The Altshuller Institute

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TRIZ Features

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Quantifying the TRIZ Levels of Invention

 Quantifying the TRIZ Levels of Invention – A tool to estimate the strength and life of a Patent Navneet Bhushan Crafitti Consulting Pvt Ltd, ( Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Bangalore, INDIA Introduction TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) classifies inventions into five novelty levels (For example see [1]). At level 1 are slight modifications of the existing systems. Typically they are localized within a single sub-­‐system. At level 2 are those inventions that resolve a system conflict or contradiction (called a technical contradiction between two parameters of a system), using usually inventive solution or inventive principle used to solve similar problems in other systems. This is what resulted in the most used TRIZ tool of contradiction matrix and 40 inventive principles. In fact, since 77% of inventions were at level 1 or level 2, TRIZ in popular press and by many consultants/trainers have been reduced to exploring and explaining contradiction matrix and 40 inventive principles. However, it is the deeper understanding that leads to level 3 and above inventions where TRIZ can be very powerful. At level 3, the inventions change one subsystem or resolve the system conflicts in a fundamental way. TRIZ found that about 19% inventions were at level 3. At level 4, the invention gives birth to new systems using interdisciplinary approaches. Less than 4% inventions were found to be at this level. The level 5 inventions are closer to a recently discovered scientific phenomenon. They start a new engineering discipline and have long range impact on the technological development of human race. For example, [2] considers, agriculture, money, hammer, wheel, pump, lasers, etc as level 5 inventions. Altshuller has also conjectured through the s-­‐curve correlation with the levels of inventions to map the level of invention at various stages of evolution of a technology. As per these S-­‐curves, a new domain typically starts with a level 5 invention which is closer to a scientific discovery. In turn, the initial invention give rise to level 4 inventions which may give lower level inventions as people start solving the problems to convert the initial invention into a working system for use in real life. It so happens at this point of time in the evolution of a technical system that a higher level invention suddenly springs up and creates the rapid value and expansion of the technology across the world. This phase corresponds to the steep rise of the technology’s value on its S-­‐curve. The levels of inventions after this second peak start going downwards and people keep on solving lower level problems till the end of life of the technology when it is replaced by new technology. Our aim in this paper is to use the levels of invention and timing information as described in TRIZ and give heuristics to quantify the level of an invention and to give an informed guesstimate on probable life of an invention in terms of number of years. These heuristics have been worked out by the author using TRIZ for more than a decade in analyzing patents and estimating the level of inventions using the heuristics. We also have made a spreadsheet based tool that uses these heuristics and quantifies the level of invention and also gives life of the patent/invention. 2. Quantification of levels of inventions Key conceptual construct of TRIZ is a system – specifically a technical system. A set of elements that interact together to perform a function defines a system. The function is modeled as an interaction of two substances and a field – substances and fields are defined in TRIZ in very broad terms. The function to be performed or delivered identifies the system. In fact, most of the systems are developed based on what can be called the operating principles to deliver a function. For example, if you look at the function -­‐ cleaning teeth – the tooth brush or its variants are developed on the operating principle of friction to clean teeth. One can develop entirely new range of systems, hence products and services if one changes the operating principle. For example, if instead of friction we use ultrasound waves to clean teeth, we may have entirely new product or capability to clean teeth. An invention is always studied and evaluated in comparison to the existing method, mechanism, system, problem, or, operating principle of delivering a function. Further, every system exists in an environment of super-­‐systems, alternate systems, and even anti-­‐systems. Also, the elements that constitute a system may themselves be considered as a set of elements delivering a function – such sets are called sub-­‐ systems if they deliver a function that aids or contributes to the main or secondary functions delivered by the system as a whole. Hence, we have a hierarchy of systems – Subsystems, System and Super-­‐system. 2.1 Invention is some change in the System Hierarchy In an invention, we typically see some change in the subsystem, system or super-­‐system. Figure below gives typical changes at the abstract level that can be defined at the subsystem, system and super-­‐system level. The methodology asks the evaluator to select what changes he/she is seeing in the specific new invention versus the prior art. Based on the selected change – the method gives a change score (CS) to the specific change and invention score (IS) to the specific change that has been implemented. For example, if at subsystem level a component has been removed (trimming in TRIZ parlance) in the invention it is given higher invention score than say if the component has been changed. Further the 39 parameters identified by classical TRIZ – the contradiction matrix are divided into three categories – physical parameters, performance parameters and finally ability parameters. The evaluator is asked to select if there are any improvements that he/she sees in these parameters at the system level Compared to Prior Art T H I S Changes at subsystem levels N o Component Changed Component Removed Component Added Subsystem interface changed Changes at system levels N o Subsystem Changed Substantially Subsystem Removed Subsystem Added Subsystems merged Subsystem divided New subsystem interface created Changes at Supersystem levels N o System Removed Function Remains Systems Merged System Interface Changed New System Interfaces Created Potential changes and subsystem level respectively. Once again the tool gives specific scores to the change (the change score) and the invention score (IS) based on specific changes observed. Finally the tool asks the evaluator if there are any technical or physical contradictions resolved in the current invention over prior art. Based on the number of technical and/or physical contradictions resolved in the invention, the tool assign a change score and invention score to the invention on the TC and PC parameter as well. Finally we sum over all the invention scores weighted by the change score, i.e. Relative Invention Score

