Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

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

TRIZ is an acronym for "Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch" which is Russian for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. Developed by Soviet engineer and researcher Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues starting in 1946, TRIZ is a problem-solving, analysis, and forecasting tool derived from the study of patterns of invention within the global patent literature. Altshuller and his team reviewed thousands of inventions across many different fields to identify the patterns that led to breakthrough innovations. TRIZ presents a systematic approach to understanding and solving complex problems and generating innovative ideas.

Key Principles of TRIZ

TRIZ is based on several core principles that guide the problem-solving process:

  • Problems and Solutions are Repeated: TRIZ operates on the principle that many problems and solutions are repeated across industries and sciences. By analyzing the solutions that have worked in one industry, you can potentially adapt them to solve problems in another.
  • Innovation Follows Predictable Patterns: TRIZ methodologies are based on the analysis of patented inventions to uncover patterns in challenges and solutions, suggesting that the process of innovation follows certain patterns.
  • Ideal Final Result (IFR): Every process or system should ideally perform its function without any negative consequences or excessive costs. The IFR is the ultimate level of ideality of a system.
  • Elimination of Contradictions: Altshuller observed that inventive solutions often resolve contradictions (such as "strong vs. lightweight"). TRIZ includes specific strategies, such as the 40 Inventive Principles and the Contradiction Matrix, to help identify and resolve these contradictions without compromise.

Tools and Techniques in TRIZ

TRIZ offers a range of tools and methods to facilitate inventive problem-solving:

  • 40 Inventive Principles: These are general solution concepts (such as segmentation, taking out, local quality, and beforehand compensation) applied to solve engineering contradictions and to stimulate thinking outside of traditional patterns.
  • Contradiction Matrix: A tool that helps identify and resolve the contradictions that cause technical problems using the 40 Inventive Principles.
  • Algorithm of Inventive Problem Solving (ARIZ): A structured methodology for breaking down problems and developing new solutions using TRIZ principles.
  • Substance-Field Analysis (Su-Field Analysis): A method to visualize problematic situations in terms of substances and fields, helping to identify needed changes to improve the system.
  • Function Analysis: Identifies and maps the functions of various elements within a system, enabling the analyst to explore ways to improve the overall functionality of the system.

Importance and Benefits of TRIZ

  • Enhanced Creativity and Innovation: TRIZ provides tools to systematically approach innovation, encouraging creative thinking and new ideas.
  • Efficient Problem Solving: By utilizing patterns of innovation, TRIZ allows for the quick identification and solving of problems.
  • Cross-Industry Application: Insights from one industry can be applied to solve problems in another, offering broad applicability and versatility.
  • Cost Reduction and System Improvement: Helps identify less costly and more effective ways of improving systems without trade-offs.

Applications of TRIZ

TRIZ has been widely applied in various fields including engineering, manufacturing, business management, and product development to solve complex problems and generate innovative solutions. Companies like Samsung, Intel, and Procter & Gamble have used TRIZ to enhance their innovation processes. Conclusion

TRIZ is a unique and powerful tool for driving innovation and solving complex problems. By analyzing the patterns of problems and solutions documented in worldwide patents, TRIZ offers structured approaches to creativity that can lead to breakthrough innovations and significant improvements in various systems and processes. As organizations continue to face new and complex challenges, the principles and tools provided by TRIZ will likely become increasingly valuable.

See Also

  • Problem Solving Techniques: General methods and techniques used in identifying solutions to complex issues in various disciplines.
  • Innovation Management: The discipline of managing processes in innovation, which can include creative processes in product development and business practices.
  • Patent Analysis: Since TRIZ was developed through the analysis of global patents, an understanding of patent analysis could be beneficial.
  • Product Development: Discussing how TRIZ is integrated into the product design and development processes to enhance innovation.
  • Engineering Design: Covering the application of TRIZ principles in engineering challenges to create more efficient, reliable, and innovative engineering solutions.
  • Creative Thinking and Creativity Models: Exploring broader concepts of creativity and how structured approaches like TRIZ facilitate systematic creativity.
  • Quality Management and Six Sigma: How TRIZ integrates with other quality management systems to improve manufacturing processes and product quality.