- Make the strange, familiar. In all situation with a statement and problem solutions, the main responsibility of the participants is to understand the problem.
- Make the familiar, strange. This means to distort, reverse or transpose the everyday ways to see and respond that make the world a safe and familiar place (making things “out of focus”). There are four mechanisms to achieve this objective:
- Personal analogy. Faraday “scrutinizing… in the very heart of the electrolyte, trying to make its atoms game visible to his mental eyes” (Tyndall).
- Direct analogy. Hadamard points out that “biology, especially, such as Hamite used to note, can be an excellent study even for mathematicians, as hidden analogies can appear, equally useful, between the processes of both types of study subjects “. Albert Einstein observed that “the combination game may be the essential trait of productive thinking” (Reiser). And Alexander Graham Bell said: “It was curious to me that the bones of the human ear were so thick, compared to the delicate and feeble wall that makes them act, and so it occurred to me that if such a delicate wall could move bones relatively thick, why a thicker bigger piece of membrane would not be able to move my piece of steel. And so the telephone was conceived “.
The forced comparison of a scientific observation with that of another field tends to impose a fresh expression to a problem.
- Symbolic analogy. Unlike personal analogy, here objective and impersonal images are used to describe the problem. These images, though technically inexact, are aesthetically satisfactory.
Symbolic analogy is a very concise, almost poetic, statement of the implications of a selected key word of the problem analyzed or that is related to the problem.
- Fantastic analogy. Ideal, though probably not applicable, solutions are proposed.
Finally, the “game” consisting in making free associations with the meanings of words and “leaving laws without effect” (for example, cancelling gravity), is also suggested as means to stimulate new ideas. In its most basic form, these synectic methods can be applied to stimulate the imagination of students in grade and high school. Even at a very young age, students working individually or in class, can acquire new ideas by examining the similarities between the problem stated and the solutions that other people, animals, insects or plants can suggest metaphorically. For example, a problem of transportation can be analyzed by having students think how “their things are moved from here to there” by inferior animals; a problem of air or water pollution can be resolved by thinking ideas related to “cleaning things”.
It consists in hierarchizing and organizing concepts and ideas of a specific topic. Let’s examine some examples:
Let’s draw a conceptual map of the following paragraph:
“TRULY REMARKABLE PEOPLE: There are two types of people: those who enter a room and say: “Here I am!”, and those who come in and say: “Oh!, there you are!”.