“Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife”
“Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife”
Along with the notable increase in competition to develop new products, processes or services, and the consequent reduction of time to bring them to market, creativity methodologies have become imperative to break paradigms and mental inertia quickly and efficiently.
Are there methodological tools in this regard?, the answer is yes. Based on the method of trial and error, that has reached very low success rates, following with the popular method of brainstorming, to finally get to others equally known as Edward de Bono’s lateral thinking or synectics.
Such approaches, which rely on intuition and knowledge of the team members involved in the process, tend to unpredictable and unrepeatable results, and even worse, many solutions can get “lost” on the way simply because they do not belong to the participants experience.
However, there is a unique methodology that has impacted the West since the Berlin Wall fell, settling as the inventive methodology standard for technical problems solving: TRIZ.
TRIZ is a methodology for solving technical problems based on logic, data and research, not intuition. It is based on past knowledge and ingenuity of thousands of engineers, accelerating the project teams’ abbility to solve problems creatively. TRIZ provides repeatability, predictability and reliability to the process of solving technical problems with its algorithmic and structured approach. So, the door to the “Systematic Innovation” gets open.
TRIZ helps the technical staff of companies (design, quality, R&D, engineering department, manufacturing, etc.) to:
Simplify technically products, processes or services, gaining in cost, reliability and lifetime.
Resolve conflicts and technical contradictions avoiding compromise solutions.
Lead to the scientific and technical knowledge to solve the problem. In many situations the problem’s difficulty lies in that the solution does not belong to the field of expertise of the technicians, the company, sector or even the industry, in general terms.
Conceive quickly the next generation of products, processes or services. It is an excellent tool for technology foresight. That means, given any functional need, TRIZ predicts in detail a range of innovative designs that will satisfy the function.
Get patentable solutions, helping the methodology itself to get a better quality patent portfolio.
Genrikh S. Altshuller
TRIZ, a Russian acronym for “Theory Reshenia Izobretatelskih Zadatch” which means “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” (TIPS, in English), was born by the initiative of the russian engineer, inventor and researcher Genrikh S. Altshuller. Since childhood, Altshuller demonstrated talent for creativity and invention; at the young age of 14 received a certificate of authorship for inventing a diving device (keep in mind that the former USSR did not grant patents to its citizens because private property was forbidden).
Altshuller had always been interested in the process of technical creation; in his own words: “… I felt more and more interested in the mechanics of creativity, how inventions arose?, what happens in the head of the inventor…”. This led him to assert that creativity could not only be developed, but could even be systematized. He began to examine a large database of inventions of his own and others, reaching three important conclusions:
Altshuller started developing TRIZ methodology while working at the “Inventions Inspection” deparment of the Caspian flotilla (Soviet Navy) in Baku (Azerbaijan), under Stalin. By 1969, he had reviewed about 200.000 patent abstracts with the help of his colleagues, in order to find out how the invention had occurred. Over time they developed what are called “40 Inventive Principles”, several Laws of Technical Systems Evolution, the concepts of Technical and Physical Contradictions that creative inventions must solve, the concept of Ideality of a system and numerous other theoretical and practical approaches. All the above became part of what is known as “classical TRIZ”.
After Altshuller’s death (1998), his colleagues have continued to deepen the research, have revised over 3 million patents, and have increased the number and effectiveness of the methodology’s available tools (over 30) to create the so-called “modern TRIZ”.
Thousands of patents have been obtained using the TRIZ methodology, and worldwide leading companies such as BOEING, PROCTER & GAMBLE or SAMSUNG consider it “the best practice of innovation”.
“TRIZ is the INTEL’s innovation platform of the 21st century”
As a brief introduction to TRIZ and Systematic Innovation, following there are some concepts and descriptions of the basic tools:
A dimensionless measure of an inventive solution which qualitatively identifies how closely the sum of compensation factors to produce, maintain and utilize the solution approaches zero value.
Thus, the “Degree of Ideality” identifies the degree of efficiency of the solution, the system, or the process through qualitative estimation of the ratio between useful functionality provided by the system/process/solution and a sum of costs to produce, maintain and utilize the useful functionality. The Degree of Ideality is primarily used to evaluate if a technical system/process/solution being analyzed is more ideal than a competing system/process/solution that provides the same main useful function.
