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What is TRIZ and How to Use it in Problem Solving?

What is Triz and How to Use it in Problem Solving PPT Template

There are a number of problem-solving techniques and methodologies, including brainstorming , root cause analysis , and 5 whys analysis . We covered these methods in a previous post, in which we provided you with 5 Problem Solving Strategies . While the mentioned before can be effective for problem-solving, there is a strategy that goes a step further applying logic, aided by data and research. This strategy is known as TRIZ .

What sets TRIZ apart from other methodologies of its kind is that it provides 40 principles and 76 standards which can enable you to put your problem in a box, and match a solution to resolve it.

History of TRIZ

Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues developed TRIZ. Altshuller was a science fiction author and inventor; he began to work on TRIZ in 1946. For many years TRIZ was not practiced outside the Soviet Union . 

Altshuller worked at the Caspian Sea fleet from the Soviet Navy, more specifically, the Inventions Inspection department. He believed that there were “contradictions”, which occurred when improving a parameter negatively and impacted another. This, according to Altshuller, required inventive solutions. His work was briefly interrupted due to his arrest in 1950. He was sentenced to 25 years due to the letters he wrote to Stalin, top government officials, and newspapers, criticizing some decisions made by the Soviet Government. He resumed his work after he was freed in 1953, after the death of Stalin.

The first paper on TRIZ was published in 1956, and Altshuller expanded his work across the USSR till the 1980s. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the concept caught up in other countries, thanks to Soviet emigrants reaching other countries. In 1995, the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies at Boston was established in the United States.

TRIZ has resulted in the birth of hundreds of thousands of inventions by being the base of extensive research across different fields.

What is the TRIZ Method for Problem Solving?

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for “ teoriya resheniya izobretatelskikh zadatch “, which translates in English as the “ theory of inventive problem solving “.

Altshuller lamented that while sailors had maps, the same cannot be said for inventors. Therefore, he developed a methodology that codifies creativity principles forming the basis of the invention. In other words, TRIZ offers generalized solutions for generalized problems. Consequently, they can be matched to your issue, because the problem you face has likely been faced by someone else previously. Applying the solution used back then, and adapting it to your problem, you can reach a solution.

TRIZ is widely used in design engineering, process management and the development of products. Some of the world’s most renowned companies that have used TRIZ in projects include Ford, General Electric, Samsung, LG, Intel, Kodak, Procter & Gamble, Motorola, HP Rolls-Royce..

In 2003, Samsung had 50 patents owing to TRIZ and saved $100 million the following year due to a TRIZ project.

TRIZ Problem Solving PPDAC PPT Template

Explanation of the TRIZ Concept by Genrich Altshuller

The video below shows Genrich Altshuller explaining the concept behind TRIZ to students.

Central Concepts of TRIZ

Let’s explore the two central concepts associated with the theory of inventive problem solving, i.e. generalizing problems and solutions & contradictions.

Generalizing Problems and Solutions

The basic concept behind TRIZ, based on research findings, implies that problems and solutions repeat themselves, they repeat across industries. These problems are contradictions that can be resolved using creative solutions. TRIZ is used for understanding these patterns of contradictions and solutions for developing new methods.

Problem Identification: Contradictions

The basic concept of TRIZ identifies contradictions as the primary issue related to a problem, and eliminating them can lead to a solution. Two categories of contradictions exist in TRIZ:

1. Technical Contradictions

Technical Contradictions occur when improving something leads to something else suffering from a negative effect.

Example 1: Processing power for a computer increases (good), but it uses hardware, making it bulkier (bad). . 

Old computers were bulkier, with fewer features; however, overtime, innovation in hardware resolved this problem with smaller processors, with increased processing speed, incorporated in lightweight computers.

Example 2 : A business customizes service for its customers (good); however, the service is now suffering from delays and a long waiting time for customers (bad). 

Many businesses employ many methods to resolve such contradictions, such as using AI-powered online services, portals, and shopping carts to offer customized service, with an estimated delivery time.

2. Physical Contradictions

Physical Contradictions are inherent. An object or system might have requirements that are contrary, resulting in Physical Contradictions.

Example 1: An operating system should be complex so that it can offer many features to the end user; however, it needs to be easy enough to use without many command lines. 

A primary example of this is the need for command lines in most Linux based operating systems. Many Microsoft based client and server operating systems resolve this contradiction by offering an easy to use Graphical User Interface or GUI. Easy search features also aid this within the OS.

Example 2: A cupboard should be large enough to accommodate many items but not take up too much space. 

There are a number of cupboards which are either detachable or can be folded to free up space. Smart cupboards for instance, provide combined solutions for storing more items in less space.

Inventive Principles and Standard Solutions

There are 40 Inventive Principles and 76 Standard Solutions of TRIZ which can be used for resolving problems.

The 40 Inventive Principles of TRIZ

The database of TRIZ has a collection of user compiled resources. This open source database consists of 40 principles. These principles provide the basis for resolving problems. These principles include the following:

Segmentation, extraction, local quality, asymmetry, combination, universality, nesting, counterweight, prior counteraction, prior action, cushion in advance, equipotentiality, inversion, spheroidality, dynamicity, partial, overdone or excessive action, moving to a new dimension, mechanical vibration, periodic action, continuity of useful action, rushing through, convert harm into benefit, feedback, mediator, self-service, copying, inexpensive short life, replacement of a mechanical system, use pneumatic or hydraulic systems, flexible film or thin membranes, use of porous materials, changing the colour, homogeneity, rejecting and regenerating parts, transforming physical or chemical states, phase transition, thermal expansion, use strong oxidisers, inert environment and composite materials.

Example: The first principle in the list, called “segmentation”, proposes breaking down objects into independent parts. This might include manufacturing an object so that it becomes easier to disassemble or use segmentation to resolve a technical issue. This might be done by using a trailer and truck instead of one large truck or by designing cubicles for an open plan office to enable easy reshuffling of the office layout according to need.

For more details, see these 40 TRIZ Principles with detailed explanations.

76 Standard Solutions of TRIZ

There are 76 Standard Solutions which were compiled by none other than Genrich Altshuller and his comrades over ten years between 1975-1985. These standard solutions are categorized in five broad categories.

1.      There are 13 standard solutions for “improving the system” with little or no change.

2.      There are 23 standard solutions for “improving the system” by changing the system.

3.      There are 6 standard solutions for “system transitions”.

4.      There are 17 standard solutions for “detection and measurement”.

5.       There are 17 standard solutions for “simplification and improvement”

For more details, see these 76 Standard Solutions with examples.

Applying TRIZ for Problem Solving 

If you wish to use TRIZ for problem-solving, you can use the following steps to resolve a problem.

1. Define the Problem: You can get started by defining the problem. You can assess if the issue suffers from a Physical or Technical contradiction.

2. Find the TRIZ Generalized Problem to Match your Problem: You can match the generalized problem to match your issue. Since problems are often repeating themselves across industries and sciences.

3. Find the Generalized Solution to Solve the Generalized Problem: You can match the generalized problem to a generalized solution to see how it resolved the former.

4. Use the Identified Solution to Resolve Your Problem: You can use the generalized problem and its generalized solution as an example and adapt it to your specific issue to resolve it.

TRIZ Problem Solving PPT Template

How to Present a TRIZ Solution in 4 Steps

Do you want to present your TRIZ solution in the form of a PowerPoint presentation? You can use our 4 step guide mentioned below to present a TRIZ solution.

1. Present the Problem in a Single Slide: You can start by presenting a problem in the form of a single slide. This can come after an introductory slide, with the presentation title and the presenter’s name. Alternatively, you can transform the opening slide in a manner that it introduces the topic and also explains the problem. If your audience is new to TRIZ, you might need to explain the concept in a slide prior to discussing how a TRIZ solution might be suitable for it.

2. Compare a Suitable Generalized Problem with a Generalized Solution: You can create a comparison slide to compare a suitable generalized solution to a generalized problem that matches your issue. This can also be a good time to discuss the nature of the contradiction (physical or technical).

3. Explain How the Generalized Solution can be Adapted: The third slide should be focused on how the generalized solution can be adapted to your specific issue. You can use bullet points to discuss the basic elements of the generalized solution’s adaptability for your specific issue. Depending upon the nature of the problem, you can focus on the solution using 1-3 slides.

4. Add a Summary to Conclude the Presentation: You should summarize your TRIZ solution in the form of a closing slide. This should be brief, with a general explanation of the topic, with ideally some focus on the solution. 

Using the 4 step guide above, you can present a TRIZ solution within just 4-8 slides.

Final Words

The theory of inventive problem solving can help resolve a wide range of problems across a variety of fields. Using TRIZ can be a bit complex for people who might not have a scientific background of some sort; however, looking at some of the basic principles alone can help anyone benefit from TRIZ. It isn’t necessary that everyone uses TRIZ on their own. For example, a project or marketing manager can send recommendations to a relevant department to request engineers and designers to look at the possibility of incorporating features that can help reduce project costs or improve a product’s marketability.

The 40 TRIZ Principles alone are enough to provide a range of ideas even to newbies to look for a possible solution to a ‘contradiction’ they may be dealing with. Be it segmentation, extraction, changing the colour, homogeneity or self-service, inexpensive short life or  replacement of a mechanical system. Even behind complex TRIZ principles, the simple ideas have ideas that can be used for resolving problems with creative solutions.

1. Problem Solving PPDAC Diagram PowerPoint Template

triz problem solving process

The PPDAC diagram template provides an intuitive way to reach towards a solution with it’s unique approach to 5 keywords. Begin with the problem, create a plan, use the data, create an analysis, and finally draft a conclusion.

Use This Template

triz problem solving process

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TRIZ is a systematic approach for understanding and solving any problem, boosting brain power and creativity, and ensuring innovation. 

We regularly run live webinars to provide an overview of TRIZ processes and tools, register for free to find out more?

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Watch with German subtitles /  Mit Deutschen Untertiteln >>

The Origins of TRIZ

Beginning in 1946 and still evolving, TRIZ was developed by the Soviet inventor Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues. TRIZ in Russian = Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch or in English, The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. Years of Russian research into patents uncovered that there are only 100 known solutions to fundamental problems and made them universally available in three TRIZ solution lists and the Effects Database .

Through enabling clear thinking and the generation of innovative ideas, TRIZ helps you to find an ideal solution without the need for compromise. However it is not a Theory - it is a big toolkit consisting of many simple tools - most are easy to learn and immediately apply to problems. This amazing capability helps us tackle any problem or challenge even when we face difficult, intractable or apparently impossible situations. 

TRIZ helps us keep detail in its place, to see the big picture and avoid getting tripped up with irrelevance, waylaid by trivial issues or seduced by premature solutions. It works alongside and supports other toolkits, and is particularly powerful for getting teams to work together to understand problems effectively, collectively generate ideas and innovate.

