Synectics: Three Takeaways
Takeaway # 1
Synectics: A Problem Solving Tool for Educational Leaders
An important point mentioned in this article refers to the group effort of problem solving and developing innovative solutions. As part of this, the group has to listen uncritically to all ideas. To be honest, I don’t remember any group meeting where this has happened. In fact, the first response to a new idea is a challenge or criticism. I find this as a way to provide a new perspective on the idea or to “test” the idea. In the Synectics model, criticisms and challenges are withheld (at least initially). I have seen in many meetings the idea of self-censorship where good ideas may hide due to fear of the group viewing it negatively. I have seen skilled leaders create a more open forum by specifically inviting individuals in the meeting to discuss their perspective.
The Joyce chapter introduces the idea of synectics by using metaphors to generate creativity. I found this entire style/model very surprising. In my mind, I have thought of creativity as without having boundaries or a framework. Instead, synectics provides a framework for open thinking. I find trying to synectics in a group would require the participants to have some orientation/background knowledge of the concept. Open and non-traditional thinking/perspectives are specifically encouraged. I have never used this style for creative problem solving, and I remain still a bit skeptical of how to use it effectively (likely because I am still understanding this model).
First of all, I did not know there were validated scales for measuring creativity. To me, creativity is so abstract and potentially subjective, that I would think it is difficult to objectively measure it. We see bipolar patients in the hospital all the time, and I don’t find it surprising that there is a correlation with creativity. As the lecturer describes, there is an association with intuition and openness. I find many of these characteristics also in patients that are taking illicit drugs. I think we are all rewarded and trained for logical and rational thinking. In fact, our medical management and diagnosis all stems from “evidence-based” that provides a foundation of logical, hypothesis-tested, statistically analyzed experimental data. These “facts” often limit our own creative thinking. By altering cognition to be more open and to stop limiting our ideas by “truths” or “facts” opens up a new way of thinking.