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1.7.3 Logical Steps for Problem Solving Using the Contradiction Matrix – Start with Bad Solutions

The logic of solving contradictions with the matrix is a process which requires us to think of a solution – we are changing one parameter because we are trying to improve the system and our ‘ bad ’ solution involves changing something. The solution is bad because something then gets worse; the solution is good because something has got better. The contradiction has been created by a ‘ bad solution ’ – something has been changed which has good and bad consequences. We can define or uncover contradictions by taking all our bad solutions and analysing what is good and what is bad about them.

Immediate solutions come to engineers when faced with problems ‘ top - of - the - head ’ solutions for the leaking flange problem often include:

Increase the number of bolts

Tighten Bolts

Add gasket

These solutions are the starting points.

We now have to find contradictions to solve – what do we match against leakage on the matrix? Which of the 39 Technical Parameters describe our problem? What do we want? We want to stop the leak – or at least reduce leakage but ‘ leakage ’ does not appear on the 39 Technical Parameters. Looking to match the term ‘ leakage ’ onto the terms offered on the 39 Technical Parameters we have several choices including Loss of Substance, Stability and Reliability. In this case rather than agonizing as to which of the three to use, it is normally worth trying all three and trying three contradictions on the matrix.

How Can We Match Our Solutions to the 39 Technical Parameters?

When looking at the solutions to the flange problem we can map the better/worse aspects of the problem onto the 39 Technical Parameters as in the table. This gives us good starting points for a number of contradictions. What gets better? In the table we have translated what we want (reduce leakage and deterioration, more stability and reliability) into the 39 Technical Parameters as Loss of substance, Stability of object ’ s composition, Reliability and Force. What gets worse? We have translated our solutions which make the system more complicated, heavier and harder to use as Weight, Device complexity, Convenience of use and Ease of repair. This then gives us a number of contradictions to solve.

The logic of the sequence of solving contradictions by starting with solutions is shown in the flowchart below. This can be used for either Technical or Physical Contradictions. We uncover contradictions by looking at solutions:

Seeing what is good about the solution asking: How does it make the problem better? Seeing what is bad about the solution asking: How does it make the problem worse?


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

© 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ISBN: 978-0-470-74188-7

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