Developed by Oxford Creativity, Oxford TRIZ™ is simpler than standard or classic TRIZ. Its tools and processes are faster to learn and easier to apply. Oxford TRIZ is true to classic TRIZ (neither adding nor removing anything) but it delivers: 

More powerful results

Faster and easier ways to learn and apply triz, step-by-step processes for applying triz toolkits, 'at a glance' understanding, supported by our hallmark commissioned cartoons (from clive goddard), philosophy of making every session effective, efficient and fun, gap-filling where other toolkits fall short.

TRIZ enthusiasts who have failed to use TRIZ effectively or to embed TRIZ into their organisations hail Oxford TRIZ as revelatory.

Very impressed with how Oxford Creativity has been able to create a methodology for applying TRIZ that can be widely used.

"I have learnt new and powerful ways of looking at problems differently to come up with new and viable solutions. It is a toolset that I think all engineers would find useful. "

Michelle Chartered (Aeronautical) Engineer

Join one of our free webinars to learn more about TRIZ, its tools and how they can help you create innovative solutions to your problems.

Alternatively, sign up for Oxford TRIZ Live - Fundamental Problem Solving, our new online course that will give you a solid foundation in TRIZ concepts, tools and techniques and get you using them from day one.

History of TRIZ 

How did triz start who was the founder altshuller.

It seems unfair that the work of Altshuller, perhaps one of the greatest engineers of the twentieth century remains quite obscure; especially as the his powerful findings enhances and transforms the work of managerial and technical teams in most countries of the world. He was a remarkable and charismatic man who innovated innovation and inspired many, as an inventor, teacher, and science-fiction author (Altov). The stories about Genrich Saulovich Altshuller (1926-1998) founder of TRIZ,  derive mostly from those who worked with him, a community of Jewish intellectuals from Ukraine, Russia, and other countries once part of the Soviet Union. Many of these left Russia when they could, in the early 1990’s, taking TRIZ with them, to reach business and technical communities all over the world. Although TRIZ is a Russian acronym*, in today’s troubled world it is worth emphasising that TRIZ is much more Zelensky than Putin – as it was developed in a Siberian Gulag by those who stood up to Stalin.

Altshuller's groundbreaking work in the field of creative problem-solving derives from analysing the patent database and identifying and sharing the patterns of success in the world’s published knowledge. This is unlike most other creative techniques which cluster round brain prompts to improve brainstorming. TRIZ contains all these too, but they seem less significant than the power of the unique solution techniques uncovered by the TRIZ community in the last century.

Altshuller’s life

Genrich Saulovich Altshuller was bought up in Baku, Azerbaijan, but was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on October 15, 1926, at those times both countries were a part of the Soviet Union. Just too young to serve in World War II, Altshuller was patenting his inventions from 1940 when he was just 14.  He trained as a diver and electrician and later at the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute in Baku. Altshuller joined the Soviet Navy as a mechanical engineer in his early twenties and worked in the Baku patent department, interacting with the Caspian Sea flotilla of the Soviet Navy where, as in all wars, creativity and invention flourished; this had a profound impact on his thinking and future endeavours. It was here that he began to formalize his Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, together with his colleague Raphael Shapiro. TRIZ was born out of the pair's aspiration to create a systematic approach to problem-solving that could replace the hit-or-miss strategies often used by inventors.

Altshuller’s genius observation of the frequent occurrence of identical solutions in different industries

Altshuller ’bottled’ the inventive process. He identified how frequently inventors duplicate each other’s work as they unknowingly reinvent the wheel. They fail to recognise that their efforts are repeating work already achieved (and documented), because their results are published in their own specialist technical language. Altshuller could see how science and engineering (by this time segmented and specialised) had become a ‘Tower of Babel’** because each discipline had its own different technical jargon. It was as if there were now many tribes in technology, with their own tribal language, which they used to write their papers and patents; (Chemists spoke chemistry and physicist spoke physics etc.). Altshuller showed that by stripping out details (which removed most technical jargon) both the problems being solved and their answers were revealed. This research showed that there are only about 100 fundamental ways to solve any problem. Altshuller and his teams gave these ‘ hundred answers to anything’ in three overlapping lists which show us how to:-

  • Resolve contradictions (40 Principles)
  • Invent future Products (8 Trends)
  • Deal with Harms, boost insufficiencies and measure or detect (76 Standard Solutions)

These concept solutions underly all inventive problem-solving and they help us solve particular problems  through using the TRIZ Contradiction Matrix and Separation Principles and TRIZ Function Mapping. Also there is the TRIZ Effects Database which answers ‘how to’ questions – so if we wanted to know how to ‘change viscosity’ it would show us all published ways and give an explanation of each. (see   https://www.triz.co.uk/triz-effects-database )

Development of TRIZ:

Altshuller and his TRIZ community created their database of technical problems and solutions from various industries by undertaking an exhaustive study of patents, scientific literature, and innovation history. TRIZ  ‘uncovered’ all the ways humankind knows to tackle tough challenges and was a vast collaboration of many (including Rafael Shapiro) to formalise the TRIZ methodology by identifying patterns and principles common to all successful inventive solutions. TRIZ aimed to stop needless time-wasting duplication by providing a systematic approach to enable anyone to overcome problems and recognise and resolve contradictions, deal with harms and barriers in their work.

Once built the TRIZ foundations were their gift to the world distilling a vast store of human wisdom into the 3 simple lists of TRIZ concepts. Some erroneously describe TRIZ as complicated because it derives from more rigour and research than all other toolkits put together, but its power is its logical steps and simplicity. It is as easy as learning chess - each tool is can be quickly understood to see how it can be ‘played’ in specific ways – the challenge is knowing how to combine the tools together. There are as many solutions to problems as outcomes in chess – mastering both takes quick learning (and talent?) and then as much practice as possible.

Soviet Suppression:

Despite its immense potential, TRIZ was not initially well-received by the Soviet government, Altshuller's claim that scientists and engineers duplicated each other’s work  was unacceptable "non-conformist" thinking, and TRIZ was initially labelled as "bourgeois pseudoscience." Altshuller, along with several of his colleagues, often faced oppression, and their work was kept underground in several different periods. By the late 1940s Altshuller was arrested on political charges and spent time in the infamous Vorkuta Gulag in the Russian Arctic before being released in 1954 (after Stalin’s death). On his arrest the KGB ‘interviewed’ his widowed mother, killing her by pushing her from the balcony of her flat. Despite these setbacks, his determination to pursue his theories did not wane even in the Gulag which he described as his university of life.

Upon his release, Altshuller returned to his work with renewed vigour, working through thousands of patents, extracting their patterns of problem-solving into the TRIZ lists, and also uncovering the contradiction toolkit and the other creative concepts essential to tackling problems such as the Ideal and  Ideality, Thinking in Time and Scale (9 boxes) plus many other tools for idea generation.

Recognition and success

Altshuller's determination prevailed, and in the 1960s, he managed to publish some of his TRIZ-related works. He also conducted lectures and workshops to disseminate the principles of TRIZ across the Soviet Union and beyond. His community expanded to include school children from his fortnightly TRIZ comics and his most famous book ‘And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared’. His ideas gained traction among engineers, leading to the formation of TRIZ associations and study groups. After 1990 the political reforms which swept the Soviet Union and its territories enabled TRIZ to surge in popularity and recognition. Altshuller's efforts were finally acknowledged, and he received numerous awards and honours for his groundbreaking work.

TRIZ Today?

Genrich Altshuller's legacy lives on through TRIZ, which continues to influence problem-solving and innovation processes worldwide. TRIZ has been integrated into various industries, including engineering, product development, and management, allowing practitioners to find inventive solutions efficiently. It has proved an essential innovation toolkit in countries like South Korea, China and Japan where they have moved to the top of Patent league tables, pushing aside counties like the UK where there is no official or university take up (exceptions include the universities of Imperial and Bath). However one the world’s leading TRIZ consultancies is based in the UK and created the popular Oxford TRIZ TM.   Russian TRIZ development seems to be detailed and complicated (the opposite of TRIZ simplicity)

Altshuller's Legacy

Altshuller’s income derived more from his writings than his TRIZ work because he made TRIZ free to the world and public domain. Altshuller published so many books, articles, and scientific papers, which inspire  and clarify the thinking of generations of inventors, innovators, and problem-solvers. In his later years he developed Parkinson’s disease, and he worked on sharing all the habits of geniuses and his last book was called ‘How to be a genius or heretic’ and he died on September 24, 1998, in Petrozavodsk, Russia. Altshuller's work has influenced numerous fields, including engineering, business strategy, and software development. Despite TRIZ being less known than other toolkit , his impact on the world remains undeniable if still largely under-appreciated. The power of TRIZ for boosting genius brain power, inventive problem-solving and innovation could change the world for the better if only it was known and accepted everywhere.

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TRIZ Method of Problem Solving explained

TRIZ method - Toolshero

TRIZ Method of Problem Solving: this article explains the TRIZ Method of Problem Solving , developed by Genrich Altshuller in a practical way. Next to what it is, this article also highlights the founder, the reason of it’s excistenc, and the five basic principles and the 40 principles including practical examples. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful problem solving tool. Enjoy reading!

What is TRIZ Method of Problem Solving?

In the 1980s the Russian engineer Genrich Altshuller developed the TRIZ theory which is an acronym for Teorya Resheniya Izobreatatelskikh Zadatch . The literal translation is: “theory of inventive problem solving” .

The most important result of the research was, that the evolution of technological progress follows a number of predictable patterns. It is an innovative way of looking at problems and solutions.

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TRIZ Method of Problem Solving is not a coincidence

As a patent examiner Altshuller refused to accept the fact that inventions and creativity were random or chance acts.

His goal was to develop a standard process for successful innovations. This is how he discovered that 98% of patented innovations were based on an already known principle. Only 2% of all patents were really new innovations.

The TRIZ Method is universally applicable!

TRIZ starts from a number of principles and processes of innovation that are universally applicable. Large multinationals such as Hewlett-Packard , Boeing and Samsung have used the TRIZ method to develop new products, optimize processes and gaining a better understanding of developments and trends in the market for decades.

TRIZ has become an umbrella that covers a host of inventive concepts, tools and processes that are often used to solve difficult problems.

The TRIZ Method of Problem Solving: the basic principles

To arrive at improvement, the TRIZ method uses 5 basic principles and 40 inventive principles. It forces us to look at problems differently.

1. The ideal end result

Thinking out of the box is a good principle to achieve an ideal end result. The TRIZ Method of Problem Solving encourages people not to be satisfied too quickly with the solutions to a problem, but to be always open to even better ideas.

2. Less is more

There is not always a need to invest a lot of money to arrive at the best idea. Innovation can be realized with existing materials and sometimes the solution is close at hand.

3. Solutions already exist

The TRIZ Method of Problem Solving helps people define problems in terms of frequently used and general principles, which enables searching for solutions outside their primary field of expertise.

4. Search for fundamental contradictions

Innovating equals problem solving, which mostly exist of contradictions. When these contradictions are defined, the solution is often imminent.

5. Lines of evolution

Systems do not evolve randomly. There are fixed patterns that make the evolution of technology predictable,

The TRIZ method 40 inventive principles

Genrich Altshuller arrived at 40 inventive principles to solve complex problems. According to the TRIZ Method of Problem Solving, each innovation can be traced back to the application of one or more of these principles.

