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Altshuller's picture(But… What is Triz?) 


TRIZ is a romanized acronym for Russian “Теория решения изобретательских задач” (Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch) meaning "Theory of solving inventor's problems" or "Theory of inventive problem solving". It was developed by the Soviet researcher Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues starting in 1946. In comparison with psychological methodology to boost creativity TRIZ allows a better problem definition, takes advantage of solution also from other fields, helps in overcoming compromises and move towards the ideal final result.

Picture describing how TRIZ helps you overcoming psychological inertia

The TRIZ approach is quite different from other problem solving methodologies. In most cases the problem you’re facing now, has been already faced by many other people at different times, at different places and in different situation. TRIZ allows to connect your problem to a standard problem and so suggesting a standard solution which provide you the direction to follow to find out the best solution for your problem overriding your psychological inertia. But also in case you must deal with a completely new problem, ARIZ (the algorithm including up-to-date TRIZ tool in a structured sequence) will provide you an effective path to find out the best solution.

Overcoming contradictions without accepting compromise a key feature of TRIZ. Three contradictions categories are defined by TRIZ:

  • Administrative contradiction: is a problem requiring an “inventive” solution, since any known solution brings some unacceptable drawbacks.
  • Technical contradictions are classical engineering "trade-offs." The ideal situation can't be achieved because something in the system prevents it. In other words, if you improve one evaluation parameter of the system, another one gets worse. Some examples:
    • A container can stand higher pressure (positive), but weight increase (negative)
    • Laptop brighter screen (positive), but more energy consumption (negative)
    • Car speed increase (positive), but also noise increase (negative)
    • Improving employees productivity by comprehensive training (positive), but having employees not at work (negative).
  • Physical, or inherent, contradictions, are situations in which one system has contradictory, opposite requirements for the same control or design parameters. Some examples:
    • A pot should be warm inside to cook food, but it should be cold outside to prevent burning hands
    • A bike should be large to be comfortable, but it should be small to be easily transported
    • Plastic should be resistant, but also biodegradable
    • Street light should illuminate streets avoiding light pollution.

TRIZ will help you achieving your ideal result. For example in the case of the container in spite to compromise on pressure resistance and weight, TRIZ will suggest you to change the container material. Or the bike could be collapsible to reduce dimensions.
Several tools have been developed to help you overcoming contradictions and find out better solutions to your problems and get near to your ideal final result.
Applying TRIZ in companies will help them in increasing the effectiveness of the ideas generation and evaluation allowing a systematic management of innovation.