TRIZ (Russian algorithm for "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving") is the only scientifically based (as opposed to psychologically based) inventive problem solving process and tool kit. Its basis is the study of the global patent literature and the identification of the most inventive patents. Analyzing these patents yields consistent patterns of invention and lines of technological evolution that are consistently used across all areas of science and technology.
These generic inventive principles can then be applied to all other areas of technology, greatly reducing the time to produce breakthrough ideas and inventions. Do you have a problem, process, or product that appears to have an unresolvable contradiction in its design or operation? Chances are that this same contradiction has been faced, and solved before, by people in other industries or technologies and you simply don't have the time to follow all the world's literature and patents.
There are some psychological barriers to accepting the fact that the problem you are trying to solve may have already been solved by someone else. The key to a new invention is the resolution of what appears to be an inherent contradiction or limitation in a process or system. What we normally do is to compromise. TRIZ inventive principles and the historical study of great inventions teach us that direct confrontation and resolution of contradictions are the keys to breakthrough inventions and ideas.
Examples of such parameter contradictions that we would all identify with would include:
1. Weight of a car vs. its fuel efficiency
2. Size of an organization vs. its speed of response
3. Pill bottle safety protection vs. ease of opening
4. Wound coverage vs. ability of a wound to "breathe"
5. Rapid access to information vs. security concerns
6. Pressure security of a pipe or vessel vs. number of bolts required to open
Instead of compromising on these contradictions and moving along the compromise curve shown above, we use TRIZ inventive principles to move the curve toward the origin as shown to the left.
Another type of contradiction we frequently encounter is a parameter or property of a system in conflict with itself. In other words, we want the temperature to be hot and cold (for example in a chemical reaction), a product to be hard and soft (for example in a mattress design), or a property to be there and not be there (a road or river crossing).
To illustrate how one of the TRIZ tools,the TRIZ separation principles, is used in such a situation,take a problem that you have which contains a physical contradiction as just discussed (something has to be light and heavy, solid and liquid, rigid and flexible, etc.) and consider how you might separate these requirements in time, space, upon condition, between parts and whole. For example, does the part or property have to be heavy everywhere or just in certain places? Does the system have to rigid and flexible at all times or just certain times? Can the property be achieved by a mechanism that reacts to an external condition only? Does the property desired need to be there at all times, or just certain times?
These four separation principles have been used to create novel products and operating systems. Try them out in your system! Think about these same principles in the solution of organizational and management contradictions. These are only 4 of the hundreds of problem solving principles contained within the TRIZ methodology.
We use the advanced Innovation Workbench® and Creax software products and combine them with advanced training techniques to apply TRIZ to not only tough engineering and product design contradictions, but also to protection and superior design of intellectual property claims.
We are also unique in our ability to apply TRIZ principles to non-technical organizational problems relating to communication and personnel issues. We are unique in our ability and desire to combine TRIZ problem solving with existing tools you may already be using such as QFD, Edward DeBono's techniques such as Six Hats™ and Lateral Thinking™, and Creative Problem Solving/Brainstorming.
TRIZ can also be applied in reverse to solve and diagnose failure analysis problems that have not been solved with techniques such as HAZOP and FEMA. These "reverse" TRIZ tools have been used to solve problems relating to food quality and contamination, electronic bank fraud, and organizational communication.