To arrive at the right application of the 40 inventive principles, it is important to formulate the right contradiction very clearly with respect to what should be improved and what should not get worse.

After this, the problem solving process can be started up.

1. Segmentation

Segment the product into independent parts as a result of which a useful or damaging quality is isolated (shop in shop).

2. Extraction

Extract a disturbing part or property from an object and/or single out the only necessary part or property (sugar free biscuits).

3. Local quality

By changing the structure of products in a specific place, the desired product is created (cap on milk carton).

4. Asymmetry

Change the shape an object from symmetrical to asymmetrical (trendy kettle).

By merging functions, properties or parts of a product in space or time, a new or unique result is created (day cream with UV filters).

6. Universality

Make a product more uniform, universal, extensive and multi-functional (hair-dryer).

7. Nested doll

Place multiple objects inside others (paper insulated coffee cups).

8. Counterweight

Compensate the negative property of the product by combining it with another object that provides a lifting force (hovercraft).

9. Preliminary counteraction

Analyse beforehand what can go wrong and take preliminary counteraction (sun milk).

10. Preliminary Action

Place object before it is needed so that it can go into action immediately from the most convenient location for their delivery (Emla numbing cream).

11. Cushion in advance

Because nothing is perfectly reliable, prepare emergency measures in advance (metallic car coating – anti-contamination).

12. Equipotentiality

Eliminate tension in or around an object’s environment (cling film).

13. The other way round

Implement an opposite or reverse action (reversible clothing).

14. Spheroidality

Replace linear parts with spherical parts (round brush head for hoover).

15. Dynamics

Make a product or property temporarily flexible or flexible for a short while (possibility to buy a car with unique stripes).

16. Partial or excessive actions

Use a little more than necessary or use a little less of the same product (high active enzymes in laundry detergents).

17. Transition into another dimension

Change the orientation of a linear product from vertical to horizontal etc. Use a different dimension or multi-storey arrangement (layered cake).

18. Mechanical vibrations

Use vibrations to achieve a positive effect (massage cushion).

19. Periodic Action

Instead of continuous actions use periodical or pulsating actions (electric toothbrush).

20. Continuity

Carry on work continuously and eliminate all idle or intermittent actions (boarding pass such as e-tickets).

21. Rushing through

Conduct a process at high speed to prevent errors (DSL internet versus fibre optic internet).

22. Blessing in disguise

Use harmful factors to add value. (3M yellow post-its with low tack adhesive).

23. Feedback

Introduce feedback by using output as a means of input, output audits can be improved (telephone number of service desk on packaging).

24. Intermediary

Merge one object temporarily with another (oven bag for cooking chicken).

25. Self-service

Make an object serve itself by performing auxiliary helpful functions (self-checkout at supermarkets).

26. Copying

Instead of a valuable or fragile object, use inexpensive copies (zirconia jewellery).

27. Cheap objects

Use inexpensive and/or disposable objects to reduce costs (disposable cutlery).

28. Replace mechanical system

Replace a mechanical system with a different shape, action or function (folding electric bikes).

29. Pneumatics and hydraulics

Replace solid parts of an object with pneumatic (air) or hydraulic (water) parts (barber chair).

30. Flexible shells

Replace traditional constructions with flexible shells (water repellent, breathable sports clothing).

31. Porous materials

Make properties of objects, systems or materials porous (read-to-use iodine band-aid).

32. Colour changes

Change the colour or other optical property of an object (Polaroid sunglasses).

33. Homogeneity

Make objects interact with a given object with identical properties (two-component adhesive).

34. Discarding and recovering

By making objects or parts of objects that have fulfilled their usefulness go away and by subsequently restoring them, they can be reused.(reusable make-up packaging)

35. Parameter changes

Change the properties of an object (steam shower).

36. Phase transitions

Use phenomena occurring during chemical phase transitions (pregnancy test).

37. Thermal expansion

Convert heat energy to mechanical energy (solar panels).

38. Strong oxidants

Reinforce oxidative processes to enhance a function or process (cryotherapy for warts).

39. Inert atmosphere

Replace a neutral environment to support a desired function (vacuum wine saver pump).

40. Composite materials

Change from homogeneous to composite materials (thermos flask).

The TRIZ Method of Problem Solving is all about Creativity

The TRIZ Method of Problem Solving stimulates creativity and the 40 inventive principles could inspire product development. Compare the TRIZ method to a brainstorming session in which participants are encouraged to emerge with ideas. The effects of the session are limited because only those attending the session make creative contributions.

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It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Is the TRIZ Method of Problem Solving still applicable in today’s business companies? And if so, how do you use it and what are the general results and learning lessons? Are the basics principles the same or are there new ones?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  • Altshuller, G. , Shulyak, L., & Rodman, S. (2002). 40 Principles Extended Edition: Triz Keys to Technical Innovation . Technical Innovation Center, Inc.
  • Altshuller, G. , & Shulyak, L. (1996). And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared: Triz, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving . Technical Innovation Center, Inc.
  • Chen, J. L., & Liu, C. C. (2001). An eco-innovative design approach incorporating the TRIZ method without contradiction analysis . The Journal of Sustainable Product Design, 1(4), 263-272.

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Patty Mulder is an Dutch expert on Management Skills, Personal Effectiveness and Business Communication. She is also a Content writer, Business Coach and Company Trainer and lives in the Netherlands (Europe). Note: all her articles are written in Dutch and we translated her articles to English!


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Congratulations! An excellent article! Very well built! Once again Congratulations! Teach “Innovation Management in Education at the Christian University” Dimitrie Cantemir, Bucharest, Romania. In the course support we included a dedicated TRIZ module. Sincerely, Univ. Lecturer. Remus CHINA

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This is really good article and would like to learn more. Looks very much useful in our industry.

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triz problem solving process

Solving Complex Problems with TRIZ: Principles and Tools for Success

Updated: November 2, 2023 by Ken Feldman

triz problem solving process

While most of us are familiar with the concept of problem-solving, it is usually not particularly rigorous. TRIZ is a unique philosophy of problem solving that relies on logic, data, and prior research. 

We will explore the underlying principles and tools to help you understand how to apply TRIZ to your organization’s problems. Although heavily based on engineering principles, you will see it has broad application and many benefits compared to typical problem-solving approaches.

Overview: What is TRIZ? 

TRIZ is the acronym for the Russian phrase Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskikh Zadatch. TRIZ was developed by Genrich Altshuller, a Russian scientist and engineer. He and some of his associates developed their theory of inventive problem-solving between the mid 1940s and mid 1980s.

TRIZ’s unique approach to problem-solving is based upon Altshuller’s realization that someone, somewhere, had already come up with a solution (or something close) for the problem you currently face. Creative problem-solving involves finding that solution and adapting it to your problem.

With that insight, Altshuller evolved his theory based on extensive research reviewing hundreds of thousands of inventions across many different fields. The solutions seemed to have a generalized pattern and a similarity of the problems being faced. TRIZ identifies and codifies these patterns into a set of principles to make the creative process more consistent and predictable. Altshuller found that almost every invention or innovation fell into one of 40 categories. 

The two key concepts in TRIZ are developing general solutions for general problems and eliminating contradictions. This graphic provides a simple explanation of the TRIZ problem-solving approach.

triz problem solving process

Image source:  mindtools.com .

The TRIZ databases mentioned above include the TRIZ 40 Principles and 76 Standard Solutions. The 40 principles are a collection of ideas Altshuller believed were at the heart of all inventions. These would serve as a guide to help you develop the solution to your problem.

  • Segmentation
  • Local quality
  • Universality
  • “Nested doll”
  • Anti-weight
  • Preliminary anti-action
  • Preliminary action
  • Beforehand cushioning
  • Equipotentiality
  • The other way around
  • Spheroidality
  • Partial or excessive actions
  • Another dimension
  • Mechanical vibration
  • Periodic action
  • Continuity of useful action
  • “Blessing in disguise”
  • “Intermediary”
  • Self-service
  • Cheap short-living
  • Mechanics substitution
  • Pneumatics and hydraulics
  • Flexible shells and thin films
  • Porous materials
  • Color changes
  • Homogeneity
  • Discarding and recovering
  • Parameter changes
  • Phase transitions
  • Thermal expansion
  • Strong oxidants
  • Inert atmosphere
  • Composite material films

The 76 Standard Solutions are a set of solutions applicable to most common problems.

The second concept of TRIZ is contradiction . One of the challenges is that solutions often create a conflict or contradiction. 

For example, your company wants to solve the problem of handling incoming customer calls. Your solution of implementing an automatic voice response system will reduce your labor cost. The contradiction is that it may create customer dissatisfaction of having to speak with a machine and delay the answer they want because of having to respond to all the voice prompts. 

The TRIZ Contradiction Matrix will provide possible solutions for resolving that contradiction.

The use of TRIZ can be used to enhance your Six Sigma deployment by providing tools to supplement your DMAIC projects as well as DMADV projects.

2 benefits and 1 drawback of TRIZ 

TRIZ is a sophisticated and structured approach to problem-solving. As such, there are a number of benefits — but also some important drawbacks. 

1. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel 

The underlying premise of TRIZ is that your problem has already been solved by someone, so your task is to discover what the solution was and apply it to your specific problem. 

2. Quicker path to solution 

By using TRIZ, your project team can come to a solution quicker. The TRIZ process is organized and structured so time is not wasted examining endless possible solutions, most of which are not feasible. 

3. Based on engineering solutions 

The 40 principles and 76 standard solutions of TRIZ were developed based on technical and engineering solutions. A drawback to TRIZ is the challenge of applying it to non-manufacturing problems and processes. 

Why is TRIZ important to understand? 

Thanks to the structure of TRIZ, you can narrow in on a solution to your problem in a methodical manner. 

The approach is simple yet elegant

You start with a specific definition of your problem. Then you identify a similar general problem as defined by TRIZ. For that general problem, you identify a TRIZ general solution. Finally, you apply the general solution to your specific solution.

Contradictions are important

At the core of most problems are contradictions resulting from solutions. 

You want your software to contain many functionalities, yet that can conflict with it being user-friendly. You want your Six Sigma training to be comprehensive, yet that will conflict with keeping people away from their jobs. 

The resolution of these conflicts is the key to finding the perfect solution to your problem. The TRIZ Contradiction Matrix is one of the core tools for resolving these conflicts.

TRIZ does not inhibit innovation 

You might be concerned that the use of TRIZ will hinder your innovation and creativity because it relies on a fixed set of principles and solutions. This is not the case, though. Your creativity will be used in adapting the generalized solution to your specific solution and solving any contradictions.

An industry example of TRIZ 

Six Sigma consultants doing client training often complain that the flip-chart easel stands they have to use are heavy and inconvenient to move and transport. One manufacturer of flip-chart easels was determined to solve that problem. 

After reviewing the 40 TRIZ principles, they decided Number 7, Nested Dolls, might be the generalized problem of trying to transport many different size dolls. A Russian nesting doll has one doll inside of another, with another doll inside that one, and so on. The company’s current easel design was fixed with a heavy base.

