This method was implemented among others by Wiliam J.J. Gordon. With the help of analogies, a step-by-step disassociation of a problem takes place. This new distance from the problem and the known solutions leads to new perspectives and new solutions. The fundamental principle is: Make the strange things familiar and defamiliarize the familiar. This is the basis for the development of new and surprising solutions and ideas.


The synectics method is divided into 10 phases:

  1. Clear definition of the problem
  2. Spontaneous solutions are captured
  3. Reformulation of the problem
  4. Direct analogy I – e.g. analogies from the nature
  5. Personal analogy – in order to achieve the personal identification of the participants with the problem
  6. Symbolic analogy are developed
  7. Direct analogy II – e.g. analogies from technology
  8. Analogy analysis
  9. “Force a fit” –  analogies are associated with the original problem
  10. Development of concrete solutions for the defined problem


New approach and consideration of a problem is possible.

Pros and cons


  • Accurate definition of the problem
  • Therefore: problem is fully understood before the final solution is provided
  • Encourages the ability to live with complexity and apparent contradiction
  • Mobilizes both sides of the brain, the right brain (the dreamer), and the left brain (the reasoner)
  • Provides a free-thinking state of consciousness, strengthens new thoughts, ideas and inventions


  • The process might be time-taking
  • The user has to be very focused during the whole process
  • For good results participants have to be able and in the mood to fantasize
  • It works better for an individual problem than a multilayered problem (it can be also used for the latter, but requires a higher effort from the participants)
  • Much efforts required from the leader of the group to keep the discussion in flow, formulate the initial problem and the desired outcome

Complementary methods

Synectics as a method contains some brainstorming processes.