In its early stages of development, the TRIZ problem solving process consisted primarily of a contradiction table, derived from the study of breakthrough inventive principles used in the top few percent of the global patent literature where a breakthrough invention had actually occurred. Contradictions were characterized by a desire to improve one aspect of a system and when this was done, another property declined in performance or value. Though this is the oldest of the components of TRIZ, it is still useful in preliminary problem solving. Further research in TRIZ has evolved into standard problem models and inventive solution models as well as substance-field modeling and cause and effect modeling with links to patent data bases,
To use this table, go down the left hand side until you come to the property which you desire to improve. Then think about the parameters or properties that degrade or get worse as you try to do this. Find these on the X axis. At the intersection of these two (or more) you will find the number of the TRIZ inventive principle(s) that are most often used to resolve this contradiction. An empty box indicates that many of the 40 principles may apply and so all of them should be considered. It may take a little mind stretching to fit your parameter to these 39 parameters. Its not all that difficult, even for non-technical problems. The 40 inventive principles are listed.