By applying the Nested Doll solution, the company designed an easel with legs that telescope for use and then fold back up, so one part of the leg is inside the one above it. The construction was of light-grade aluminum. This solved the problem of space and transport. The contradiction is the stability of the lighter easel. A cross bar was designed to help stabilize the lighter stand.

Here is the before and after design:

triz problem solving process

3 best practices when thinking about TRIZ 

Given the power of this tool, you will want to apply it carefully and judiciously to your problems.

1. Keep it simple 

When explaining and presenting your TRIZ process and solutions, keep it simple so you don’t confuse your audience. 

2. Adapt the 40 principles 

If your organization is not engineering-oriented, you may have to adapt the language of the 40 principles to better fit your specific industry or company.

3. Use TRIZ as a guide rather than as an absolute 

Don’t get hung up on the TRIZ tools as the absolute only way to solve your problem. If you are having difficulty finding a generalized problem or generalized solution, don’t get frustrated and quit. Adapt as needed, and keep the process moving using TRIZ as guidelines, not rules.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about TRIZ

What is triz .

TRIZ is a structured approach to problem-solving based on the concept that every problem has already been solved by someone, somewhere, sometime in the past. By generalizing your problem and adapting generalized solutions, you can quickly come to a solution to your specific problem. 

What are the TRIZ 40 principles? 

The developer of TRIZ, Genrich Altshuller, concluded after reviewing thousands of patents that there was a pattern of problems and solutions inventors followed. He synthesized these into a set of 40 principles to be used as a guide for generalized problem definition and solution that could then be adapted to a specific problem and solution.

What is meant by TRIZ contradictions? 

Every solution to a problem will create an alternative contradiction. If you decide to expand your product SKUs (stock keeping unit) to satisfy a broader market demand, your contradiction will be the added effort and cost of producing and inventorying the added number of products. 

Will TRIZ solve your problem? 

If you have a problem your standard Six Sigma tools can’t solve, TRIZ might be the tool for you. Follow these simple steps:

triz problem solving process

Image source: Slidemodel.com .

Use the 40 Principles, 76 Standard Solutions, and the Contradiction Matrix to move from your specific problem to specific solution.

About the Author

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Ken Feldman

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Tanner Zornes

TRIZ – The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

Posted by Tanner Zornes

TRIZ - Theorey of Inventive Problem Solving

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. TRIZ began in the 1940s by a soviet engineer named Genrich Altshuller. He recognized that technological advancements follow a systematic and natural progression. As a result, Genrich invented TRIZ, creating common solutions that can be redeployed to business problems for specific improvements. The 40 Principles of TRIZ are like the old idiom, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” 

In other words, hundreds of really smart inventors have lived before today. TRIZ takes what is already created, adapts, and deploys it to solve today’s problems. Moreover, TRIZ uses tables of inherent contradictions and innovation principles, not trial and error, to reform the design challenge and remove physical contradictions.

triz problem solving process

  • By this point in the DMAIC methodology, you should have a solid understanding of the problem that needs to be solved.
  • Find the TRIZ General Problems that match your specific problem
  • Identify which general solutions of TRIZ best apply to your specific problem.
  • Lastly, apply the general solutions to your specific problem

Applying TRIZ

TRIZ works best in situations where other Six Sigma tools have not worked. Think of it as another way to find solutions that exist outside the normal process boundaries. You could use it during the Improve phase of the Six Sigma technique DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) or the design phase of DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify). ( reference )

You are not expected to memorize all 40 principles as part of your Six Sigma preparation. Rather, you should be familiar with each TRIZ principle in order to recognize answers on the exam. With that said, each of the below principles has been paired with a brief explanation and examples.

Principle 1: Segmentation

triz problem solving process

Divide an object into similar sections to add value to the product.

  • Different-sized cutting guards on hair clippers.
  • Focal lenses on a camera

Principle 2: Taking Out or Extraction

Take out the unnecessary portions of a product or extract the most necessary portions. As a result, the product becomes streamlined.

  • Self-check-in apps for dining-in restaurants (taking out long wait times)
  • Music playing in restrooms (without the actual musicians)
  • Take out lactose in milk, and the result is an allergy-friendly milk

Principle 3: Local Quality

Adjust item properties to fit user/application requirements.

  • Ergonomic keyboards
  • Pens with erasable ink

Principle 4: Asymmetry

Modify an object from a balanced state to an uneven state. Though contrary to nature, asymmetry adds value to a variety of products.

  • Water bottles (small spout for easy drinking, large base to hold water)
  • Pencil Grips

Principle 5: Merging, Consolidation, or Combining

Combine concepts, items, or systems with those of similar properties. Consequently, the objective becomes more lean.

  • Printers that can print in color and black and white
  • Roofers that put up Christmas lights during the winter season

Principle 6: Universality

Consolidate parts of an object into one singular function. With this in mind, the product receives a wider application of use.

  • A tablet compared to a laptop when you are on the go.
  • USB drivers verses CDs or floppy disks.

Principle 7: Nested Doll

Similar to Russian nesting dolls, objects fit inside each other. This allows for space consolidation.

  • A portable chess set:
  • Stackable chairs

Principle 8: Anti-Weight

Offset the weight of an object by combining it with things that provide lift. That is to say, the object has less weight.

  • Hot air balloons
  • Hydraulic car jacks

Principle 9: Preliminary Anti-action

Implement measures to control harmful actions or consequences DURING a necessary process.

  • Cars with vehicle blind spot monitors in order to avoid collisions when changing lanes

Principle 10: Preliminary Action

Perform the required change in ADVANCE. To clarify, the action occurs before a process begins.

  • Boxed furniture that contains pre-drilled holes for assembly
  • Cell phone notification when power is low, which prevents the phone from dying

Principle 11: Beforehand Cushioning

In cases where there is low consistency, provide a means for cushioning the worse-case scenarios.

File:HST engine emergency stop switch inside 43187 (26734553252).jpg

  • Sprinkler systems in case of fires
  • Emergency shut-off switches

Principle 12: Equipotentiality

Solutions that involve a change to an object’s environment enable the desired results compared to a direct change to the object.

  • Laundry chute – using gravity to bring your laundry downstairs

Principle 13: The Other Way Around

File:Burger King Drive Thru.JPG

Do it in reverse or opposite ways, such as drive-thru restaurants vs. sit-in diners.

Principle 14: Spheroidality – Curvature

Introduce a bend or shape to an object. In addition, this includes how the object moves.

  • Archways expand the inside of buildings, which allows more room and improved acoustics.
  • A drill gun’s motion compared to a hammer’s motion

Principle 15: Dynamics

Change an object or system in order to create optimal flow.

  • Pressure valves for gas and liquid control

Principle 16: Partial or Excessive Actions

If optimal performance cannot be achieved, aim for more or less to create the desired effect.

  • Using paint primer on an object before the actual painting process

Principle 17: Another Dimension

Take an object from one dimension or plan to two planes. This includes two dimensions to three, or vice versa.

  • Spiral staircase compared to normal stairs
  • A desk shipped pre-assembled versus assembled in advance.

Principle 18: Mechanical Vibration

Introduce vibration to an object. Though contrary to Six Sigma’s goal to reduce process variation, increased vibration is beneficial under the right circumstances

  • Electric toothbrush, which allows for better teeth cleaning compared to a normal toothbrush
  • Increased vibration in a foot massage leads to a better stronger massage

Principle 19: Periodic Action

Change a steady action to occur in intervals. This allows users to increase or decrease magnitude during the process.

  • Lights and sirens on a fire truck notify other cars to move
  • Spring-loaded nerf guns

Principle 20: Continuity of Useful Action

File:Lake Tawakoni Iron Bridge Dam in East Texas.jpg

Continuous flow of a process or object. This can also include eliminating idle objects.

  • Dams use falling water, thus generating electricity.
  • Crossfit exercise routines, which consequently create a more complete workout.

Principle 21: Skipping or Rushing Through

Conduct at-risk or harmful stages at high speeds in order to avoid extra damage.

  • Friction can heat up an object, which leads to warped material. Faster cutting speeds prevent more warping.

Principle 22: Blessing in Disguise – Harm into Benefit

Make the most out of harmful factors in order to create a positive effect.

  • Composting, such as tossing egg shells into a garden to improve soil quality
  • Rebuilding infrastructure after natural disasters

Principle 23: Feedback

Add performance data to a process or object. A Six Sigma example of feedback is Statistical Process Control .

  • Automated survey inquiries allow people to receive quick feedback from customers.
  • Audiovisuals on the TV so that viewers can know the TV volume

Principle 24: Intermediary/Mediator

Use an intermediary vehicle or process. In other words, using someone or something as a link between two processes.

  • Using email in order to distribute communication to a group of people
  • US Postal Services, which ships goods or letters between people
  • Food processors so that people without teeth can eat, too!

Principle 25: Self-Service

An object or process that services itself or provides auxiliary assistance.

  • Automated phone call screening so that callers are connected to the correct department.
  • Car wash stations that include self-vacuum stations so that customers can clean inside and outside of their car!

Principle 26: Copying

Use less expensive material that is more accessible to replace expensive and less available parts.

  • 3-D Printing
  • Replacing metal components with high durable plastic ones

Principle 27: Cheap Short-Living Objects

Replace expensive, quality objects with multiple cheaper objects. This leads to a compromise on certain quality aspects, but provides lower costs.

  • Glass plates and cups are nice until you need to wash them. However, paper plates and cups can be thrown away after use
  • Washable diapers are cheaper compared to disposable diapers, but single-use diapers are more easy to use

Principle 28: Mechanics Substitution

File:Car Keys 1.jpg

Replace a mechanical system with an electronic, sensory, or chemical system.

  • Dictation or saying words aloud to be typed compared to typing it out by hand
  • A car fob can unlock the viable faster than using the car key slot

Principle 29: Pneumatics and Hydraulics

Use gas or liquid parts instead of solid parts.

  • Hydraulic brakes compared to standard brakes
  • Gel-filled insoles in shoes provide better foot support compared to standard insoles

Principle 30: Flexible Shells and Thin Films

Use flexible materials that are more durable, lighter, and cost effective. 

  • Bullet-proof vests are made out of light-weight material called kevlar, which is better than heavy metal for firearm safety
  • Bubble wrap is great for shipping goods because of its extra cushioning

Principle 31: Porous Materials

Add holes (pores) to an object. This leads to a lighter and less dense object.

  • Homes that use fiberglass for insulation
  • Sponges to absorb moisture

Principle 32: Color Changes

Change the color of an object or the color around the object.

  • Camouflage, which allows users to blend in to their environment
  • Lighter colored homes reduce heat absorption from the sun.

Principle 33: Homogeneity

The interaction of two or more objects of the same material or purpose.

  • Blood transfusions only work if the user has the same blood type as the donor
  • Wooden dowels to join pieces of wood together

Principle 34: Rejecting, Discarding – Recovering, Regeneration

Reject or discard the object after completion or recover it after completion.

