Lillian Gilbreth’s Synthesist:

Harish's Notebook - My notes... Lean, Cybernetics, Quality & Data Science.

Lillian Gilbreth is one of my heroes in Industrial Engineering. I have written about her here and here. In today’s post, I am looking at Gilbreth’s idea of an analyst and synthesist. The term “analyst” is in common vocabulary, whereas the term “synthesist” is not. Even Microsoft Word is identifying that the term “synthesist” is incorrect.

In any introduction class to systems thinking, we get introduced to the idea of analysis and synthesis. As Russell Ackoff, the giant in Systems Thinking, teaches us:

A system is a whole which consists of a set of two or more parts. Each part affects the behavior of the whole, depending on how it interacts with the other parts of the system. To understand a system, analysis says to take it apart. But when you take a system apart, it loses all of its essential properties. The discovery that you cannot understand the…

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