Sometimes you really need to look at problems in a creative and innovative manner. TRIZ is a problem-solving approach that fosters invention for project teams who have become stuck while trying to solve a business challenge.
TRIZ (Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadach) is a problem-solving methodology that was developed in the former Soviet Union by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the mid-20th century. TRIZ is a system of tools and techniques for innovation and inventive problem-solving, based on the analysis of millions of patents across different industries and disciplines.
Overview: What is TRIZ?
TRIZ was developed by the Soviet inventor and science fiction writer Genrich Altshuller and his associates. He started developing TRIZ in 1946 while doing work for the Soviet Navy. His job was to help with the development of invention proposals, document them, and to prepare applications to the patent office. He realized that a problem requires an inventive solution if there are unresolved contradictions created when improving one parameter negatively impacts another.
TRIZ is based on the idea that there are universal principles of innovation that can be learned and applied to any problem, regardless of the field or domain. TRIZ aims to help individuals and organizations to systematically identify and overcome contradictions or obstacles in their systems or processes, in order to achieve better performance, efficiency, and effectiveness.
The TRIZ methodology is composed of several stages, which include problem formulation, analysis, ideation, and evaluation. TRIZ provides a set of techniques to help individuals and teams to identify and resolve contradictions, such as the contradiction matrix, the 40 principles, and the separation principles, among others.
TRIZ has been used by many organizations around the world, including Samsung, Intel, and Procter & Gamble, to improve their products and processes, and to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.
5 benefits of TRIZ
TRIZ offers several benefits to individuals and organizations, including:
1. Improved problem-solving
TRIZ provides a systematic approach to problem-solving that helps to identify the underlying causes of a problem and to generate innovative solutions that are more effective, efficient, and elegant.
2. Increased creativity
TRIZ provides a set of tools and techniques for ideation and creativity, such as the contradiction matrix, the 40 principles, and the separation principles, among others. These tools can help individuals and teams to break free from conventional thinking and to generate novel ideas.
3. Reduced time and cost
TRIZ can help to reduce the time and cost of innovation by providing a systematic approach to problem-solving that is based on the analysis of millions of patents across different industries and disciplines. This can help to avoid reinventing the wheel and to leverage existing knowledge and solutions.
4. Enhanced innovation
TRIZ provides a framework for innovation that is based on the identification and resolution of contradictions or obstacles in a system or process. This can help to create new products and services, to improve existing ones, and to develop new business models and strategies.
5. Increased collaboration
TRIZ provides a common language and framework for problem-solving that can help to foster collaboration and communication between individuals and teams from different disciplines and backgrounds. This can help to break down silos and to create a more innovative and collaborative culture.
Why is TRIZ important to understand?
TRIZ is important to understand for several reasons:
TRIZ provides a systematic approach to problem-solving that can help individuals and organizations to identify and resolve contradictions or obstacles in their systems or processes. This can lead to more effective and efficient solutions.
TRIZ can provide a competitive advantage to individuals and organizations that can use the methodology to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. This can help to create new markets, to improve existing products and services, and to increase profitability.
TRIZ helps model problems that are not well defined into a specific problem that can be solved by any engineer.
An industry example of TRIZ
An automotive company had a product innovation need related to the gas cap, so they brought a team together and used TRIZ to develop an innovative solution.
First, they generated a problem statement. Multiple customer complaints state that gas caps are hard to install, easy to forget, make your hands smell like gas, and make the check engine light appear if not properly closed.
Next, they generated a conflict statement. We want to make it easy to add gas to the automobile but not at the expense of safety and functionality.
The team went to the contradictions matrix and selected the contradictions from the list of 39 that best fit the conflict statement. They then set the contradictions. First, the feature to improve. Next, the feature to preserve. Next, they narrowed down the relevant Inventive Principles. The Contradictions Matrix pointed to applicable Inventive Principles based on the contradictions above
Finally, they expanded the 3-4 Inventive Principles and brainstormed solutions. The solution was to use a spring-loaded flap in the fill nozzle. The flap seals the fuel tank in place of the gas cap.
