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Head, Heart and Hands (HHH)


Creative tools > Head, Heart and Hands (HHH)

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it when you are looking for ways of getting an idea implemented.

Use it to think about the commitment that will be needed to make an idea work.



      X    Long



  X        Psychological



    X      Group


How to use it

When you are doing something new, you often need to get a full commitment to getting people to buy into your idea. This gives you a way of thinking about three very different and very important aspects of this question.

Think about the Head

The head is about cognitive function and being logical. Think about how you can persuade people through logical argument.

How do they think? Are they logical people for whom a rational argument will be effective? How do they use logic? What are their goals, and how will the idea affect them?

Ask questions of yourself about the logic of your idea. What is the rationale for you idea? How will it benefit people? How will it benefit all of the different stakeholder groups involved? How will you implement it? What money is needed? What people, skills and competencies? What other resources? How long will it take?

How logical are you? How can you come over as a rational and intelligent person who has thought the idea through carefully and logically? Would you/have you put your own money into the idea?

Seek to create a logical project plan that shows what must be done, by whom, by when, and how long it will take. Use the Kipling method to help this.

Think about the Heart

The heart is about affective function, emotions and feelings. Think about how you can use emotion to get your idea across.

How emotional are they? How open or closed are their emotions? What emotions do they show most? About what subjects do they get emotional? What makes them passionate? What excites them most?

What are the emotional aspects of your idea? How does it stimulate emotion? How does it make people feel when they see it? What words are associated with the idea? How can these be made emotional?

How emotional are you? How do you show your emotions? Do you get excited when you talk about your idea? What gets you passionate? How do you have fun? What ideas would you die for? What emotional investment are you prepared to put into your idea?

Seek to create passionate messages that show your commitment and excitement about the idea, and how you will not take 'no' for an answer.

Think about the Hands

The hands are about practicality, action, physical effect. Think about how you can use action to get your idea across.

How practical are they? How action-oriented? Are they stimulated more by actual demonstrations? Do they like to handle things themselves? What involvement would get them bought into your idea?

Can you create a demonstration of the idea? Can you make a mock-up? How can you show your idea in action? How can you get the other person involved? How can they contribute physically to the idea?

How practical are you? Have you stopped at the idea or have you developed it further? How can you move yourself more into the action domain? Can you create give-aways for them to take with them?

Seek to create demonstrable evidence of how good your idea is, and how you are a person of action as well as an 'ideas person'.

Think about how they all go together

Consider the sequence of head, heart and hands. Should you get them doing something first and hope they realize how good the idea is once they try it out? Should you get them buzzed up and excited first? Should you start with a logical argument that starts from their problems and works back to how your idea will solve these?

Find an effective sequence of actions. Find the best way of combining head, heart and hands over time to create an effective package of persuasion.


I have invented a new way of locking doors using biometric scans.

Head: enables hands-free locking, can be used where no other method works, is low-cost and high-price.

Heart: can be used by disabled people, makes your home safer

Hands: here is a working model -- try it, here is a parts-list for you to make one

How it works

Head, Heart and Hands addresses three main motivational systems that affect people. Some prefer cognitive approaches, some prefer affective and some prefer practical. And all three affect all of us to some extent.

Forcing thinking about all three gets the innovator out of their preferred mode and thinking about all three, thus potentially tripling the effectiveness of persuasive efforts to get people to accept their idea.

See also

The Kipling method (5W1H)


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