Re: Emergent Learning LO2224

Fred Reed (
Tue, 25 Jul 95 08:21:22 EST

Replying to LO2214 --

Rick Karash wrote, among other things,

*begin quote*
I've used and explored these ideas in a slightly different
setting which involves another use of the same name "Synectics"
(coincidence or collaboration, I don't know).

Since the 70's, Synectics, Inc. in Cambridge Mass, has specialized in
group problem solving. They run meetings and teach leaders how to do so
with their techniques. There is a book by George Prince entitled (approx)
"The Practice of Creativity" which documents the method as of the mid


I had training from Synectics, Inc. in the 70's and have been using it
formally and informally ever since. I find it very complementary to the
facilitation skills I've encountered in the past few years as a Learning
Organization practitioner.

In a separate message, I asked Barry Mallis if W.J.J. Gordon and
Synectics, Inc. were related. Neither of us know of a formal relationship,
but the methods are certainly related. *end quote*

I have a book here on my desk (my dad got it at the Columbia Exec. Pgm in
1966) by W.J.J. Gordon titled just "Synectics", published in 1961 by
Harper and Row. The dust jacket mentions that Gordon is President of The
Invention Research Group in Cambridge (MA). In the Acknowledgements,
Gordon lists among others, Mr. George Prince of The Invention Research
Group. Finally he notes; "Permission to use the word 'Synectics' has
been granted by Synectics, Inc., of Cambridge Massachusetts."

So it would appear that Gordon, Prince, and Synectics are all of the same
cloth, and that Synectics Inc. has been around for alot longer than the
70s (into the 50s perhaps). Do you ever get the feeling that we (the LO
community, loosely defined) might do as well by dusting off old ideas that
were simply ahead of their time?

Fred Reed