Six Non-Thinking Drinks

The first important client we had outside of Mexico took us, directly right after the airport and without asking us, to a strip club. Yes, a strip club. We had some drinks and talked about the project. The project's cost had already been discussed, but still it came up "informally" in the conversation as well as the project's goals and reach. Unluckily for them, neither my associate nor I drink too much and nothing actually changed, although it did break some ice.

My uncle, who worked for a long time administrating a public university, always talks about how his boss was in charge of convincing high-rank government officials for special budget approvals, while he was in charge of taking middle-rank officials to drink and become friends, supporting the approval. Then he usually starts talking about how much he could drink in those days and how that helped in achieving other's admiration and support. I don't know, maybe it did work in some strange way for him.

In college while studying Industrial Design, a friend of mine Ricardo Hernandez and I always talked about inventing a new design methodology called "Drunk Design" making fun of teachers who only recited Bruno Munari's design methodology as a dogma. We never actually practiced it although many designs came up from napkin sketches at restaurants.

The point with these examples is how businesses, or decision making inside a group, gets done sometimes, very far from strict business etiquette and formalisms. I think this must be more common in some societies than others. Who cares about facts, logic, organization, when you are having a good time?? Let's be more flexible!

This led me to Edwards De Bono's Six Thinking Hats. For those who haven't heard of it, Six Thinking Hats is technique that allows a person or a group of people to analyze any situation (say for example a new venture) from different angles and points of view. Some of us have tendencies to 'think' in some way. I, for example. tend to be positive and encourage change, while my associate tends to be reserved or paranoid about it. De Bono tells us to "put on a hat" that represents a given attitude or way of thinking in order to also contemplate this point of view in our decisions. Each of the six hats has a color to represent its way of thinking (i.e. yellow is being logical positive, black is being logical negative). A group session can be held, and people "change hats" according to its thinking guide. I'm not an expert on the theory but you can look it up.

For what I've experienced the technique helps justifying what someone wants to say without being considered closed-minded, non-flexible or non-supportive. Most latins for example, like to "fit in" the group. In order to "fit in" better, someone might say "I'll put on the black hat for a while and say this project's worst scenario would be devastating for the company." This allows ideas to flow in every way and people feel free to express an opinion without someone judging their criteria. The technique also helps for encouraging empathy if someone is in fact obstinate or closed-minded, by saying for example "Try putting your green - creative - hat for a minute and think what improvements could still be made to the idea." Project leaders can make the entire group give ideas following a same thinking path, for example, everybody gives facts and figures for a period of time using the white hat, or on the other hand, he can alternate different hats on different members. The overall session would give a wider view of the situation as well as giving some new and creative ideas or approaches. Edward De Bono is a very known Oxford psychologist due to his work on creativity (he actually coined the word "lateral thinking") and has other interesting theories.

Having explained De Bono's Six Thinking Hats, let me introduce to you my own complementary proposition: L.F. Castillon's Six Non-Thinking Drinks. What is it for? Well, if you identify that someone has a way of thinkig or role (as each thinking hat does) and you want to change or manipulate it, how about a drink? Hats are ON people's heads, Drinks go directly to their mind! Do you think that metaphorically or even physically putting color hats is goofy? How about drinking colorfully-attractive cocktails? Imagine you are at a bar with a client, as the examples cited above, and he is showing a pessimistic attitude towards your service - the black hat - how can I change his attitude? Arguments? Who uses them! Or maybe a co-worker is all about numbers and facts that are actually against you - the white hat - how can I make him forget those facts? If you can't fight against an opponent, confuse him. Six Non-Thinking Drinks are also arranged in colors with its own proven and recommended beverages. You can see the picture I prepared for you below but you have to look for their recipes elsewhere... this is an innovation blog.

(NOTE: Don't drink and don't do things stupidly, especially in business. Convince clients and coworkers by having the project's best interests in mind, not by running alcohol through people's veins. De Bono: CHEERS!) CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE

No comments:

Post a Comment