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What Makes Samsung Such An Innovative Company? (2)

By Haydn Shaughnessy, Contributor, SAMSUNG logo

“I write about enterprise innovation”

Tech 3/07/2013 @ 6:32AM |50,392 views Forbes Magazine

Full article at:

Samsung is a global leader in screen technology, TVs, batteries, and chip design. So in terms of innovation it is doing a lot right. But we know very little about how.

Two developments convinced the company in the late 1990s and early 2000s that they could adopt a systematic approach to innovation and that is what seems to underpin their current success.

The first development provides a broader explanation for Samsung’s innovation capacity. In the late 1990s they were able to tap into a source of cheap scientific expertise in the former Soviet Union.

In 2009 BusinessWeek reported that Samsung relied on its relationships with Russian experts for its smartphone software development, adding: “Russian brains helped Samsung develop the image-processing chips in its digital TVs and refine its frequency-filtering technology that significantly reduced noise on its now-ubiquitous handsets.”

But a second effect of the relationship with Russian science was the introduction of TRIZ, an innovation method that Samsung adopted from 2000 onwards but which only reached American companies from the mid-2000s onwards (Intel is a user).

TRIZ is a methodology for systematic problem solving. Typical of its origins in Russia, it asks users to seek the contradictions in current technological conditions and customer needs and to imagine an ideal state that innovation should drive towards.

Samsung had early successes with TRIZ, saving over $100 million in its first few projects. It was also adopting Six Sigma at the time.

But it was TRIZ that became the bedrock of innovation at Samsung. And it was introduced at Samsung by Russian engineers whom Samsung had hired into its Seoul Labs in the early 2000s.

In 2003 TRIZ led to 50 new patents for Samsung and in 2004 one project alone, a DVD pick-up innovation, saved Samsung over $100 million. TRIZ is now an obligatory skill set if you want to advance within Samsung.

At the Samsung Advanced Institute for Technology, Hyo June Kim, who wrote The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, a foundation text on TRIZ published in Korean, trained over 1,000 engineers across Samsung companies in 2004 alone.                  

What we know from this is how Samsung approaches innovation. Rather it is based on developing a creative elite. This explains how Samsung used TRIZ to get to its Super AMOLED displays.

Samsung Electronics has a sense of crisis that we have been a fast follower and we can not survive anymore in this position. Instead of leading the industry by developing innovative products, we have followed fast what the leading companies had developed. Top management pointed out this and asked employee not to be a fast follower, but to be an innovative leader.

At Samsung even the subsidiary CEO has to take TRIZ training. From looking at the various presentations I estimate that engineers get about 15 days of training plus 7 days specific project work. That’s quite an investment in method and people.

So the answer to why Samsung is so innovative – with at least two major product announcements this month – is that it is heavily invested in its people, it goes in search of special talent wherever it can find it, but specifically made astute moves into Russia early on; it targets its innovations towards specific competitors and patents that it wants to overhaul (as Apple did under Jobs); and it has an innovation culture based on extensive training, repeatable methodology and creative elite formation, backed by the highest levels of management.

To read the full article, click the link above.

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Is anti-virus a Necessary Evil?

