There are 6 imaginary thinking hats. When one hat is used everyone is thinking in the same direction (as opposed to thinking about what the last person said, or worse, what to answer to what the last person said). One hat is used at a time. And the order of the hats is decided by the meeting facilitator. There is no pre-set order.
IBM Reported a 75% Reduction in Meeting Times
Meetings, in general, can be a pool of ideas but also a source of conflict or, the opposite, group thinking. To make sure that not only all the ideas are heard, but also that we have looked in every possible direction while exploring the solution, Edward de Bono (the father of lateral thinking, and the one who teaches us about how to improve our thinking) suggests using the 6 Thinking Hats framework.The framework is an elegant combination of analytical, critical and lateral thinking. Elements of each of the three types of thinking are used under each one of the hats to help structure and set a direction for the thinking process.