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Displaying items by tag: Vincent Nolan

Thursday, 24 October 2013 11:25

Creativity Live - review of the experiment

The purpose of the experiment was to find out whether it was possible to apply the Synectics creative problem-solving techniques to a live issue through the medium of the online creativity journal. As the facilitator of the session, my conclusion is a highly qualified 'Yes': the Problem Owner did get some new ideas which she is trying to implement and seems more optimistic about achieving something in her chosen field than she was at the start of the session. Since that is the purpose of the experiment, it has to be seen as a success.

We were able to follow the basic Synectics structure of a Briefing from the Problem Owner, followed by the generation of Springboards, selection by the Problem Owner of attractive springboards and development by the Problem Owner of new courses of action they intended to implement.

However, as a demonstration of the Synectics technique, it left a lot to be desired and highlighted the huge differences between a live, face to face session and an online session using written inputs only. Synectics works by creating an emotionally safe climate in which people are willing to take risks, speculate, trigger off one another and generally have fun (I used to regard the amount of laughter as an indicator of the emotional energy of the group). None of that was achieved in the experiment, for a variety of reasons:

  • contributions were in words only and lacked the extra dimensions of tone of voice and non-verbals
  • the pace was slow, lacking the immediacy of interaction of a face to face session
  • the mechanics of contributing through a moderated journal were clumsy – the medium of 'Comments' was particularly unsuitable for contributing ideas in a suspended judgement environment (the word Comment suggests an opinion!)
  • there was no scope for using the Synectics 'excursion' techniques, which are one of the distinguishing features of the process.
  • similarly, the Idea Development phase of the process (where speculative ideas are developed into feasible solutions by constructive feedback from the Problem Owner) did not arise, because the Problem Owner did not choose speculative Springboards.

The experiment brought home to me how much the process depends on real-time coaching of the Problem Owner by the facilitator, so that the Problem Owner can contribute most effectively to stimulate imaginative springboards. At the crucial selection stage, the facilitator can encourage the Problem Owner to take risks in pursuing speculative lines of thought; this was more difficult to achieve remotely.

Published in Creativity live
Monday, 02 September 2013 22:45

Creativity Live: Synectics in action

Our Creativity Live Synectics experiment is now concluded - have a look below to see how Synectics works and see how it helped our problem owner, Denise Salmon...

How it worked

We had an opportunity for readers to apply their creative problem-solving abilities to a real live problem. Denise Salmon from Jamaica agreed to present her problem as ‘Problem Owner’ and we asked readers to act as resources/helpers by contributing their thoughts under the ‘suspend judgement’ convention.

Published in Creativity live
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 23:28

What's your problem?!?

We're launching our Creativity Live project and we need YOUR problems to solve!

We are looking for some real life problems to solve and we would love to hear your ideas. Much as we'd all love world peace or an end to global warming, we need to identify problems that have Problem Owners - ie. someone who can take our ideas and actually put them into practice.

So if you would like creative people from around the world work on your problem or challenge - or if you know someone who might need our help, please post your ideas on the Creativity Live page, or if you prefer, you can use our Facebook page, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Tweet them to us @CreativityJourn. There's great potential here for us to work together to really help a person or community to solve a difficult challenge.

Vincent Nolan, an internationally recognised expert in the Synectics creative problem solving process, has generously offered to facilitate the process once we've identified a problem to solve. We're really looking forward to seeing your ideas!

PS. Thanks very much to those of you who submitted ideas in our first experiment - there were some great ideas and we'll definitely try them out!

Published in News and Events
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 14:35

Imagine THAT! - Celebrating 50 Years of Synectics

Caroline and I first met George Prince in the middle of a New England railway track (he collected us from a station halt). Welcoming us into his home, he told us about the origins of Synectics and his then latest project, MindFree. With its powerful use of metaphor, Synectics had long intrigued us, but at that time we knew very little about it apart from reading Bill Gordon's book, Synectics, so we were grateful for the opportunity to meet one its founders.

This book is dedicated to the work of George Prince who co-founded Synectics Inc. with his colleagues, William J. J. Gordon, Dick Sperry and Carl Marden. Synectics is a powerful means of developing creativity which was first described by Bill Gordon in his book, Synectics: The Development of Creative Capacity, published in 1960 in New York by Harper & Row.

Published in Book Reviews
Tuesday, 04 September 2012 12:35

Imagine THAT! - Celebrating 50 years of Synectics

Caroline and I first met George Prince in the middle of a New England railway track (he collected us from a station halt). Welcoming us into his home, he told us about the origins of Synectics and his then latest project, MindFree. With its powerful use of metaphor, Synectics had long intrigued us, but at that time we knew very little about it apart from reading Bill Gordon's book, Synectics, so we were grateful for the opportunity to meet one its founders.

This book is dedicated to the work of George Prince who co-founded Synectics Inc. with his colleagues, William J. J. Gordon, Dick Sperry and Carl Marden. Synectics is a powerful means of developing creativity which was first described by Bill Gordon in his book, Synectics: The Development of Creative Capacity, published in 1960 in New York by Harper & Row.

Published in Creativity Development

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.

John Cage

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