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Engineering Team Using TRIZ To Solve Technical Challenges In Innovation - TOM SPIKE

TRIZ Method – Systematic and Inventive Problem Solving

Many companies are faced with the challenge of developing new technical solutions. They need innovative products with outstanding functions and novel, high-performance processes. But how do innovations come about? In technology, the basis is usually a specific problem for which a groundbreaking solution is sought. A tried and tested approach to solve the most diverse problems creatively and successfully is the so-called TRIZ methodology. It no longer leaves the emergence of outstanding solution ideas and subsequent innovations to chance. Quite the contrary. TRIZ helps to develop ideas and groundbreaking solutions according to plan and in a targeted manner.

The following explains what the TRIZ method is and how it is used to develop inventive ideas.

What ist TRIZ? A brief Introduction

TRIZ is an abbreviation for the Russian term for inventive problem solving. The lead developer of TRIZ was Genrich Altschuller (1929-1998), patent engineer in the Russian army. His job was to help inventors write and file their patents with the patent office.

As a young man, Genrich Altschuller and his colleagues had already developed patents themselves. He has always been fascinated by new things and problem solving. So he was also curious to find out how the inventors master their tasks. He kept asking the inventors how they came up with their solutions and patent ideas: “How did you do that?”

I have not idea. I just made it up!

He often got these, no or only inadequate answers. During their work on patents, Altschuller and his colleague Shapiro realized that approaches to solutions are repeated. That invention is a repeatable and reproducible process. Altschuller and Shapiro are also known today as the “fathers of TRIZ”. Shapiro had withdrawn from development in later years. Therefore, today mostly Altschuller is mentioned when it comes to TRIZ.

Essential core statements were derived from the analysis of the patents:

    1. A large number of inventions is based on a comparatively small number of recurring solution principles.
    2. Recognizing and overcoming contradictions leads to innovative developments.
    3. The development of technical systems follows certain patterns.

The established scientific hypotheses – e.g. that problem solving always proceeds in a similar way – were then scientifically substantiated over the years by analyzing patents.

Technology Innovation Roadmap

TRIZ methods on a sequenced innovation roadmap from zero to hero (i.e. market success).

TRIZ-Method for resolving Contradictions

A Russian patent – like any other patent in the world – has the following structure:

  1. Description of the state of the art.
  2. The developed solution.
  3. Protection claims associated with the solution.

However, there is one crucial speciality in Russian patents: A one-page summary of the patent. This summary made it possible to analyze a large number of data with a manageable amount of effort. From the patent analyzes, Altschuller and his colleagues extracted “patterns” of how inventors describe problems and how they solve these problems.

Altschuller paid particular attention to the inventions that provided a high level of benefit with comparatively little effort to solve the problem. What these patents had in common was that they resolved an apparent contradiction. Two properties were combined that were previously considered incompatible. This feature, the resolution of a contradiction, has become a core aspect of the TRIZ innovation method:

Solving a Contradiction leads to High-Quality Inventions!

Finding and describing a problem in the form of a contradiction is the core element of the TRIZ method. It is therefore also the prerequisite for using the classic TRIZ tools. And it is the cornerstone for finding groundbreaking solutions: No compromise, but progress that has made the previously impossible possible. Newer TRIZ tools also make use of other findings that contribute to success. In some cases even without the contradiction concept.

Best-known TRIZ Tool: The TRIZ Matrix and the 40 Inventive Principles

Thousands of inventors have overcome similar contradictions again and again with comparable solutions. Altschuller and his supporters described these recurring patterns as generic solutions. These solutions are the “40 inventive principles” known today. Amazingly, every, and indeed every, technical invention and innovation can be traced back to one or more of these inventive principles. In the Altschuller matrix, contradictions and the inventive principles used to solve them are clearly shown. Ordered according to the frequency with which you were used to solve the respective problem situation.

Free initial Consultation with TRIZ Expert

Get in contact with Thomas Nagel, Expert in Innovation, TRIZ & Product Development.

The TRIZ matrix thus helps to find solution principles that many inventors have already used to solve their problems. This matrix is ​​the first tool of the classic TRIZ methodology. In further years of research, Altschuller has expanded his invention and innovation tools and established three main axioms:

1. TRIZ AXIOM: A SYSTEM DEVELOPS IN ACCORDANCE WITH KNOWN LAWS

One example is the development of historical stone tools. Stone Age tools on different continents have developed in a comparable way. Without there being any exchange between the manufacturers of the tools. These development patterns are described in the “Laws of the Evolution of Technical Systems”. They enable valuable prognoses about the technologies of tomorrow.

2. TRIZ AXIOM: SUCCESSFUL FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS SOLVE CONFLICTIONS BETWEEN SYSTEM PARAMETERS.

A problem situation is described in TRIZ by defining an existing contradiction. If it is difficult to create a contradiction model, there is often no relevance for the application of TRIZ.
Definitions of contradictions:

  • Technical Contradiction when two different parameters contradict each other, e.g. height versus weight (something should be high but light).
  • Physical contradiction e.g. temperature should be high and small – a single parameter should have two states at the same time.

3. TRIZ AXIOM: THE PROBLEM SHALL BE SOLVED UNDER THE PRESENT CONDITIONS WITH AVAILABLE RESOURCES.

A good solution in the sense of TRIZ uses available resources. No unnecessary complexity is created. In doing so, TRIZ also supports the sustainability of new solutions.

There are numerous tools within the TRIZ knowledge base, for example:

  • Inventive principles to solve technical contradictions
  • Separation principles for solving physical contradictions
  • The Altschuller matrix to find suitable principles for typical contradictions

Based on the tools, there are methods, a sequence of individual tools or steps. The methods represent structured procedures for using the TRIZ knowledge base. The following methods have been developed over the years:

  • Substance field analysis along with the innovative 76 standards.
    Different versions of the “Algorithm of Inventive Problem Solving” ARIZ.

By the way, when as an innovation consultant I ask today – “How do you invent?” and the people interviewed cannot explain that to me, then Genrich Altschuller comes to mind. He had probably experienced it similarly.

Does Inventing work without a Structure?

But yes, inventing without a structure usually works too. For the most part with great effort and long time spent until solutions are found. TRIZ and other approaches of structured innovation help that success is achieved much faster and more effectively. Independent of flashes of inspiration from ingenious inventors.

With the TRIZ method towards innovations

The TRIZ method is a suitable instrument to overcome barriers of thought and thus to develop inventive solutions. First, a problem is analyzed and broken down into its individual components. With the help of the TRIZ method, you can get to the bottom of the problem and eliminate the problem once and for all with innovative solutions.

Today TRIZ is used successfully worldwide to develop new products, patents and innovations. Whitening strips for teeth bleaching are just one example. Thomas Nagel, innovation consultant for experienced users and trainer for structured innovation, also introduces the basics of TRIZ as part of the “Structured Innovation” training series.

Do you want to solve complex technical problems faster and create more advanced inventions? Tools and methods for TRIZ are also part of the innovation roadmaps, which provide clear guidelines for successful innovation. Feel free to contact us on +49 – 30 – 89 64 72 09, or use our contact form.

Henryk Stöckert

Unternehmer & Innovationsberater. Ist überzeugt von wiederholbarem Innovationserfolg. Sieht Lottogewinn, Voodoo und Bällebad nicht als ausreichende Strategie. Weiß, dass Innovation ein Marathon ist, und Markterfolg das einzige relevante Erfolgskriterium.

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