TRIZ is a toolbox
of techniques and solutions which when applied to a wide range of
challenges, increases the solution space of the practitioner. It leads to solutions that often could not have been thought
of by that person or group. It is thus different from many
other creative and problem solving techniques which lead the practitioner to solutions they are having problem accessing.
TRIZ is the Russian
acronym for the 'Theory of Inventive Problem Solving'. It was initially
developed by Genrich Altshuller who was a patent investigator for
the Russian Navy. Through his work, Altshuller identified solution
patterns in innovative patents, to category's of problems (which TRIZ
calls contradictions). These solution patterns he also found, existed
along repeatable lines of evolution. To date, over 2 million patents have been investigated to underpin the tools, and recent international
research has moved the tools from the more technology based application
to business and organisational innovation.
• In 2003,
67 TRIZ projects at Samsung electronics resulted in about $150
million of cost savings and 52 patent applications.
• Boeing has utilised TRIZ in the design of a military 767 refueling
tanker, inventing two new and complete solutions to a difficult technical
problem, saving roughly 12 million dollars. The TRIZ
solutions also resulted in several new, very desirable customer features
to the refueling tanker that gave Boeing an edge over competition,
winning an additional 1.5 billion dollars of business!
• A team of engineers had worked six months on the problem of
how a new chemical plant experienced severe fouling in a distillation
column, without success. In two weeks, using TRIZ, thirty-two
possible solutions were generated, thirty of which had already
been considered. One of the remaining two solution ideas solved the
problem, resulting in rapid achievement of operating profit.
• TRIZ is reported being used in Japan at: Fuji Xerox, Ricoh,
Fuji Photo Film, Nissan, Hitachi, Japan Railway, and Panasonic.
• TRIZ was used to develop Crest Whitestrips for Procter &
Gamble (P&G). From a TRIZ perspective, the key problem was that
tooth whitener should be on the teeth to bleach, and it should not
be on the teeth to avoid contact with saliva. A TRIZ concept, a thin
flexible film saturated with whitener that selectively adhered to
teeth, proved to be the answer. Whitestrips was P&G's most successful
product launch ever, generating $130 million dollars of sales
in the first year of operation while capturing over
45% of the whitening market.
TRIZ does work:
Recent Insight collaboration with Michelin (USA) has shown the efficacy of using TRIZ. As reported by one team leader ‘Partly as a result of TRIZ training, my team produced greater than 30% of all the invention records submitted by our research site over the course of 2003, whereas we only represent 7% of the population that usually submit such records’.
Read more: an Insight Centre research paper showing the efficacy of using TRIZ at Michelin
'Why reinvent the wheel?': TRIZ introduction article summarising the above research paper, in Tire Technology International Oct/Nov 2006
'Why Reinvent the Wheel? Bringing Innovation to the World of Tires': TRIZ Powerpoint, Tire Technology Expo 2007, Cologne, March 2007
the tools and methods:
1. The Contradiction
Matrix: after identifying the 'contradictions' in a problem, the matrix
contains three or four most likely strategies for solving that problem.
2. Trends of Evolution: illustrates how systems across a wide variety
of industries/ businesses have been observed to evolve and so having
identified your challenge on a ‘S-curve’, it suggests
guidance as to the next stage of evolution for your challenge.
3. The Ideal Final Solution: having identified a number of solutions,
this approach give guidance as to which solution to adopt.
to TRIZ paper
Centre offers technical and organisational innovation consultancy using these
tools and methods. We also train staff in their use (see participant's
An example of a recent TRIZ public workshop for Business Link
An example systematic innovation & TRIZ workshop
A practical research paper on TRIZ training in HE, TRIZCON2006, USA, April 2006
'Teaching TRIZ as a Systematic Problem Solving Method: Breaking Mindsets': TRIZ paper, TRIZCON2007, USA, April 2007
Highly Effective Engineers': TRIZ paper, TRIZCON2008, USA, April 2008
Comparison of the Problem Solving and Creativity Potential of
Engineers between using TRIZ and Lean/ Six Sigma': TRIZ paper, 4th
TRIZ Symposium in Japan 2008, Japan, Sept 2008
Experiences Employing the Matrix Principles Modified for the Communications
and Electronics Domain': TRIZ paper, ETRIA2008, Holland, November