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Synectics is a problem solving approach that stimulates thought processes of which the subject is generally unaware. This method, developed by William Gordon, has as its central principle: "Trust things that are alien, and alienate things that are trusted." This encourages, on the one hand, fundamental problem-analysis and, on the other hand, the alienation of the original problem through the creation of analogies. It is thus possible for new and surprising solutions to emerge. Synectics is more demanding of the subject than brainstorming, as the many steps involved mean that the process is more complicated and requires more time and effort.


  1. Analysis and definition of the problem
  2. Spontaneous solutions
  3. Reformulation of the problem
  4. Creation of direct analogies
  5. Personal analogies (identification)
  6. Symbolic analogies (contradictions)
  7. Direct analogies
  8. Analysis of the direct analogies
  9. Application to the problem
  10. Development of possible solutions



  • Synectics by W.J. Gordon (possibly out of print)
  • Design Synectics - Stimulating Creativity in Design by Nicholas Roukes, Published by Davis Publications, 1988
  • Synectics-The Practice of Creativity by George Prince 1970 (out of print)

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