  • SpaceEx launch spacecraft and the rocket returns to the launch pad after ascent. As a result, the cost of space travel is reduced
  • Climbing the career ladder by changing jobs

Principle 35: Parameter Changes

Includes any input/output change such as temperature, durability, or pressure. Lots of things can fit in this bucket!

  • Move into a larger work space in order to increase output
  • Cakes batter baked at a lower temperature makes a better cake

Principle 36: Phase Transitions

Gradual changes to certain specs such as volume or pressure.

  • Switching gears in a vehicle, which reduces gas consumption
  • Move objects to cooler temperatures such as a fridge to decrease its heat

Principle 37: Thermal Expansions

File:Hobo stove convection 2.jpg

Use heat or pressure in order to achieve desired results.

  • Use heat to expand pipes so that they can connect. Cool pipes to cement them

Principle 38: Accelerated Oxidation

Replace common air with oxygen rich air.

  • Ventilators assist to treat patients that struggle to breath
  • Oxygen rich air is better fuel for fire, which can be applied during heat treatment

Principle 39: Inert Atmosphere

Negate moving or changing settings with less mobile or chemically inactive spaces

  • Fire extinguishers work to move oxygen way from the flames. This results in putting out the fire
  • Vacuum sealed bags are great space savers because the air is taken out of the object

Principle 40: Composite Materials

Unlike principle 5, composite materials combine different types of materials together.

  • The body of an aircrafts is made of metals, foam, plastics, kevlar, and more. The principle also applies to the insides of vehicles.

IASSC Green Belt Sample Question

Question: Which of the following ideas best follows the TRIZ principle of “The Other Way Around?”

(A) Using hydraulic technology over gas-powered equipment

(B) Utilizing a trash compactor to maximize tonnage per pickup

(C) Baking cookies at a higher temperature

(D) Escalators in an airport or mall

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D: “The Other Way Around” (Principle 13) refers to the opposite way of doing something. Stairs requires people to move in a stationary environment whereas escalators create a moving environment while the people remain stationary.

Additional Resources

https://www.aitriz.org/articles/40p_triz.pdf – This is a great book extract for anyone who wants to practice TRIZ.

I earned my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt through IASSC. SixSigmaStudyGuide.com's guided course has helped me gain confidence to pass my exam and earn my certification. I currently apply Six Sigma in aerospace manufacturing to drive efficiencies and reduce costs. Ask me how the Six Sigma Study Guide can help you pass your exam. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanner-zornes-b9871b106/

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I originally created SixSigmaStudyGuide.com to help me prepare for my own Black belt exams. Overtime I've grown the site to help tens of thousands of Six Sigma belt candidates prepare for their Green Belt & Black Belt exams. Go here to learn how to pass your Six Sigma exam the 1st time through!

Comments (1)

MODIFIER program is based on ARIZ, TRIZ tools (algorithmized method of finding innovative solutions) essentially an electronic guide to the stages of the search workflow solutions of inventive problems. Designed for learning and mastering (by examples) data techniques, as well as for further independent work on the search innovative solutions (the language in one version is Russian, in the other – English). Added 4 more PROGRAMS. “MODIFIER” program (version 1.7): https://b-b.by/modules/tr/mco_eng.htm

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Design thinking, innovation, user experience and healthcare design

Using the TRIZ Method for Creative Problem Solving

During the conflict and problems time in an organization, projects, at times, seem to be blocked from moving forward. At this crucial time, innovative and creative solutions are required to help the project survive through this difficult time. Problem-solving methods and tools are considered predefined ways that can be used to organize thoughts to carry on the production process. These methods can be used in various professional, educational and personal domains.

Many creative problem-solving methods have been discussed here before such as reverse brainstorming , mind mapping , SCAMPER and more. However, these methods depend on team discussion and creative thinking based on the team experience and creative ability. While the unrestricted nature of these methods contributes to creative and innovative thinking, the results may be unpredictable and not relevant to a given project. The results of each discussion may not be viable in further parts of the project. Even in an innovative project, a coherent problem solving matrix should be applied in the time of conflict and problems, when there is limited time for open discussions.

TRIZ is one of the problem solving methods that depend on previous experience and logic/research rather than unpredictable thinking. TRIZ argues that we should stand on the shoulder of giants while solving problems. Years of research conducted by thousands of engineers to reach innovative solutions for repeated problems should be considered as one of the essential tools to solve problems. If a problem exists while a specific problem has been solved in another project, this experience can save time, effort, and cost instead of starting from scratch.

Brief History of TRIZ

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for the term “theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks”. was developed during the era of 1946 – 1985 in the USSR by Russian inventor and author, Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues.. TRIZ depends on studied patterns of problems and solutions. More than three million patents have been used to discover these patterns in order to solve future problems based on a previous literature. TRIZ has been first introduced in “On the psychology of inventive creation” published in 1956 in Issues in Psychology journal. The theory has been widely used in different project management systems and Six Sigma processes.


Understanding TRIZ

Generally, the theory is based on the hypothesis that “Somebody, sometime, somewhere has already solved your problem or one similar to it. Creativity means finding that solution and adapting it to the current problem.”

This hypothesis builds a universal connection to the current problem or similar one which was solved in a different domain such as different place or industry. The principle of this historical solution can be imported and implemented in the existing problem. Based on researching this hypothesis, the main findings have been discovered –these findings represent the basics of TRIZ theory:

  • Problems and solutions are repeated across industries and sciences. By classifying the “contradictions” (see later) in each problem, you can predict good creative solutions to that problem.
  • Patterns of technical evolution tend to be repeated across industries and sciences.
  • Creative innovations often use scientific effects outside the field where they were developed.

TRIZ method

  • Identify the current project problem
  • Compare the problem to an existing TRIZ general problem as discussed later
  • Identify the TRIZ solution for the general problem
  • Use the suggested solution to determine the project problem

Eliminate Contradictions

The figure above suggests that there is a fundamental contradiction is the reason behind any problem, eliminating this contradiction contributes to finding the solution for the problem. The contradictions in the TRIZ method are categorized based on its nature into technical and physical contradictions as following:

Technical contradictions

The technical contradictions which exist in the system prevent it from reaching a specific goal or to achieve the desired solution. In other words, when the team aims to achieve a goal, another contradiction in the siesta halts process. For example:

  • Creative designs are good, but it consumes project time
  • There is a profitable project, but the company lacks the finance to support it
  • The mobile phone wide coverage is good, but the transmission tower are bad for health.

Physical contradictions

The physical contradictions occurs when the project or system has opposite requirements. So, the same part of the system is having two opposite needs such as the following:

  • An advertising campaign should address both men and women at the same time.
  • The interface design should be simple to navigate and full of functions at the same time.
  • The creative team has to have time to think, but the brainstorming time is limited.

The TRIZ method aims to element the above contradictions in order to solve problems. Technical contradictions can be solved through 39 elimination principles, while physical contradictions can be solved through four principles by looking to the supersystem, subsystems, separation of time and space. In order to evaluate these contradiction, an evaluation method is used.  Accelerate Innovation with TRIZ by Valeri Souchkov provides more detailed information about run an evaluation for TRIZ contradictions and understand its weight.

TRIZ 40 Principles

Many solutions and methods have been implemented via the TRIZ method to solve problems. The most commonly used is the TRIZ 40 principles. These principles are used to eliminate contradictions and suggest general solutions in steps two and three of the TRIZ flow discussed earlier in this article. Based on the TRIZ journal, the 40 principles include the following:

  • Segmentation
  • Local Quality
  • Universality
  • “Nested doll”
  • Anti-weight
  • Preliminary anti-action
  • Preliminary action
  • Beforehand cushioning
  • Equipotentiality
  • The other way around
  • Spheroidality
  • Partial or excessive actions
  • Another dimension
  • Mechanical vibration
  • Periodic action
  • Continuity of useful action
  • “Blessing in disguise”
  • ‘Intermediary’
  • Self-service
  • Cheap short-living
  • Mechanics substitution
  • Pneumatics and hydraulics
  • Flexible shells and thin films
  • Porous materials
  • Color changes
  • Homogeneity
  • Discarding and recovering
  • Parameter changes
  • Phase transitions
  • Thermal expansion
  • Strong oxidants
  • Inert atmosphere
  • Composite material films

Each of the above principles represent a solution for generic problems such as the following:

Principle 17 “Another dimension”:

This principle suggests to change the object orientation or tilt. This principle contributed to solving the squeezable ketchup bottles problem as it was hard to squeeze the ketchup when the bottles were standing on an ordinary orientation. In order to solve this problem, the bottles were designed to stand on their lids.

Principle 2 “Taking out”:

This principle suggests to separate the interfering part causing the problem from the object. For example, the noisy compressor can be separated from the interior of the building and placed outside the building.

Principle 7 “Nested Doll”:

This principle refers to making one part pass through a cavity in the other. For example, designing the door sensors to count the number of consumers getting inside an outside the building.

trip method example

The TRIZ method for problem solving is able to provide a predicable way to solve problems based on previous knowledge and principles. This prediction ability qualifies it to be used in times of crisis. While most of the existing problem solving methods depend on team meetings and discussion, this method loads the project with time, effort, and cost. Therefore, the discussion-based methods can be replaced with a TRIZ method during a critical time and solves the need to solve problems quickly without further team discussions. This method can help managers to take decisions based on the 40 principles and reach predicable results.

Intensive practice should be applied in order to understand each principle and evaluate the current problems. TRIZ Journal provides full information about the method and how to practice it. Below are more resources that can provide more in-depth research about the method:

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As an academic and author, I've had the privilege of shaping the design landscape. I teach design at the University of Leeds and am the Programme Leader for the MA Design, focusing on design thinking, design for health, and behavioural design. I've developed and taught several innovative programmes at Wrexham Glyndwr University, Northumbria University, and The American University in Cairo. I'm also a published book author and the proud founder of Designorate.com, a platform that has been instrumental in fostering design innovation. My expertise in design has been recognised by prestigious organizations. I'm a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Design Research Society (FDRS), and an Adobe Education Leader. Over the course of 20 years, I've had the privilege of working with esteemed clients such as the UN, World Bank, Adobe, and Schneider, contributing to their design strategies. For more than 12 years, I collaborated closely with the Adobe team, playing a key role in the development of many Adobe applications.

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TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving

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Is your company interested in improving its products, services, and systems but not sure where to start? It is very likely that a solution to your problem has already been discovered by another industry somewhere in the world.

Many of the most innovative companies worldwide apply TRIZ inventive problem-solving methods to innovate their products as well as their processes. TRIZ (pronounced “( / ˈ t r iː z / ”) is a Russian acronym that translates to “theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks” and is “a problem-solving, analysis and forecasting tool derived from the study of patterns of invention in the global patent literature.”

History of TRIZ

TRIZ was first developed over 50 years ago by Russian inventor, Genrich Altshuller, and his colleagues. The team studied hundreds of thousands of published patents to discover patterns in the solutions and also the characteristics of the problems overcome.

