Green Hat Thinking

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.”
Edward De Bono

OctopOSS are complex beasts so it’s very easy to dig out a negative viewpoint, focussing on the difficulties, the failures, the problems or the reasons it won’t work. To borrow from Edward de Bono’s seminal work of the Six Thinking Hats, it’s easiest to wear the black hat. From experience within many OSS environments, it seems that Black Hat Thinking is the most prevalent mind-set, with the first line of thinking being towards the negative.

But it’s the small minority who naturally tend to wear the Green Hat (creativity, new ideas, solutions) or the Yellow Hat (values, benefits, finding reasons to make something work) who have seemed to deliver the biggest impact on OctopOSS projects and had the most influence on building morale within the team.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a time, a place and a need for all six thinking hats, but it is the creators rather than the detractors who make things happen. Which hat (not witch-hat) sits most easily on your head?

My description of OSS projects as being an OctopOSS (there’s always another tentacle waiting to whack you on the back of the head), may sound like black hat thinking, but it actually speaks of the passion for overcoming the myriad of obstacles that await on any OSS project and of the learnings from past projects.

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