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1.01 How TRIZ Works

TRIZ offers us clarity of understanding of problem situations and solution triggers to help us solve problems. TRIZ has a set of simple but powerful tools that take us from a problem situation to a problem model – which is focussed only on the relevant part of the problem – exactly where and when the problem is occurring. This drilling down to the exact problem area to define the problem requires a very exact understanding of the problem and its context. Once the problem is accurately defined TRIZ offers matches of problem solutions to problem types. For example if the problem contains something that is harmful then TRIZ offers all the recorded solutions to dealing with harm at a very conceptual level such as stop, eliminate, correct or transform into good. There is one essential TRIZ tool which is fundamental to all approaches to problem solving. This is the IDEALITY Equation which is the starting and end point of all problem solving. Ideality is like the Golden Rule of TRIZ – and improving Ideality is the aim of all problem solving, i.e. achieve more benefits, less costs, less harms.

All the other TRIZ tools are there to improve Ideality where Ideality terms are used such as Ideality Balance – a positive Ideality Balance means a product is viable and achieving market acceptance (its benefi ts exceed its costs and harms). An Ideality Audit is a complete check of all inputs and outputs of the system we’ve got compared to the system we want, and Ideality Tactics describe the various processes/sequences for combining relevant TRIZ tools to solve particular problems.

The TRIZ Toolkit is straightforward and although rigorous and powerful is still fairly easy for engineers to learn and apply fairly quickly. The main tools include:

40 Principles for solving contradictions accessed through the Contradiction Matrix and Separation Principles

8 Trends of Evolution for perfecting systems – used for future system development

Effects – engineering and scientific concepts arranged for easy use. A simple list of questions and answers to access all the relevant technical and scientific conceptual answers – a list to deliver all the ways to solve problems without technical language or jargon. (see www. )

Thinking in Time and Scale for problem context, understanding and solving (9 boxes)

Ideal – Ideality, the Ideal Outcome, Ideal Solution, Ideal System and Ideal Resources for understanding requirements and visualizing solutions

Resources and Trimming – for clever and low cost solutions

Function Analysis and Substance Field Analysis – system analysis for understanding the interrelationship of functions

Standard Solutions – for solving any system problems. Creating and completing systems, simplifying systems, overcoming insuffi ciency, dealing with harms, future development and smart solutions for technical problems.

Creativity Triggers for overcoming psychological inertia and for understanding systems and visualizing solutions including Size - Time - Cost and Smart Little People.

The unique parts of the toolkit are the solution tools (40 Principles, 8 Trends, Standard Solutions and Effects) and the tools to access these solutions which include the separation principles, contradiction matrix, function analysis and substance fi eld analysis. These are used to solve engineering problems – especially difficult ones which have resisted the usual brainstorming methods. In addition are the amazing TRIZ thinking tools which once learned are used daily and deliver clarity of thought and effective approaches to both problem understanding and solving. The most popular is ‘ Thinking in Time and Scale (9 - Boxes) ’ a powerful tool which delivers great mental clarity. Imagining Ideal Solutions or Systems is very much part of the TRIZ thinking for both capturing all benefi ts and seeing how to deliver them for the least cost and harm. Fundamental to this approach is reducing costs by delivering essential functions using available resources. Good TRIZ thinkers conjure up such Ideal Systems – which is also the natural territory of great inventors.


One example of an Ideal System was created by Garrett Morgan – the Safety Fire Hood which he invented in 1912 to help fire-fighters. The hood is designed to supply cool air in a smoke-filled room and cleverly uses available resources because it has a long inlet tube at ground level (where the air tends to be cool as smoke and fumes rise in a fi re).

One great strength and problem of learning TRIZ is that we each like different tools and each have slightly different TRIZ toolkits. The TRIZ Tools are all different but some overlap and duplicate each other because they are designed to suit different styles of problem solving. Most of us will only need and will use about 80% of the tools; we will reject the ones which don ’ t suit us but still have a complete TRIZ toolkit. Which 20% we reject depends on each person. TRIZ offers a complete toolkit for everyone, no matter what their learning styles, preferences or experience. TRIZ achieves this by having a wide-ranging toolkit which contains tools to suit all situations and approaches. The genius of the toolkit is that it has tools for all problem-solving types, and allows each of us to build the toolkit which suits us best. However it is important to learn and use all the tools so that when working in TRIZ teams we can work together effectively, and not reject too many tools. There is a danger of becoming familiar with a small number of the TRIZ Tools and only using them – and some TRIZ gatekeepers insist that everyone else in their company limits themselves to their particular choices – which is like playing only three players in football and keeping all your best talent on the reserve bench. Many of the TRIZ Thinking Tools are very simple brain prompts and can be learned in a few minutes such as Ideal Outcome, Smart Little People and Size-Time-Cost. Some of the analysis tools take longer to master such as the Separation Principles and the Contradiction Matrix but reward any investment of effort as they offer routes to locate all the known ways to create systems which deliver contradictory solutions.


TRIZ for Engineers: Enabling Inventive Problem Solving, First Edition. Karen Gadd.

© 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ISBN: 978-0-470-74

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