Analysis vs Synthesis

I’m usually not big on philosophical navel-gazing, especially when there is product to get out the door and mouths to feed. One of our Application Engineers, Ryan Abel, from New York stated the following idea in few enough words to keep my attention:

I’ve heard several of our customers refer to their design work and upfront CFD as more synthesis than analysis. 

Upfront users will of course do both. But as a design tool, upfront CFD is most powerful in the synthesis process. It’s about studying trends, and creating something new using a lot of pre-existing technologies/solutions proven over time at the company.  Analysis is more a research term that infers that something isn’t understood or could be further optimized.

Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle, though analysis as a formal concept is a relatively recent development.

Synthesis (from the ancient Greek) is used in many fields, usually to mean a process which combines two or more pre-existing elements and results in something new.

Analysis is OK… and sometimes very necessary. But, in terms of business, it’s a little too passive for me. If you have a product on the market that is already selling well, I don’t see the point in continuing to study its minute detail like a thesis project. I’d rather have my engineering team focused on synthesis.

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3 comments

  1. […] – bookmarked by 6 members originally found by pranavmadhyastha on 2008-08-14 Analysis vs Synthesis http://lifeupfront.com/2008/07/07/analysis-vs-synthesis/ – bookmarked by 6 members originally […]

  2. Tomas Gates · ·

    I like analysis.  Knowing the details helps us to know where to improve.  Don’t make a new one; improve the old one.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Tomas!