What is the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ)?

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The theory of inventive problem solving, or "TRIZ", is a system for thinking outside the box that can be used to solve problems in any field.

The theory of inventive problem solving, or "TRIZ", is a system for thinking outside the box that can be used to solve problems in any field. The theory of inventive problem solving, or "TRIZ", is a system for thinking outside the box that can be used to solve problems in any field.

The theory of inventive problem solving, or "TRIZ", is a system for thinking outside the box that inventors can use to solve problems in any field. It was developed by Russian engineer Genrich Altshuller in the 1960s and has been used extensively to help inventors create new and better products. The theory is based on the idea that creativity involves breaking old patterns and forging new ones, which can be done using various methods, including brainstorming and reverse engineering.


What is the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ)?

Imagine you're an inventor and want to create a new and better product, but you don't know where to start.

Inventing can be daunting, especially if you don't know where to begin. You might feel like you're stuck in a rut, trying the same things repeatedly without getting anywhere.

TRIZ can help. This system for thinking outside the box can help you develop new ideas and solutions for your invention problems. TRIZ is based on the idea that creativity involves breaking old patterns and forging new ones. You can do this using various methods, including brainstorming and reverse engineering. With TRIZ, you'll have all the tools to create something truly unique and original.

Let's explore TRIZ in more detail, including how it works and why it's so useful for inventors.


How does TRIZ work, and why should you use it in your problem-solving process?

You are continuing the thought that you're an inventor and want to create a new product. You have an idea for something that will solve a problem people have been facing, but you have no clue where to start. What do you do?

In the past, your only option would be to brainstorm the problem repeatedly until you came up with a solution. But this is exhausting and can often lead to more problems. You need a system for thinking outside the box that you can call on every time.

TRIZ is that system. You could think of TRIZ as an instruction manual with instructions on how to think about your problem to find the most optimal solution. These instructions are called tools, which you can use to help come up with something unique and original. Some tools include problem definition, functional analysis, topological search, contradiction matrixes, etc.

TRIZ has three main processes:

  • Problem-Solving Principles
  • Solution Generating Principles
  • Integrated Principles for Technical Creativity

I will discuss these processes in more detail later on.

Who created TRIZ? What is his background?

Genrich Altshuller was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, on October 10th, 1926. As a young man, he attended the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute. Still, he never graduated as he left school to join the army during World War II.

In 1941, Genrich began working at the Department of Aviation in Gorky, Russia (now known as Nizhny Novgorod), developing aircraft parts. By 1944 he was appointed department head and eventually became an assistant to the chief designer. Here, Altshuller began to see many problems with design inconsistency and product redundancies. He also observed that even though there was more than one solution to any problem, only the "most rational" was chosen.

Altshuller began to study patents and interview inventors to determine why they did not select the "most rational" solution. By 1957, Altshuller had put together his theory of inventive problem solving which he published in his book, "The Innovation Algorithm".

In 1984, he founded the TRIZ movement and became known as "the father of TRIZ."

Altshuller died on April 20th, 1998, at the age of 71. However, he left behind a legacy: more than 50 books and an instruction manual for problem-solving called TRIZ.

What are the main principles of TRIZ?

There are four main tools used in TRIZ: contradictions, evolution/revolution, external/internal fields and processes. Each tool is designed to help you focus on one aspect of your problem to develop a solution as efficiently as possible.

Contradictions are what they sound like—a conflict between two things that you must resolve. An example of this is the demand for "high quality" and "low cost." Of course, these two might be logical opposites (one cannot have both high quality and low cost). Still, there is also an economic component—the more you spend on something, the more likely you will consider it high quality.

Evolution/Revolution is the idea that things move in waves or go through evolution (getting better) and then revolution (taking a step backwards). An example of this might be our current "green" movement; we are becoming more environmentally conscious and want to use better products for the environment. But unfortunately, companies now make other products that aren't as environmentally friendly to meet demand.

External/Internal Fields is the idea that sometimes how something works can be more important than what it is, such as a bicycle (not very technologically advanced but handy). An example of this might be using hybrid cars instead of all-electric ones because they are currently more sustainable.

Processes are the steps that anyone must take to achieve a goal. An example of this might be heating food to kill bacteria, which doesn't make you sick.

What is the topological search, and how does it fit into TRIZ?

The topological search is an algorithm used by TRIZ to help simplify problems by searching for possible connections. It works by taking everything you know about your situation and listing them as "positive" or "negative." Next, you eliminate anything negative (which doesn't help solve the problem), then find connections between any remaining positives. Finally, you strive to have each positive relate to as many others as possible to create a "tree" of relationships. The tree has all the information you need to solve your problem and must be simplified to develop a solution.

Who uses TRIZ, and what are some examples?

TRIZ is used in many disciplines, including science, engineering, design, and business. It can help come up with solutions and solve problems more efficiently.

One example is the invention of Velcro, which was initially designed for space missions to be used instead of zippers since they didn't work in zero gravity. However, they found that it had many other applications, including shoes and sporting goods, so they began to market it.


How to get started with TRIZ, including brainstorming and reverse engineering.

Brainstorming is an essential first step of TRIZ. When solving your problem, you want to make sure that you make all the possible connections between positives and negatives. Then write down everything you know about it (or brainstorm more widely, including everything from personal experiences to movies/books).

Reverse engineering is a valuable tool for coming up with solutions. You start by identifying your goal (e.g., an end-product or the problem itself), then work backwards to find what leads you there and identify any contradictions in play.


The benefits of using TRIZ for creativity and problem-solving.

TRIZ can help you solve problems more efficiently by providing you with a system for thinking outside the box. Thinking outside of the box is often difficult because people get stuck on what they already know (which isn't necessarily correct). By using TRIZ, you can attempt to break old patterns and create new ones, which will give you a new perspective on your problem.

What is the guiding principle of TRIZ, and how does it work?

The guiding principle of TRIZ is "the evolution of intelligence."; this means that everything in nature evolves and gets better, so we should be able to do the same. Therefore, you need to look for contradictions and resolve them by creating a new product or solution to bring this about.


What are some common misconceptions of TRIZ?

One common misconception of TRIZ is that there is a single answer for any given problem, which isn't correct because it is highly situational.

Another is that it isn't helpful for creative tasks such as music and writing, which is also incorrect.


The limitations of TRIZ.

TRIZ isn't a perfect system and cannot cover every circumstance. It is also known for being challenging to learn, especially since the English translation of Altshuller's work on TRIZ is not complete. In addition, some people feel it lacks creativity because it is so focused on coming up with solutions.

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