As a brainstorming and problem-solving technique, TRIZ revolves around methodologies dedicated to some innovative procedures and product innovations.
Whenever we work on a new project, we encounter so many problems. We know the solution to most of the problems faced in this pursuit. But specific challenges act as a firm hindrance in our way to success. The concept of TRIZ helps overcome those challenges. It’s a scientific concept, yet people mistake it as a psychological one.
TRIZ stands for Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskikh Zadatch, pronounced trees), and it was first coined by Russian engineer and scientist – Genrich S. Altshuller.
He came up with a strange concept that every new invention is based on a pre-stated principle. What he meant by this was – every problem that we face has been faced by someone else in the past (or a similar type), and there exists a solution to that (or a similar type).
Using TRIZ, one can solve any type of problem of any complexity level provided he is creative enough to find the solution to that problem from the past. You may not always find the exact problem and solution, but you will find a similar one for sure.
Your job is to relate your problem with that and carve your solution out of it.
How Does the Concept of TRIZ Work?
The basic principle of TRIZ is generalizing the problem and then comparing it with 40 different inventive solutions discussed in the TRIZ technique. The generalized problem is compared to the similar one existing in the past.
This is because Altshuller, in his study, found that problems irrespective of the industry and science repeat itself, and so does the invention, associated with it.
Now, TRIZ may not always give exact solutions. Hence, there may be several contradictions associated with it. The goal remains to work on those contradictions and reach the perfect solution.
Most of the examples of the TRIZ technique are from the engineering domain. Engineers go back to the past and find the solution to their new problems by associating it with pre-existing solutions.
Features of TRIZ – Generalizing a Problem and Finding Solution via TRIZ
According to Altshuller, every innovation is based on the universal principle of creativity. According to him – the problem that you are facing today has been solved in the past. Your project team needs to work and find out a similar or exact problem from the past and reach out to its solution similarly.
The concept of Six Sigma tools is considered highly effective when the business is focusing on innovation. This TRIZ technique has been found to work even when Six Sigma tools couldn’t perform.
TRIZ encourages you to find a general form of your problem and relate it with a similar one from the past. You will discover how people in the past solved that problem. The goal of your project team is to fit your problem in that solution and ignore the contradictions that come along. Being creative, your team can find the best solution to a problem that seems complex.
According to Altshuller, the problems of any industry or science repeat themselves. Even the pattern of evolution is the same. The innovation that you aim to work upon will be based on a pre-existing principle.
By using the TRIZ technique, your team can speed up the system development process. It can haste the evolution process. The engineers can better and quickly attain the solution to the most complex problems. Moreover, using TRIZ, you can also remove the risks of failure as an adept solution is already present in the past. If you work on that correctly, you can develop a perfect solution to your problem.
Once its benefits are clear, you will be willing to know – when you can use it. So, let’s understand that –
When you are stuck somewhere and don’t know where to go in the midway of any development, then you can go for the TRIZ technique. You can use it when you doubt the solutions suggested by your brain and your team. When you want a quick solution and can’t afford delays in your development process, you can go with the TRIZ technique to find fast and effective solutions. When you have tried using Six Sigma tools, but it failed, you can go with the TRIZ technique.
You must not use it when your team is suggesting better solutions to the problem that are more relevant to the situation and surroundings. When your team is capable enough to think of innovative solutions, you shouldn’t demoralize them by referring them to the past for the solution.
Eliminating Contradictions Usability of TRIZ
We have talked about generalizing your problem and finding a solution to that in the above section of this article. That was the first tool of the TRIZ technique. The second tool is based on eliminating contradictions.
According to the TRIZ technique – some fundamental contradictions act as a hindrance in solving any problem. These contradictions come into existence with the evolution of the problem.
When you make something better, there is another thing that gets worse at the same time.
For example, –your service gets better, but the delivery of the service becomes complex. The next type of contradiction arises when the requirements from the product are contradictory like –we want a laptop with complex and high-tech features, but it should be compact and simple to use.
Eliminating these contradictions by different TRIZ principles will help you solve several problems that seem daunting at the start.
Additional TRIZ Concepts and Techniques to Solve Different Problems
With TRIZ, you will also get a wide range of ideas and techniques that are way beyond the aforementioned primary principles. Let us go through some of those concepts and techniques that you can try to use in different situations-
1. The Law of Ideality
This concept of TRIZ tells that any sort of system tends towards being more dependable throughout its life when it goes through improvement in regular intervals.
2. Functional Modeling, Analysis, and Trimming
TRIZ incorporates this technique for defining a wide range of problems that are not being diagnosed via basic TRIZ principles.
3. Locating the Zones of Conflict
This one is used as Six Sigma problem-solvers as “Root Cause Analysis, “and it is highly applicable in solving specific organizational problems.
With the help of this technique, TRIZ lets you categorize technical evolution as per their system, function, and demand.
5. The 76 Standard Solutions
TRIZ techniques also offer specific solutions that are devised to a wide variety of common problems associated with innovation and design phases.
You can opt for any one of the techniques or a combination of different TRIZ techniques for solving your problem.
The primary goal of these TRIZ techniques suggested by Genrich Altshuller is to develop a standard process for productive and successful innovations. With the help of these principles, he found out that 98% of the patented innovations are based upon the already existing principles, while only 2% of patents are genuine innovations.
Let us now have 40 inventive principles of TRIZ upon which problem-solving can be based upon-
40 Inventive Principles of TRIZ used in Problem Solving
- Local quality
- Nested doll
- Preliminary counteraction
- Preliminary Action
- Cushion in advance
- The other way round
- Partial or excessive actions
- Transition into another dimension
- Mechanical vibrations
- Periodic Action
- Rushing through
- Blessing in disguise
- Cheap objects
- Replace the mechanical system
- Pneumatics and hydraulics
- Flexible shells
- Porous materials
- Color changes
- Discarding and recovering
- Parameter changes
- Phase transitions
- Thermal expansion
- Strong oxidants
- Inert atmosphere
- Composite materials
While solving a complex problem, different innovations can be traced back to the application of any of these TRIZ techniques or their combinations. By right contradiction strategies, you need to find out what should be improved and what should not be deteriorated.
Undoubtedly, the TRIZ technique is beneficial in finding quick and practical solutions to even highly complex problems.
But there is one prime disadvantage of this technique –there is a lack of formalization, which sometimes leads to complexity when you try to understand it thoroughly.
Moreover, when you try to generalize the problem, you may get more confused on certain occasions.
You need an expert team to work on the solutions under the TRIZ technique as they should be made adaptable to the situation.
Sometimes going with TRIZ solutions will cost you more time and effort than working on a traditional method to solve any problem.
So, this was all about TRIZ and how it can help you in solving problems.
Did you find the concepts of TRIZ refreshing and inventive? What are your thoughts about the contemporary applicability of TRIZ techniques? Tell us in the comment section below.