6 best practices when thinking about TRIZ
Here are some best practices for using TRIZ effectively:
1. Clearly define the problem
Before applying TRIZ, it is important to clearly define the problem or challenge that needs to be solved. This includes understanding the root cause of the problem, the desired outcome, and any constraints or limitations.
2. Use a systematic approach
TRIZ provides a systematic approach to problem-solving, and it is important to follow this approach to ensure that all aspects of the problem are considered. This includes defining the problem, analyzing the problem, generating ideas, evaluating the ideas, and implementing the solution.
3. Collaborate with others
TRIZ is best used in a collaborative environment, where individuals with different perspectives and experiences can contribute to the problem-solving process. This can help to generate more diverse and innovative solutions.
4. Leverage the TRIZ tools and techniques
TRIZ provides a range of tools and techniques that can be used to generate innovative solutions, such as the contradiction matrix, 40 inventive principles, and separation principles. It is important to be familiar with these tools and techniques and to use them appropriately in the problem-solving process.
5. Apply TRIZ to a variety of problems
TRIZ can be applied to a wide range of problems, including technical, business, and organizational problems. By applying TRIZ to a variety of problems, individuals and organizations can develop a deeper understanding of the methodology and how it can be used to generate innovative solutions.
6. Continuously improve the problem-solving process
Like any methodology, TRIZ can be improved and refined over time. It is important to reflect on the problem-solving process and to identify areas for improvement. This can help individuals and organizations to become more efficient and effective in using TRIZ to solve problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about TRIZ
What is TRIZ?
TRIZ is a problem-solving methodology that was developed in the former Soviet Union by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the mid-20th century. TRIZ is based on the analysis of millions of patents across different industries and disciplines and provides a set of tools and techniques for innovation and inventive problem-solving.
What are the benefits of TRIZ?
TRIZ offers several benefits, including improved problem-solving, increased creativity, reduced time and cost, enhanced innovation, and increased collaboration.
How does TRIZ work?
TRIZ works by using a systematic approach to problem-solving that is based on the identification and resolution of contradictions or obstacles in a system or process. TRIZ provides a set of tools and techniques for ideation, such as the contradiction matrix, the 40 principles, and the separation principles, among others.
What problems can TRIZ solve?
TRIZ can be applied to a wide range of problems, including technical, business, and organizational problems. TRIZ can be used to identify and resolve contradictions or obstacles in a system or process, leading to more effective and efficient solutions.
Who can use TRIZ?
TRIZ can be used by individuals and organizations of all sizes and in all industries. TRIZ is particularly useful for engineers, scientists, and researchers who are looking to solve technical problems, but it can also be used by business professionals and entrepreneurs who are looking to develop new products or services.
What is the difference between TRIZ and other problem-solving methodologies?
TRIZ is unique in that it provides a set of universal principles of innovation that can be learned and applied to any problem, regardless of the field or domain. TRIZ is based on the analysis of millions of patents across different industries and disciplines and provides a systematic approach to problem-solving.
Can TRIZ be combined with other problem-solving methodologies?
Yes, TRIZ can be combined with other problem-solving methodologies, such as Six Sigma or Lean, to provide a more comprehensive approach to problem-solving. By combining different methodologies, individuals and organizations can leverage the strengths of each approach to solve complex problems.
Wrapping up TRIZ
TRIZ (pronounced TREEZ) is the Russian acronym for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. This proven approach to solving technical problems began in 1946 when Genrikh Altshuller, a Soviet engineer, inventor, and writer, studied thousands of patents and noticed certain patterns. From these patterns he discovered that the evolution of a technical system is not a random process but is governed by certain objective laws. These laws can be used to consciously develop a system along its path of technical evolution – by determining and implementing innovations.
TRIZ works best in situations where other Six Sigma tools have not accomplished the task. It provides another way to find solutions during the Improve phase of the Six Sigma technique DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) or the design phase of DMEDI (define, measure, explore, develop, implement).