The research found that problems and solutions repeated across industries and sciences. It also found that innovations often use scientific effects from outside the field in which they were developed. Somebody in a different industry or space has probably already solved your problem, or one very similar to it. TRIZ helps discover that solution and how to creatively apply it to your current problem.

This post will demonstrate how to use several of the key elements in the basic TRIZ inventive problem-solving process. This includes the contradictions matrix and the 40 Principles of TRIZ. We will share the 4-step TRIZ process and also demonstrate it with an example.

TRIZ process

TRIZ draws on the past ingenuity of many thousands of engineers and inventors to accelerate a project team’s ability to solve problems creatively. The TRIZ patent study found that inventive solutions either eliminate or resolve a contradiction without requiring a trade-off.

The 4-step procedure for TRIZ is:

  • Define your problem(s). Be sure to consider the problem from the user’s point of view.
  • Formulate a conflict statement with the contradictions identified: What we want to improve . . . but not at the expense of . . .
  • The contradictions matrix will point to 3 or 4 of the 40 Inventive Principles of TRIZ to consider. Read the example below for more information on using these principles.
  • Study these 3-4 relevant Inventive Principles and brainstorm which of the principles can apply to your problem. In this step, think like a detective. A good solution will likely come from one of the principles. Then, move forward and test the top solution .

TRIZ Example

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.

Gas Cap on Automobile

First, generate 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, generate a conflict statement : We want to make it easy to add gas to the automobile but not at the expense of safety and functionality .

Then, go to the contradictions matrix and select the contradictions from the list of 39 that best fit the conflict statement. We recommend an online resource rather than a complex paper-based matrix .

Now, set the contradictions. First, the feature to improve. Next, the feature to preserve. Feel free to try several options as it takes some getting used to. Here is an example of how we narrowed down our Inventive Principles for a focus:

TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving - Gas Cap Contradictions

The Contradictions Matrix points to these Inventive Principles based on the contradictions above:

TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving - Gas Cap Example

Finally, expand the 3-4 Inventive Principles and brainstorm solutions. In this case, Principles 2 and 25 provided helpful ideas. When we “ single out the only necessary part (or property) of an object, ” we realize that the only function of the gas cap is to seal the gas tank filling port. So, we ask ourselves, can this be done without the cap?

Another clue came from Principle 25:

TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving Principle 25

Can we “ make an object serve itself by performing auxiliary helpful functions ”?

The solution (we believe first implemented by Ford) was to use a spring-loaded flap in the fill nozzle. The flap seals the fuel tank in place of the gas cap!

Ford Capless Fuel Filler

We hope this simple example shows how to use the TRIZ inventive problem-solving methods to innovate. The method will support product, process, and system improvements. Some principles are fairly technical (e.g. dealing with material properties) and engineering-focused. You can review all 40 TRIZ Principles here .

Lean East TRIZ Process

TRIZ as a Competitive Advantage

It’s hard to gauge the popularity of TRIZ because it is believed that many companies do not share their use of the method. They prefer to keep it as a trade secret. However, some companies have reported use of TRIZ problem-solving methods including General Electric, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, NASA, Siemens, Ford, General Motors, Procter & Gamble, BMW, and Apple.

Samsung invested heavily in embedding TRIZ use throughout the company, training multiple employees and even the CEO. “ 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. ”

We love to help local innovators study their problems and apply TRIZ methodology to develop solutions. If you are in the New England region please connect with Lean East privately to discuss your challenge and see how TRIZ can help you discover an innovative solution.

Now go and use TRIZ to help invent something!

One thought on “ TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving ”

Read all the comments on the web about what goes wrong with this system and what an irritation it is to repair. This is not a good TRIZ example without also considering the failure analysis aspects of TRIZ.

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Unlocking Innovative Solutions with TRIZ: A Powerful Problem-Solving Methodology

May 20th, 2024

Businesses constantly search for innovative fixes to stay ahead and handle complex puzzles. But creation paths often hit snags, contradictions, and walls that seem impossible to climb. This is where TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, shows its worth with a powerful method fueling breakthrough solutions and a constantly upgrading culture.

Developed decades ago by Soviet brainiac Genrich Altshuller after analyzing millions of patents across industries, TRIZ identifies the patterns behind successful ideas.

By furnishing a methodical framework for problem-solving and imagination, TRIZ empowers organizations to expertly handle technical and business complications.

TRIZ recognizes most problems stem from built-in clashes in a system. Where improving one aspect often damages another.

By systematically finding and resolving these contradictions, TRIZ guides solvers toward innovative answers bypassing the usual tradeoffs.

Key Highlights

  • Understand the origins and essence of TRIZ, a systematic approach to problem-solving and innovation rooted in the analysis of patents and inventions.
  • Explore the key principles and tools of TRIZ, including the Contradiction Matrix, Functional Analysis, Ideality, and Patterns of Evolution.
  • Learn a step-by-step approach to applying TRIZ in your organization.
  • Discover stories and applications of TRIZ across various industries, including engineering, manufacturing, business, and cross-industry domains.
  • Gain insights into building a culture of systematic innovation by embracing TRIZ through training, and fostering a mindset of creativity.

What is TRIZ?

TRIZ, an acronym for the Russian phrase “ Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch “, stands for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. 

This powerful methodology, developed by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the Soviet Union, represents a systematic approach to innovation and problem-solving rooted in analyzing patents and inventions across various fields.

Image: TRIZ (Inventive Problem Solving)

TRIZ operates on the premise that the evolution of technical systems follows distinct patterns and principles.

By studying these patterns and the underlying mechanisms that drive successful innovations, TRIZ provides a structured framework for understanding and resolving contradictions within a system, unlocking creative solutions that transcend traditional trade-offs and compromises.

The Essence of TRIZ

The essence of TRIZ lies in its ability to identify and resolve contradictions, which are often at the heart of many complex problems. 

These contradictions can manifest as technical trade-offs, where improving one aspect of a system leads to the deterioration of another.

For instance, increasing the strength of a material may result in an increase in its weight, which is undesirable in certain applications.

TRIZ recognizes that true innovation occurs when these contradictions are addressed and resolved systematically.

By generalizing problems and solutions across industries, TRIZ leverages the collective knowledge and ingenuity of inventors and problem-solvers throughout history, providing a vast reservoir of proven techniques and principles that can be adapted and applied to specific challenges.

Moreover, TRIZ emphasizes the importance of understanding the patterns of technical evolution, which describe the natural progression of systems and technologies over time .

By anticipating and aligning with these patterns, problem-solvers can proactively identify opportunities for innovation and develop solutions that are effective and aligned with the system’s evolutionary trajectory.

Through its structured approach and extensive knowledge base, TRIZ empowers organizations to navigate the complexities of problem-solving and innovation, fostering a culture of systematic thinking and creative problem-solving that can yield breakthrough solutions and drive continuous improvement across various domains.

Key Principles and Tools of TRIZ

TRIZ is a powerful arsenal of principles and tools that provide a structured approach to problem-solving and innovation.

These principles and tools have been meticulously derived from the analysis of countless patents and inventions, distilling the collective wisdom and ingenuity of innovators throughout history.

By mastering these key principles and tools, problem-solvers can unlock a world of creative solutions and drive continuous improvement within their organizations.

The Contradiction Matrix

One of the fundamental tools in the TRIZ methodology is the Contradiction Matrix. This matrix serves as a powerful framework for identifying and resolving contradictions, which often lie at the root of many complex problems.

TRIZ recognizes two distinct types of contradictions:

Technical contradictions and trade-offs

These contradictions arise when improving one aspect of a system leads to the deterioration of another.

For instance, increasing the strength of a material may result in an increase in weight, which is undesirable in certain applications.

Physical contradictions and inherent conflicts

These contradictions occur when an object or system is subject to conflicting requirements or characteristics.

For example, a product may need to be both durable and lightweight, presenting an inherent contradiction.

The Contradiction Matrix provides a systematic approach to resolving these contradictions by mapping them to a set of 40 inventive principles. 

These principles, derived from the analysis of countless patents, offer proven strategies and techniques for overcoming specific contradictions, enabling problem-solvers to generate innovative solutions that transcend traditional trade-offs.

Functional Analysis and Trimming

Effective problem-solving often requires a deep understanding of a system’s functions, interactions, and components.

TRIZ offers powerful tools for functional analysis and trimming, which enable problem-solvers to deconstruct and analyze complex systems in a structured manner.

Analyzing system functions and interactions: TRIZ employs techniques such as functional modeling and substance-field analysis to identify the relationships and interactions between various components within a system.

By understanding these interactions, problem-solvers can pinpoint potential areas for improvement or optimization.

Ideality and Patterns of Evolution

TRIZ is not merely a collection of tools but also a guiding philosophy that emphasizes the pursuit of ideality and the recognition of patterns in technical evolution.

Striving for the Ideal Final Result (IFR): The concept of ideality in TRIZ encourages problem-solvers to envision an ideal state where the desired functions are achieved without any adverse effects or limitations.

This aspirational mindset drives the search for innovative solutions that continually approach the ideal, pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Understanding technical evolution patterns (S-curves): TRIZ recognizes that technical systems and technologies follow predictable patterns of evolution, often represented by S-curves .

By studying these patterns, problem-solvers can anticipate future developments, identify opportunities for innovation, and align their solutions with the natural trajectory of technical evolution.

Applying TRIZ: A Step-by-Step Approach

While the principles and tools of TRIZ may seem complex, the true power of this methodology lies in its structured and systematic approach to problem-solving.

By following a well-defined step-by-step process, organizations can harness the full potential of TRIZ to tackle even the most daunting challenges and drive innovation within their domains.

This approach not only ensures a thorough understanding of the problem but also provides a roadmap for leveraging the various TRIZ tools and techniques to generate and evaluate innovative solutions.

Defining the Problem and Identifying Contradictions

The first step in the TRIZ approach is to clearly define the problem at hand and identify the desired outcomes. This process involves a thorough analysis of the current situation, including the limitations, constraints, and requirements that must be addressed.

By establishing a clear understanding of the problem, problem-solvers can better recognize the inherent contradictions that lie at its core.

Recognizing technical and physical contradictions is a crucial aspect of this stage.

Technical contradictions, as we’ve discussed, arise when improving one aspect of a system leads to the deterioration of another. Physical contradictions, on the other hand, stem from conflicting requirements or characteristics within an object or system.

TRIZ provides specific tools and techniques for identifying and analyzing these contradictions, laying the foundation for the subsequent steps in the problem-solving process.

Utilizing TRIZ Tools and Techniques

Once the problem and its contradictions have been clearly defined, the next step is to leverage the various TRIZ tools and techniques to generate potential solutions.

This stage involves a systematic application of the principles and concepts we’ve discussed earlier, including:

Leveraging the Contradiction Matrix and Inventive Principles  

By mapping the identified contradictions to the Contradiction Matrix, problem-solvers can access a wealth of inventive principles that offer proven strategies for resolving those contradictions.

These principles, derived from the analysis of countless patents, serve as a powerful source of inspiration and guidance for generating innovative solutions.

