TRIZ – Theory to Solve Inventive Problems

Genrich Altshuller was the creator of the TRIZ method. A method known as Theory to Solve Inventive Problems. A suggestive formulation that contains the essence of this didactic pedagogy applied to the field of business.

TRIZ, picks up a series of principles that ‘the person’ must learn by allowing him to analyze a problem, model it, apply standard solutions and identify inventive ideas. However, the phase of problem analysis and the synthesis of inventive ideas are reinforced if they are carried out in groups.

General Scheme of the TRIZ Methodology

TRIZ provides 5 fundamental principles:

  1. Functionality and systemic: our environment are full of systems with interrelated elements or subsystems, which provide a function to some other system.
  2. Ideality: the importance of a system (especially artificial or machines and appliances) are not its parts but the function it provides. It is a pattern of progress that systems tend to reduce their parts and even disappear, the function remaining.
  3. Use of resources: In the search for ideality, the most ingenious inventions and advances are those that, instead of adding, subtract elements; and take advantage, to solve the problem, the resources available within the system itself or in an immediate environment.
  4. Guidelines on the origin and evolution of systems and technology: The analysis of hundreds of thousands of patent documents that gave rise to TRIZ, identified a series of guidelines that help us predict how a system can evolve, as well as certain configurations technological.
  5. Contradictions: Some difficult problems solved, had in common the resolution of contradictions. Sometimes improving one aspect or problem means aggravating another, then we have a conflict or contradiction. The usual solution is compromise. TRIZ provides a series of suggestions to try to ‘save’ the contradiction.

Benefits of the TRIZ method

  1. A commitment to constant innovation. The most competent teams are those that have a demand on themselves. Professionals who adopt a proactive attitude in problem management because they are aware that in the solution of that circumstance there is the key to progress after overcoming a barrier. Through this method it is possible to identify the why and why of a given problem.
  2. To value the past to integrate it into the present. This method is born from the analysis of thousands of patents. For this reason, it has the added value of integrating learning from the past into that present.
  3. A challenge to go beyond the comfort zone. In the field of coaching, the term comfort zone is frequently used, referring to that vital space in which the subject feels comfortable. Well, applying this area to the plane of problem solving, the TRIZ method is an invitation to overcome the vertigo that produces the space that is beyond the known line, in order to enhance the talent of inventive empowerment.
  4. Development of new products or services. If the TRIZ method propitiates the ingenuity of the inventive capacity, a logical consequence of this quality is thought, as in science itself, it is the power to bet on new marketing offers that offer solutions to the demands of customers. And, in this way, this also opens the door to new lines of business.
  5. From the point of view of the budget, the solution of the problems also optimizes the economic management of a project by reducing the cost. In addition, from the point of view of time management, it also speeds up the work process by significantly reducing the number of times of trial and error that experiential value brings. The scientific methodology itself is inherent in the application of this method, for this reason, it also favors the knowledge of the experience.
  6. A pragmatic method that optimizes time management since it fosters attention in the search for a realistic solution.
  7. A systematic method that, therefore, is organized and structured. A method that gives prominence to traditional techniques such as brainstorming that reinforces one’s inventive vision and is perfect for an inventive group exercise.
  8. This method allows to find effective solutions in the field of technical design and correct quality deficiencies. Currently, many of the best known companies in the international field are applying this method in their daily work obtaining excellent results.
  9. Albert Einstein is one of the most historically recognized thinkers, an eminent scientist. His work is part of human development in history. Well, some of your thoughts are in tune with the essence of the need for your own inventive thinking that is at the basis of the TRIZ method. For example, this author states: “The fundamental concepts and principles of science are free inventions of the human spirit.” Therefore, it also pays homage to man’s own inventive capacity. This author also expresses that “we cannot solve problems thinking in the same way as when we created them”. That is, you need your own point of view. Thanks to the TRIZ method, a team can find the best way to solve a setback of physical or technical nature to promote progress. Innovation, progress and development. An important mathematical equation with one objective: problem solving.

Main Tools

There is a large number of tools belonging to the TRIZ methodology. These can be classified into three major groups: analytical tools, knowledge-based tools and psychological tools. The analytical tools allow to formulate the problem; it is, for example, the so-called “substance-field” analysis, the functional analysis or the algorithm to solve problems in an inventive way. Knowledge-based tools provide recommendations to find a solution to the problem; it is, for example, the 40 inventive principles, the 76 standard solutions and the database of 2500 technical effects.

The psychological tools are intended to facilitate the creative process; it is, for example, the so-called “smart little men” method.

One of the first tools developed by Altshuller is the matrix of contradictions. This matrix has 39 rows by 39 columns. Rows and columns correspond to a list of 39 possible system characteristics. In the rows, the first characteristic of the system to be improved is selected, while in the columns the second characteristic of the system is selected that deteriorates accordingly, since there is a contradiction between both. In the box corresponding to the selected row and column is a recommendation of which are the inventive principles that should be used to resolve the contradiction, culled from the list of the so-called 40 inventive principles.

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