Vol.5 No.1 2012
Research paper : Analysis of synthetic approaches described in papers of the journal Synthesiology (N. Kobayashi et al.)−55−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.5 No.1 (2012) 6 Utilization of the basic categorization in actual researchQuestion and Comment (Akira Ono)I wish that the synthesis methods (categorization into the three types) presented in this paper is useful when executing actual researches. In that point, whether the three-type categorization of this paper is reasonable will be demonstrated by seeing whether they can be used effectively in actual research execution. How do you think the various schemes shown in Figs. 1 to 9 can be used practically in the planning, proposal, organization, management, and evaluation of research projects?Particularly, referring to the Synthesiology paper “Formation of research strategy and synthetic research evaluation based on the strategy - Toward research program evaluation as a creative activity” [N. Kobayashi, O. Nakamura and K. Ooi, Synthesiology English edition, 4 (1) 19-34 (2011)] that was written by Kobayashi, one of the authors, what is the possibility of applying the present synthesis methods to the research evaluation?Answer (Naoto Kobayashi)Thank you very much for your valuable indication. Certainly, whether the three categories of synthesis presented here and their combinations are reasonable must be verified by seeing whether they can be used effectively in the actual research execution. On the other hand, I think it is possible to use them in the planning, proposal, organizing, management, and evaluation of the research project.For example, recently, there is a demand for planning and design of research projects with the goal of innovation creation right from the beginning. The points are: 1) to clarify the “logical development structure” where the upper level elemental technologies are synthesized and these will synthesize the even higher level elemental and integrated technologies, by clarifying the elemental technologies that must be developed in research, as well as the characteristics of the elemental technologies and their relationships; and 2) to incorporate beforehand the method of the “feedback process” where the synthesized integrated technology is subjected to actual application including trial in society, and the result is fed back quickly to the next synthesis. In this case, it is possible to utilize the various schemes shown in Figs. 1 to 9, and overall, the developmental structure shown in Fig. 12 can be applied. In cases of research proposals or research organization, we can consider the “elemental concept” and “elemental group” instead of the elemental technology.In research evaluation, the application to the series of processes for evaluating the research project can be considered. In this case, the elemental group (for example, technological elemental group or managerial elemental group) that produced the research result is extracted, and the “elemental evaluation” is done by evaluating their specific properties. Next, the relationships of such elemental groups and the temporal development relationships are analyzed to conduct the “integration evaluation” where the process that produced a certain bunch of research result is evaluated. Then, the “evaluation from the viewpoint of outcome (feedback)” can be done by projecting the outcome obtained from the research results into the future, by feeding back from the actual application. In the process of analysis in this paper, we did not consider whether this synthesis method can be applied to planning and evaluation, but we have realized that there is potential through the indication from the reviewer.7 Characteristic of the synthesis method for each technological fieldQuestion and Comment (Kanji Ueda)In chapter 3, you analyze each technological field and extract some interesting characteristics, but I ask two questions. First, the six research fields at AIST are characterized by the social (or political) demand, unlike the definitions of the general academic field, and perhaps you should explain the definition of the fields or their origin, so external readers can understand and to develop this further as a general discussion.Second, don’t the original characteristics of such fields characterize the synthesis method? That is, for example, aren’t you falling into a self-contradictory explanation where the fields with strong strategic characteristic have the strategic selection synthesis method?Answer (Naoto Kobayashi)For the first point, it is as you indicated, and we added the definitions of the fields at the end of chapter 4.For the second point, as you indicated, it was found that the strategic selection type synthesis was used frequently in the metrology and measurement science field because the strategic goals are clear. However, this method was discovered when reviewing the papers of other fields (environment and energy field), but it was also seen frequently in the metrology and measurement science field. Also, please understand that there are many technological breakthroughs in the strategic selection type synthesis.8 Example of the hypothesis formation in the scenarioComment (Kanji Ueda)One of the essences of synthesiology is the hypothesis formation in the scenario where the possible candidates of a solution or the process of reaching an effective solution are presented, since there is no unique solution. I think you should discuss what kind of hypothesis formations were done in the papers analyzed.Answer (Naoto Kobayashi)The example where the product realization and commercialization were accomplished by repeating the cycle of hypothesis formation, realization, clarifying the scenario, and then advancing the scenario through the next hypothesis formation, is shown in Reference  “Development of real-time all-in-focus microscopes” by Ohba. There, product realization was attempted based on the prospective elemental technologies that were developed earlier. Initially, the hypothesis formation was rather ambiguous “realization of high-performance optical microscope.” However, after meeting with several companies, feasibility study was conducted, the product was completed, the hypothesis was advanced, the scenario toward realization was clarified, and this process was repeated. In that process, the strategy became clear and the product was finally realized. The author mentions that it was greatly significant that there were several encounters with the companies before reaching an effective solution. I thought this was an excellent example of synthesiology based on hypothesis formation, and I addressed this point of the paper in chapter 5.