Conducting functional analysis and trimming

TRIZ’s functional analysis and trimming tools enable problem-solvers to deconstruct and analyze complex systems, identifying unnecessary components or functions that can be streamlined or eliminated.

This process of simplification often paves the way for innovative solutions by removing redundancies and enhancing efficiency.

Exploring patterns of evolution and ideality

TRIZ encourages problem-solvers to explore the patterns of technical evolution and strive for the Ideal Final Result (IFR). 

By understanding these patterns and envisioning an ideal state, organizations can align their solutions with the natural trajectory of technical evolution and continually push the boundaries of what is possible.

Generating and Evaluating Solutions

With a deep understanding of the problem and its contradictions, and armed with the TRIZ tools and techniques, problem-solvers can then embark on the process of generating potential solutions.

This stage often involves ideation techniques based on TRIZ principles, such as the use of analogies, functional modeling, and the application of scientific effects.

However, generating solutions is only half the battle. TRIZ also provides a framework for evaluating potential solutions based on their feasibility, impact, and alignment with the desired outcomes.

This evaluation process involves assessing factors such as resource availability, technical feasibility, and potential risks or unintended consequences.

TRIZ in Practice: Success Stories and Applications

While the principles and concepts of TRIZ may seem abstract and theoretical, the true testament to its effectiveness lies in its practical applications across diverse industries and domains.

From engineering and manufacturing to business and management, TRIZ has proven itself as a powerful catalyst for innovation, driving organizations to develop groundbreaking solutions and achieve remarkable successes.

Engineering and Manufacturing Applications

TRIZ has found widespread adoption in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, where its principles have been instrumental in driving product design and development, as well as optimizing processes and reducing waste.

Product design and development

TRIZ has played a pivotal role in the creation of innovative products that push the boundaries of what is possible.

By resolving contradictions inherent in design requirements and leveraging the principles of technical evolution, TRIZ has enabled engineers to develop cutting-edge solutions that meet customer needs while overcoming technical limitations.

Examples include the development of more fuel-efficient aircraft designs, improved engine performance, and the creation of advanced materials with unique properties.

Process optimization and waste reduction

In the realm of manufacturing, TRIZ has been a driving force behind the optimization of production processes and the reduction of waste.

By applying functional analysis and trimming techniques, organizations have been able to streamline their operations, eliminate unnecessary steps, and enhance efficiency.

This has not only resulted in cost savings but has also contributed to sustainability efforts by minimizing resource consumption and environmental impact.

Business and Management Applications

While TRIZ originated in the realm of engineering and technology, its principles have proven equally valuable in the business and management spheres, where strategic planning, decision-making, and innovation management are paramount.

Strategic planning and decision-making: TRIZ offers a structured framework for analyzing complex business challenges and developing innovative strategies.

By identifying contradictions within organizational goals or operational processes, TRIZ enables decision-makers to transcend traditional trade-offs and develop holistic solutions that address multiple objectives simultaneously.

This approach has proven invaluable in areas such as market positioning, product portfolio management , and organizational restructuring .

Innovation management and problem-solving: In today’s highly competitive business landscape, innovation is a key driver of success.

TRIZ has emerged as a powerful tool for fostering a culture of continuous innovation within organizations.

By providing a systematic approach to problem-solving and idea generation, TRIZ empowers teams to tackle complex business challenges and develop innovative solutions that give them a competitive edge.

This has been particularly valuable in areas such as business process optimization, service innovation, and the development of new business models.

Cross-Industry Applications

The versatility and universality of TRIZ principles have enabled its application across a diverse range of industries, transcending the boundaries of engineering and business.

Pharmaceutical and biomedical innovations: TRIZ has played a crucial role in advancing the fields of pharmaceuticals and biomedicine.

By resolving contradictions inherent in drug formulation, delivery mechanisms, and medical device design, TRIZ has facilitated the development of innovative treatments, drug delivery systems, and cutting-edge medical technologies that improve patient outcomes and enhance the quality of healthcare.

Software and IT problem-solving: In the rapidly evolving world of software and information technology, TRIZ has proven to be a valuable asset for tackling complex technological challenges.

These success stories and applications serve as a testament to the power and versatility of TRIZ.

TRIZ has enabled organizations across various industries to achieve remarkable breakthroughs, drive continuous improvement , and maintain a competitive edge in an ever-changing business landscape by providing a structured and systematic approach to problem-solving and innovation.

Embracing TRIZ: Building a Culture of Systematic Innovation

While TRIZ offers a powerful methodology for problem-solving and innovation, its true impact extends far beyond the application of its tools and techniques.

To fully harness the potential of TRIZ, organizations must embrace a holistic approach that fosters a culture of systematic innovation. 

Training and Skill Development

The success of TRIZ within an organization hinges on the development of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. TRIZ certification programs and workshops play a crucial role in equipping employees with the necessary tools and techniques to apply TRIZ principles effectively.

These training initiatives not only impart theoretical knowledge but also provide hands-on experience and practical application scenarios, enabling participants to develop a deep understanding of TRIZ concepts and their real-world applications.

By making TRIZ an integral part of the organization’s DNA, it becomes a shared language and a common framework for problem-solving and innovation across all levels and departments.

Fostering a Mindset of Creativity and Problem-Solving

While TRIZ provides a structured approach to problem-solving, its true power lies in its ability to foster a mindset of creativity and innovation within the organization.

By encouraging innovative thinking and structured creativity, organizations can empower their teams to tackle complex challenges with confidence and ingenuity.

This mindset shift involves cultivating an environment that embraces divergent thinking, promotes risk-taking, and values the exploration of unconventional ideas.

It also entails providing employees with the necessary tools and resources to engage in creative problem-solving, such as dedicated ideation spaces, collaborative platforms, and opportunities for cross-functional collaboration.

By empowering teams to tackle complex challenges through the lens of TRIZ, organizations can unlock a wealth of innovative solutions that drive growth, enhance competitiveness, and create lasting value for stakeholders.

Continuous Improvement and Knowledge Sharing

The journey of innovation and problem-solving is never-ending, and organizations need to foster a culture of continuous improvement and knowledge sharing.

TRIZ plays a pivotal role in this endeavor by providing a framework for capturing and leveraging the solutions generated through its application.

By documenting and cataloging TRIZ-based solutions, organizations can build a comprehensive knowledge base that serves as a valuable resource for future problem-solving efforts.

This knowledge base not only preserves the collective wisdom and insights gained through past projects but also enables the organization to learn from its successes and failures, continuously refining and improving its approach to innovation.

TRIZ represents a powerful and methodical approach to problem-solving and creation, drawing on the collective genius of history’s countless innovators. Businesses unlock endless innovative solutions and enable constant upgrades by wholeheartedly embracing TRIZ and weaving it into a company’s fabric. This maintains an edge as the business landscape continuously evolves.

However, TRIZ’s true strength extends beyond techniques – it lies in the mindset shift toward systematic innovation. By cultivating an atmosphere valuing imagination, problem-solving, and sharing knowledge, companies unleash staff’s full potential. They harness TRIZ’s transformative might to achieve monumental breakthroughs and sustainable successes.

As we navigate modern business complexities, TRIZ shines as a guide, offering a structured path to innovation and a framework exceeding usual restrictions. By embracing TRIZ culture, organizations position themselves as pioneers. They push industry boundaries shaping industries’ futures.

In other words, let TRIZ light your fire for creation excellence. It equips mastery to drive sustainable successes through breakthrough solutions and continual upgrading spirit.

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Six Sigma Terms: What is TRIZ – The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving?

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TRIZ, also known as the theory of inventive problem solving, is a technique that fosters invention for project teams who have become stuck while trying to solve a business challenge. It provides data on similar past projects that can help teams find a new path forward.

TRIZ (pronounced “trees”) started in Russia. It involves a technique for problem solving created by observing the commonalities in solutions discovered in the past. Created by Genrich Altshuller in the former Soviet Union, the Six Sigma technique recognizes that certain patterns emerge whenever inventions are made.

Features of the Technique

Altshuller found that almost every invention falls into one of 40 categories. Each is an area where invention and innovation took place. They include areas such as weight, length and area of moving and stationary objects, speed of the object, temperature illumination intensity, ease of operation and ease of repair.

In practical use, a project team stymied by a challenge can use TRIZ to analyze a matrix of similar challenges and their solutions.

When TRIZ Is Used

TRIZ operates on the idea that someone, somewhere, likely came up with a solution for the challenge you currently face or something similar. Another guiding principle is that contradictions should not be accepted, but rather resolved.

It also provides an answer for those concerned that Six Sigma stifles innovation . TRIZ encourages innovation. As pointed out in a paper on TRIZ conducted by researchers at the University of Belgrade and Metropolitan University in Serbia, not all solutions involving Six Sigma can be found in the process itself.

This “inhibits the ability to identify the control variables. In this case, a methodology that can solve the problem outside of the process boundaries, such as TRIZ, is necessary,” the researchers wrote.

Essentially, TRIZ offers a sophisticated, effective tool for clearing roadblocks.

The Benefits of TRIZ

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 DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify).

TRIZ allows project teams to globalize an issue and find examples of how people have solved similar challenges. It’s a bit like the old saying, “There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.” It’s possible that teams won’t have to develop a solution on their own, because it’s already been done. On the other hand, knowing the possible combination of the 40 categories that might apply to a specific issue can also spark new ideas.

How TRIZ Works and Examples

TRIZ translates problems from the specific to the generic. It then compares the current challenge with 40 different inventive solutions. This is because in his research, Altshuller found that:

  • Problems and solutions repeat across industries and sciences.
  • Patterns of technical evolution repeat across industries and sciences.
  • Innovations used scientific effects outside the field where they were developed.

It also supplies potential solutions to apparently contradictory issues, such as wanting a more powerful engine that is lighter or wanting something to both operate faster and more accurately.

Most examples for TRIZ involve solving engineering issues, such as the invention of a new type of self-heating container as detailed by TRIZ Journal or creation of automation that can handle the simultaneous filing of 10 interlinked plastic cups with paint.

triz problem solving process

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The the origins of TRIZ and how it support innovation today.

Imagine the biggest study of human creativity ever conducted. Picture the systematic study of over two million of the world’s most successful patents, and the construction of a problem solving method which then combines those solutions into a whole that strips away all boundaries between different industries. Now imagine that it exists. What you’re seeing is TRIZ. The reason you may not have heard of it before, is that it was initially devised and developed  in the former Soviet Union, and practically no-one outside the Eastern Bloc had heard of it before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In this paper, we examine what that Soviet research achieved and how that platform has now been transformed into a comprehensive Systematic Innovation methodology, suitable for all types of innovation and innovation management issues. In the paper we show how today’s version of the method is helping users to systematically and reliably create breakthrough solutions to problems of all descriptions.


