A Useful "Backstop" Creativity Process

Synectics can be a springboard to new levels of creativity.

© iStockphoto/simplequiet

Synectics is a creativity and problem solving process which combines a structured approach to creativity with the freewheeling problem-solving approach used in techniques like brainstorming.

It's a useful technique when simpler creativity techniques like SCAMPER  , brainstorming   and random input   (which are embedded within the synectics approach) have failed to generate useful ideas, as it uses many different triggers and stimuli to jolt people out of established mind sets and into more creative ways of thinking.

However, given the sheer range of different triggers and thinking approaches used within synectics, it can take much longer to solve a problem using it than with, say, traditional brainstorming – hence its best use as a "backstop" when other creativity techniques have failed.


The word "synectics" means "bringing different things together to create a unified connection", which is what's done using the synectics process.

It was developed by William J. J. Gordon in the early 1960s and developed (in an artistic context) by Nicholas Roukes.

How to Use the Tool

Generating ideas with Synectics is a three stage process:

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