A solution which delivers the result required without the use of neither material and energy resources nor associated costs. As follows from the laws of physics such a solution may never be achieved and therefore the concept of the Ideal Final Result serves to reduce the degree of psychological inertia during the problem solving process by targeting a problem solver towards searching for a solution with the best Ideality ratio.
A situation that emerges when two opposite demands have to be met in order to provide the result required. A contradiction is argued to be a major obstacle to solve an inventive problem and is used as an abstract inventive problem model in a number of TRIZ tools.
Three types of contradictions are known in TRIZ: 1) Administrative, 2) Engineering, and 3) Physical.
Inventive principles are recommendations that provide generic guideline(s) indicating how to solve an inventive problem represented as an engineering or physical contradiction. Inventive Principles were extracted and formulated on the basis of extensive studies of diverse documents describing inventions (such as patents) and innovations. Each of these principles proved successful implementation in more than 80 inventions.
The 40 Inventive Principles and some strategies or recommendations for use are as follows:
Provides systematic access to the most used inventive principles to solve a specific type of technical contradiction. In the Contradiction Matrix, the specific type of contradiction is selected by default engineering parameters. The matrix, in its original version, has 39 system features organized by contradictory couples, in this way, the left column has the positive aspects of the contradiction, and the top row has the negative one. At the intersection between negative and positive aspect there is a set of associated inventive principles to settle the conflict. Not all of contradictory couples have a set of associated inventive principles.
The original matrix was developed by G. Altshuller (known as “Altshuller Matrix”) and subsequently updated by other developers of TRIZ. Subsequent revisions and amendments to the original matrix are generally known as “Contradiction Matrix”.
A modeling of a minimal technical system consisting of two components formed by substances (Su) and fields (Field) that provides interaction between the “substance” components. The substances can be molecules, water, gas, sand, a computer, a pen, a car, a dog, wheels, etc.; moreover, the fields can be magnetic, electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, nuclear, acoustic, etc.
The minimum full Su-Field model is graphed as a symbolic triangle with nodes representing the two substances, the field, and lines between nodes representing interactions between components. Any technical system can be considered either as a single one or as a network of Su-Fields. A special type of Su-Field is known as “Measurement Su-Field ” which may include only one “substance” component.
A problem-solving method which proposes a rule presenting how to transform a given Su-Field to achieve the result required. The description of the rule consists of two parts: its left part presents an existing Su-Field that has to be improved (a generic model of a problem) and its right part presents a Su-Field that implements such an improvement (a generic model of a solution).
From the above definition there have been developed Inventive Standards sets reaching 76 in its classical version, classified into 5 classes: synthesis and decomposition of systems, evolution of systems, transition to supersystems and microlevel, synthesis of measurement and detection systems, and helpers.
A database of scientific effects from a scientific discipline in which the effects are structured and categorized according to generic technical functions that can be obtained on the basis of specific scientific effects.
In each Catalogue, the effects are combined to different groups which include those effects that can deliver a generic technical function. The following Catalogues of Scientific Effects are known: 1) Catalogue of Physical Effects, 2) Catalogue of Chemical Effects, 3) Catalogue of Geometric Effects, 4) Catalogue of Biological Effects.
Original and still in use term originated by the founder of TRIZ G. Altshuller to present a number of common generic patterns, trends and lines which govern evolution of all technical systems. Later the term began to be replaced by “Trends of Technical Systems Evolution”, due to the lack of accurate statistical evidence that the laws of of technical systems evolution are valid for all technical systems, under certain circumstances without exception.
The central analytical tool of TRIZ (ARIZ is a Russian abbreviation of Algorithm of Inventive Problem Solving). Its basis is a sequence of logical procedures to analyze a vague or ill-defined initial problem/situation and transform it into a distinct system conflict.
Consideration of the system conflict leads to the formulation of a physical contradiction whose elimination is provided with the help of the separation principles, and by the maximal utilization of the resources of the subject system. ARIZ is a system of the most fundamental concepts and methods of TRIZ, such as ideal technical system (ideal system), system conflict, physical contradiction, the Su-Field analysis, the Inventive Standards and the Laws of Technical Systems Evolution.
The technique includes a number of psychological and systemic operators to support its procedures.
“from IDEA to MANUFACTURING boosting TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION in Industrial SMEs”