TRIZ Feature

Is anti-virus a Necessary Evil?umakant mishra

Using TRIZ Ideality and Contradictions to find out

what is Necessary and what is Evil

By- Umakant Mishra, Bangalore, India

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,

Using Ideality to determine what is desirable

According to the concept of Ideality, the best anti-virus is “no anti-virus” or a “virus free environment where there is no need of any anti-virus”. However, for many practical reasons the above Ideal Final Result (IFR) is not possible to achieve in the present circumstances. When the ultimate IFR is not possible to achieve the problem solver has to take a step backward and consider a lower level IFR1. The best solution is that which is closest to the Ideal solution. The best solution is that which fulfils all the desirable functions of an anti-virus program without having any of its drawbacks.


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Why Do We Need Innovation?

TRIZ Features

dana clarke

Dana W. Clarke, Paul Nobles and Peter Ulan

Why Do We Need Innovation?

It’s all about the money;
unresolved problems = financial losses and lost opportunities
By Dana W. Clarke, Paul Nobels and Peter Ulan
“Innovation is the most vital factor in shaping a corporation’s success throughout the coming years.  For several decades, corporations have optimized products, processes and services for efficiency and quality; without losing control of quality, it is now time to innovate.  Today’s corporate challenge is to unshackle its innovation capacity to control growth and profitability while achieving leadership in its targeted markets.  Global-economic forces and financial constraints have made innovation-driven growth more essential than at any other time in history.  Corporations face an unprecedented need to stay ahead of continuously accelerating global changes, unyielding pressure for rapid results, and fierce competition from corporations that are aggressively pursuing their own innovation-driven futures.”  


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Inside TRIZ

Case Study: Applying Triz in a non-technical setting for a fuel-cell start-up

By Jean-Francois DenaultDenault head shot

1.    Abstract

TRIZ is a systematic tool used to generate creativity and solve technical problems, but there is little litterature of its use in non-technical situations. This brings up the question: How can TRIZ be used to generate creativty and solve a non-technical problem?

The objective of this experimentwas to use TRIZ in a non-technical setting. As such, the article is very exploratory in nature. Working with a private company, we identified and defined a non-technical problem, and experimented with TRIZ to generate creativity in an attempt to solve the problem.  KEYWORDS: Creativity, Brainstorming, TRIZ, Problem Solving

2.    Introduction

2.1TRIZ in a non-technical setting

TRIZ is a Systematic Tool which is used to generate creativity to solve technical problems. Since it is a powerful tool to generate ideas, there is an incentive to use it in a non-technical setting as a creative thinking tool. For example, Zlotin believed that TRIZ concepts, such as ideality, contradiction and the systems approach are fully applicable to non-technical problems, and that analytical tools and psychological operators are directly applicable to accommodate non-technical applications (Zlotin, 2000).

Brainstorming (BS) is the “standard” method for creative thinking. However, when comparing BS to TRIZ, BS’s random nature becomes apparent. Where as BS can be described as “a way of looking for an idea accidently”, TRIZ is “equipped with technique, process, and knowledge database as a comprehensive methodology of a creative solution of a problem” (Nakamura, 2001). This makes TRIZ an attractive tool to explore.

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Creative Problem-Solving Methodologies TRIZ/USIT

TRIZ Features

Photo of Dr. Toru NakagawaApril 2012

Dr. Toru Nakagawa

Creative Problem-Solving Methodologies TRIZ/USIT: Overview of My 14 Years in Research, Education, and Promotion

The capability of solving problems creatively is most desirable and indispensable not only for individual persons, regardless a student or a working adult, but also for companies, organizations, communities, and even countries. Since I joined Osaka Gakuin University in 1998, I have been working principally on the theme of 'methodologies for creative problem solving' in research, education, and promotion of social penetration. On retiring the University in March this year, it is my great pleasure to have a chance of publishing here an overview of my work for these 14 years.

The core of my working activities has been the research on TRIZ ('Theory of Inventive Problem Solving') and USIT ('Unified Structured Inventive Thinking'). I have attended and presented at international conferences on TRIZ every year, and extended USIT (i.e. a unified and simplified TRIZ) further to find a new paradigm called 'Six-box Scheme' for creative problem solving. In the field of education, besides several other classes on ordinary information science, I have been teaching on this theme in a lecture class and also in 3rd and 4th year seminars, where my students and I have made several successful case studies of solving familiar problems.


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