TRIZ is a method for solving the problems creatively. Creativity can lead to cheaper, more effective or more efficient solutions. TRIZ is a Russian acronym for “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving”. TRIZ has simple general lists of how to solve any problem. It offers systematic innovation accelerates creative problem solving for both individuals and teams throughout many industries and sciences.
TRIZ has categorized problems to some general types and has listed basic principles of problem solving. So, facing a problem, you should simply find the general type of the problem and apply the basic inventive principle. Let’s see how TRIZ faces a real challenge. Dairy farm operators could no longer dry cow manure for use as fertilizer due to an increased cost of energy. They were faced with a technical contradiction between dry manure (good) and cost (bad). The typical problem in this case is an engineering “trade-offs.” The desired state can’t be reached because something else in the system prevents it. In other words, when something gets better, something else automatically gets worse. You can easily imagine similar situations:
- The product quality increases (good), but the product price increases (bad).
- Service is customized to each customer (good), but the service delivery system gets complicated (bad).
For every typical problem, TRIZ has compressed human wisdom and offers some principles to deal with the generic problem. In our case, TRIZ led the operators to a drying method used for the concentration of fruit juice, which required no heat.
Over the past decades (more than 60 years), TRIZ has documented 40 Principles. A complete list of them can be found at http://www.triz-journal.com/archives/1997/07/b/index.html or http://www.triz.org/triz/principles.
As your homework, identify a problem that you haven’t solved suitably and use the list of the 40 principles of problem solving. If you get a satisfactory result please share it with us here.