TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving)

TRIZ is the Russian acronym for the “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving,” an international system of creativity developed in Russia.

One can think of TRIZ as another way of Lateral ThinkingTRIZ is either jumping to solutions OR starting from scratch. According to TRIZ, universal principles of creativity form the basis of innovation. TRIZ identifies and codifies these principles, and uses them to make the creative process more predictable. TRIZ is most useful in roles such as product development, design engineering, and process management. 

TRIZ is based on two basic principles

  1. Somebody, sometime, somewhere has already solved your problem or one similar to it. Creativity means finding that solution and adapting it to the current problem.
  2. Don’t accept contradictions. Resolve them

TRIZ provides a range of strategies and tools for finding inventive solutions.  It provides a structured way of doing innovations and changes the way a engineer would approach a problem. TRIZ is developed by analyzing patents . Thus when TRIZ is applied to solve a problem it brings the vast knowledge available in patents database.

TRIZ is a set of systematic thinking tools and uses a distillation of all recorded solutions in 4 simple lists:

  1. 40 inventive principles
  2. 8 trends of technical evolution
  3. 76 standard solutions
  4.  2500+ engineering & scientific concepts arranged as questions and answers

TRIZ offers 4 ways to resolve physical contradictions by separating contradictory requirement

  1. Time (Try to schedule the process so that conflicting requirements, functions, or operations take
    effect at different times.)e.g. Reviews in a team can be conducted at a separate fixed time
  2. Space (Separate contradictory requirements, functions or conditions by assigning each one to a different location.) e.g. There can be a separate space to perform a specialized functions
  3.  Condition (Look for a parameter or condition that can change so the system can meet one
    requirement under one condition and the opposite requirement under another condition.)
  4. Alternative Ways/Structure (Try to separate contradictory requirements, functions or conditions between different structural elements of the system.)

These are the 40 inventive principles that have been used in hundreds of thousands of patents. You can use them via TRIZ Contradiction Analysis or standalone, as stimuli to prod your thinking forward.

  1. Segmentation
  2. Extraction
  3. Local Quality
  4. Asymmetry
  5. Combination
  6. Universality
  7. Nesting
  8. Counterweight
  9. Prior Counteraction
  10. Prior Action
  11. Cushion in Advance
  12. Equipotentiality
  13. Inversion
  14. Spheroidality
  15. Dynamicity
  16. Partial, overdone or excessive action
  17. Moving to a new dimension
  18. Mechanical vibration
  19. Periodic action
  20. Continuity of useful action
  21. Rushing through
  22. Convert harm into benefit
  23. Feedback
  24. Mediator
  25. Self-service
  26. Copying
  27. Inexpensive short life
  28. Replacement of a mechanical system
  29. Use pneumatic or hydraulic systems
  30. Flexible film or thin membranes
  31. Use of porous materials
  32. Changing the colour
  33. Homogeneity
  34. Rejecting and regenerating parts
  35. Transforming physical or chemical states
  36. Phase transition
  37. Thermal expansion
  38. Use strong oxidisers
  39. Inert environment
  40. Composite materials

Although TRIZ was developed from the analysis of technical systems, it has been used widely as a method for understanding and solving complex management problems. 

  • Samsung uses TRIZ heavily. In 2003 TRIZ led to 50 new patents for Samsung .
  • Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and GE are all documented users of TRIZ.
  • Mars has documented how applying TRIZ led to a new patent for chocolate packaging.
  • TRIZ has also been used successfully by Leafield Engineering, Smart Stabilizer Systems and Buro Happold to solve problems and generate new patents. 
  • Rolls-Royce, Ford, and Daimler-Chrysler, Johnson & Johnson,  Boeing, NASA, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, General Electric, Xerox, IBM, LG, Samsung, Intel, Procter and Gamble, Expedia and Kodak have used TRIZ methods in some projects. 
  • The application of TRIZ tools in numerous German industrial companies in the recent decade has followed the principles of the Advanced Innovation Design Approach, which recommends application of the selected TRIZ tools in the early stage of the innovation process for the identification of customer needs, comprehensive problem definition and ideation, new concept development and optimization.

Note: Condensed from Wiki Link

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