TRIZ – A Problem Solving Tool

TRIZ is a problem solving, strategy development, new research activities and product value maximizing tool for engineers, scientists, researchers and managers specially product development professionals. TRIZ is a methodology, tool set, knowledge base, and model-based technology for generating innovative ideas and solutions for problem solving.

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for “Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch” (Теория решения изобретательских задач), a Theory of solving inventive problems or Theory of inventive problem solving (TIPS), developed by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues since 1946.

Altshuller while working at the “Inventions Inspection” department of the Caspian flotilla in Baku, began developing TRIZ methodology. He reviewed about 40,000 patents to find out in what way the innovation had taken place, to understand the technical relationship between problems and innovative solution for different industry sectors. He eventually developed 40 principles of invention, several laws of technical systems evolution, the concepts of technical and physical contradictions that creative inventions resolve, the concept of Ideality of a system and numerous other theoretical and practical approaches. This extensive work represents a unique contribution to the development of creativity and inventive problem-solving.

Foundational knowledge which TRIZ is based on is invention documents. TRIZ was created as an abstraction of the “world’s best solutions”, as appearing in the development of inventions. TRIZ is based on logic and data, not intuition, thus accelerates the person’s ability to solve the problems creatively. TRIZ is spreading into corporate use across several parallel paths – it is increasingly common in Six Sigma processes, in project management and risk management systems, and in organizational innovation initiatives.

TRIZ, principles shows that the solutions to specific problems in a technology domain are spread over the different technical unrelated domains. If these principles could be identified and codified, this could make the process of innovation and creativity more predictable. Someone has better defined it as:

Somebody someplace has already solved this problem (or one very similar to it.)

Creativity is now finding that solution and adapting it to this particular problem.

There are three primary findings of technological research by TRIZ are as follows:

  • Problems and solutions are repeated across industries and sciences. The classification of the contradictions in each problem predicts the creative solutions to that problem.
  • Patterns of technical evolution are repeated across industries and sciences.
  • Creative innovations use scientific effects outside the field where they were developed.

    The key learning for an innovator is to find out those repeating patterns of problems-solutions, patterns of technical evolution and methods of using scientific effects. Creativity involves looking at a problem from many different angles.

    Thus, TRIZ is a process that empowers and helps engineers, scientists and managers to find solutions to problems in a way that is faster, smarter and more cost effective than traditional Western methods. By understanding – through TRIZ – the essential functionality of a problem solution many traditional patents can be designed around.

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