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Problem Solving Part 2 - Modes of Thinking

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My project was to design a computer using the 21 Synectics Steps. This paper discusses the various ways that I applied these seven modes of thinking to my product.

The first mode of thinking is analogical thinking, which is taking information from one analogy or source to assist in solving another analogy or a certain target. It is transferring meaning or information from certain subject to the target subject. For instance, I used the basic or original design of a computer and created mental descriptions that force a relationship between the original design and what I was designing.

Symbolic thinking is the use of real symbols to develop concepts of solving a problem. These symbols can be anything including words, art, gestures, natural things, and number among others. Symbolic thinking is particularly common in children as they learn language through symbolic signifiers that they use to refer to events, behaviors, and objects. As an example, through the image of a curved or circular symbol, I visually imagined a computer with such a curvy design and came up with the idea of a rounded computer design.

In the analysis mode of thinking, a product or element is exhaustively examined as a basis of interpretation or discussion. The element is broken down into smaller parts or topics to get a better understanding of the element and find a solution for the problem. This process involves researching on existing problems of the subject and identifying its weak and strong points to develop an improved version of the original. For example, through analysis I identified that computers can work well with the display and CPU combined to form an all in one desktop.

Synthesis refers to a combination or mixture of two or more objects that collectively form a new object. The objects or entities can even be ideas that make a whole new idea when combined. Moreover, when two ideas or entities are combined they are likely to be stronger or solve the problem at hand compared to a single idea.  For example, by combining two displays or screens and the CPU creates a new computer that is an all in one dual display computer.

Solving problems through a holistic approach means characterizing and comprehending all parts of the problem or object as intimately unified and justifiable only if referenced as whole. It is like considering the mind, soul, body, thought, emotions as a whole person rather than only the physical elements of the person. For instance, I considered the whole computer including its design, usability, speed, appearance to create a curvy, dual display, and fast computer.

Systems can be defined as sets of interrelating or interacting components or entities that form an incorporated whole. They can also mean a set of detailed procedures, routines, and methods developed to carry out a precise activity. As an example, I used the systems mode of thinking to combine the functionality of the computer such as performance, portability, functionality, and look to develop a new computer other than the basic computers.

Dialectical mode of thinking is the practice of finding a solution to a problem by exchanging logical arguments, typically in the procedure of questions and answers. It aims at getting a definite conclusion through augmented reasons that are correct. For example, I decided to consider the logical idea or argument of having two screens is more useful than one screen and decided that it is only logical, and appropriate two add another screen. My above project was to design a computer using the 21 Synectics Steps. This paper above discussed the various ways that I applied these seven modes of thinking to my product.

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