mood" and enabled the team to resolve differences "without making the debate too emotional or personal" and thereby tapping "into creative possibilities." The result was "a consensus," and "a new direction that led to a successful project."