Aim of method usage:
  • develop ideas
  • increase innovation
  • determine solution principle
  • determine similarities
Method classification:
  • Methods for analysis and aims
  • Methods for solution generation
Process phase:
  • conceptual design

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Synectics is a group-based method to generate ideas which is achieved by deliberately and intensively alienating the problem.

Using analogies (natural, personal or symbolical) from outside the technical field or bordering on it, the participants' creativity is meant to be stimulated so that they will look at the problem from a completely different perspective. Transfering that onto the problem will create new solution ideas.


  1. defining the problem: the central problem is defined.
  2. spontaneous solutions: initial solutions are collected and documented (cf. Brainstorming)
  3. new formulation of problem: it can be necessary to reformulate the problem after the initial brainstorming.
  4. natural analogy: natural analogies(eg. from nature) are formed for the problem and then collected.
  5. personal analogy: additional solutions are created by forming personal analogies.
  6. symbolical analogy: existing solutions are specified through symbolic analogies.
  7. direct analogy: direct analogies from the problem's field that fit with the symbolic analogies
  8. differentiation of attributes: derive characteristics from the analogies
  9. "force fit": transfer attributes to problem to generate solutions
  10. develop solutions: the generated solutions are further developed and checked for practicability.

Strengths and weaknesses

Strengths Weaknesses
  • theoretical problem solving regarding already existing technical implementations
  • creation of solutions that are not easily recognizable but obvious
  • problem focus and new or even surprising solution ideas
  • the method can be very challenging and time consuming
  • requires practice
  • extensive need for explanations

Similar methods

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  aktualisiert am Nov. 15, 2015, 3:38 p.m.
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