TRIZ stands for Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskikh Zadatch, which, translated into English approximates to the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. TRIZ research began in 1946 when engineer Genrich Altshuller was tasked with studying patents (Reference 1). TRIZ and its ‘Systematic Innovation’ updates today represent the output of over 2000 person years worth of research into not just patents, but successful problem solutions from all areas of human endeavour (Reference 2). The main findings of Systematic Innovation are:-

  • That the same problems and solutions appear again and again across different industries, but that most organisations tend to re-invent the wheel rather than look outside their own experiences or the experiences of their direct competitors.
  • That the most powerful solutions are the ones that successfully eliminate the compromises and trade-offs conventionally viewed as inherent in systems.
  • That there are only a small number of possible strategies for overcoming such contradictions.
  • That the most powerful solutions also make maximum use of resources. Most organisations are highly inclined to solve problems by adding things rather than making the current things work more effectively, or transforming the things viewed as harmful into something useful.
  • That technology evolution trends follow highly predictable paths.

TRIZ was barely visible outside the Soviet Union until the fall of the Iron Curtain. Since then, the spread of the method has been relatively slow, thanks to a combination of language and cultural mismatches and the reluctance of organisations using TRIZ to describe their successes (and failures) to others.

This short paper is intended to give newcomers enough information to determine whether TRIZ/Systematic Innovation has got something to offer them. Systematic Innovation works on several levels – Figure 1 – firstly a collection of tools, secondly a complete process that links different tools together for any given innovation situation, and thirdly a series of philosophical ideas. In the first section, the paper focuses on these ideas and the impact they have on the way problems and opportunities are defined. The second section then outlines a simplified case study in which one of the basic tools is used to solve a typical manufacture quality problem. A third, final, section then outlines strategies for finding out more about and deploying the method.

triz problem solving process

Philosophy of Systematic Innovation – Five Pillars

At its highest level, Systematic Innovation may be thought of as the distillation of excellence into a single, unified entity. Excellence in this case means best practice from every area of endeavour. One of the early discoveries of Genrich Altshuller and now one of the big ideas encompassed in Systematic Innovation is that amongst this excellence, someone somewhere has already solved your problem.

To some people this statement might sound quite threatening. This is particularly so if, for example, we are a leader in our particular discipline and have been working on a problem for a long period of time. Systematic Innovation recognises that a world expert in their field is exactly that. It also recognises that being an expert in a field is a full-time job. Few if any experts in one field have the time to become familiar with other fields. This, then, is where the method becomes an opportunity rather than a threat. TRIZ research uncovered the fact that very different industries are all solving very similar problems, and that by constructing an appropriate framework for knowledge it makes it possible to systematically bridge the gaps that traditionally exist between different the industries and sciences. The expert, therefore, is offered the opportunity to see how experts in other fields have solved similar problems. Even if, at first sight, those problems do not appear to be the same.

There are, of course, two sides to this story. The first is that we have a problem. In this case, Systematic Innovation will allow us to identify who and how that problem has been solved in other sectors. The second possibility is that we already have a solution. In this situation the method can be used to systematically connect us to industries that have not yet solved their own problems, and hence provide an opportunity to more fully exploit what we already possess.

In both directions, Systematic Innovation provides means for problem solvers to access the good solutions obtained by the world’s finest inventive minds. The basic process by which this occurs is illustrated in Figure 2. Essentially, researchers have encapsulated the principles of good inventive practice and set them into a globally generic problem-solving framework. The task of problem definers and problem solvers using the large majority of the Systematic Innovation tools thus becomes one in which they have to map their specific problems and solutions to and from this generic framework.

Beyond this big idea of distilling all knowledge into a common framework, there are then five central philosophies underpinning the method. Systematic Innovation can be used without knowledge of these pillars, and indeed many users are happy to simply take one or two tools from the toolkit. Nevertheless, appreciation of these big ideas undoubtedly increases the likelihood that the method will deliver significant tangible benefit. The pillars are described in no particular order below:

triz problem solving process

Ideality is in many ways similar to the concept of ‘value’. Ideality is defined as the sum of the benefits that a system delivers to its user divided by the sum of the cost of delivering those benefits and the any other negative side-effects that may occur (waste, waiting time, environmental damage, etc). The original TRIZ researchers identified a very simple phenomenon common to all successful innovations – that they all delivered a higher level of ideality than the products and processes that preceded them. Hopefully the idea that we should give customers more good things and less bad if we are going to be successful is not a great surprise. It does mean, however, that there is a definable direction of success. More interesting than this idea of direction is the concept of a final destination. In Systematic Innovation this final destination is known as the Ideal Final Result (IFR). The IFR is defined as that point when the customer gets all the benefits they want, without any of the costs or harms. While this concept might sound very theoretical, at the very least it offers a long term evolution goal.

Related to this evolution towards the IFR (recognising that every customer will potentially have a different definition of the IFR of course) is the knowledge that systems evolve through a series of discontinuous jumps or s-curves. Figure 3 illustrates a fundamental dynamic governing the evolution of all systems – any individual system will improve up to a point where it is incapable of improving further, then, provided the customer is demanding further improvements, the only way forward is to make a discontinuous jump to another system. The evolution of systems towards the IFR destination may thus be seen as a series of discontinuous jumps.

The next key finding of Systematic Innovation is that the steps denoting a shift from one S-curve to the next are highly predictable. This may sound difficult to believe, but the overwhelming evidence from the analysis of all of the successful solutions is that there are a number of patterns of discontinuous jumps that repeat faithfully across different industries. This paper does not set out to ‘prove’ that these trend patterns are correct, but instead merely asks the users to speculate on the impact that predictable evolution would have on their business and the way it thinks about its future relative to competitors.

triz problem solving process


Although often the first of the tools seen by newcomers to TRIZ or Systematic Innovation, Contradictions is probably the tool which is deployed least well. At least part of the reason for this is that the main underlying principle of the Contradictions philosophy – that of seeking to identify and eliminate contradictions – is almost the complete opposite of traditional problem solving strategies. In nearly all problem solving methodologies the emphasis is very firmly placed on the importance of achieving ‘optimum’ compromises between conflicting problem parameters. There is a strong tendency in a traditional design approach, in fact, to think of the design process as an amorphous bag filled with an incompressible fluid made from the different design parameters – Figure 4 – in which, as the designer tries to squash the bag to improve one parameter, it bulges out somewhere else as a different parameter gets worse.

The keen emphasis on ‘trade-off’ solutions in traditional problem solving practice often means that problem owners are rarely explicitly aware that conflicts exist. The first major part of the paradigm shift that takes place in the Contradictions part of TRIZ is the need for problem solvers to actively seek out the conflicts and contradictions inherent in all systems. The second part then involves using the Systematic Innovation methodology to try and ‘eliminate’ (Reference 3) those contradictions rather than to accept them. Or, in terms of the incompressible-fluid filled bag analogy, to attach a valve of some kind which allows the amount of fluid in the bag to be altered.

Once contradictions have been identified, Systematic Innovation contains a number of ‘contradiction elimination’ tools – primarily the Contradiction Matrix (References 3 and 4) – which encapsulate how others have successfully solved similar problems. At this point in time, the research has identified 40 Inventive Principles which might apply in any given contradiction situation. The Contradiction Matrix allows problem solvers to narrow down that list of 40 to a more manageable five or six Principles which might apply to an individual contradiction type. There may, of course, ultimately be more than 40 Principles. As of today, however, wherever researchers look, we see the same 40.

Contradiction elimination is one of the most powerful of the Systematic Innovation problem solving tools. A common phenomenon when problem contradictions are eliminated instead of traded-off is that the benefits tend to extend beyond those initially targeted during the problem solving process (References 5 and 6).

In terms of evolutionary S-curves, it is the emergence of limiting contradictions (Reference 7) that ultimately restrict the ability of systems to give all of the benefits that customers desire and give the S-curve its characteristic flattened profile at the mature end of the curve. The TRIZ contradiction elimination tools thus have a very important role to play in allowing systems to transition from one S-curve to another.

triz problem solving process


Although the functionality aspects of Systematic Innovation owe a significant debt to the pioneering work on Value Engineering by Miles (Reference 8), the method of defining and using functionality data is markedly different; sufficient at the very least to merit discussion as a distinct paradigm shift in thinking relative to traditional occidental thought processes. Three aspects are worthy of particular note:-

The idea that a system possesses a Main Useful Function (MUF) and that any system component which does not contribute towards the achievement of this function is ultimately harmful. In a heat exchanger, for example, the MUF is to transfer heat to the working medium; everything else in the system is there solely because we don’t yet know how to achieve the MUF without the support of the ancillary components. (Systems may of course perform several additional useful functions according to the requirements of the customer.)

In traditional function mapping, the emphasis is very much on the establishment of positive functional relationships between components. Systematic Innovation places considerable emphasis on plotting both the positive and the negative relationships contained in a system, and, more importantly, on using the function analysis as a means of identifying the contradictions in a system.

Functionality is the common thread by which it becomes possible to share knowledge between widely differing industries. A motor car is a specific solution to the generic function ‘move people’, just as a washing powder is a specific solution to the generic function ‘remove object’. By classifying and arranging knowledge by function, it becomes possible for manufacturers of washing powder to examine how other industries have achieved the same basic ‘remove solid object’ function. ‘Solutions change, functions stay the same’ is a message which forms a central thread in the TRIZ methodology: People want a hole not a drill.

A number of functionally classified knowledge databases are now becoming commercially available. A free version is available at Reference 9.

Use Of Resources

The fourth of the five philosophical pillars of TRIZ is the simplest, and relates to the unprecedented emphasis placed on the maximisation of use of everything contained within a system. In TRIZ terms, a resource is anything in the system which is not being used to its maximum potential. TRIZ demands an aggressive and seemingly relentless pursuit of things in (and around) a system which are not being used to their maximum potential. Discovery of such resources then reveals opportunities through which the design of a system may be improved.

In addition to this relentless pursuit of resources, TRIZ demands that the search for resources also take due account of negative as well as the traditionally positive resources in a system. In Systematic Innovation terms, even the bad stuff is good stuff – we merely haven’t thought hard enough yet about how to make the transformation from lemons to lemonade. By way of an example of this ‘turning lemons into lemonade’ concept, practitioners often think of resonance as a resource.

This is in direct contradiction to most practice, where resonance is commonly viewed as something to be avoided at all costs. Systematic Innovation says that somewhere, somehow, resonance in a system can be used to beneficial effect. In effect, resonance is a potent force lever capable of amplifying small inputs into large outputs. Resonance is currently being used to generate beneficial effects in a number of new product developments from vacuum cleaners (resonating carpet fibres to enhance extraction of dust particles), paint stripping systems on ships (firing a pulsed jet of water – existing resource! – at the local resonant frequency of the hull), and in helping to empty trucks carrying powder-based substances more quickly.

Space, Time, Interface

The fifth pillar of Systematic Innovation is about perspective on problems. Our perspective on a situation plays a very important role in determining the solutions we derive. It is therefore very important to be able to look at things from many different view points – not only physically and temporally, but also the relationships and interfaces between the things can be as important as the things themselves. The human brain has not evolved to be creative. It has evolved to absorb sparse data and make decisions on that data. Sometimes – as in an emergency – this decision making process has to happen very quickly. As a result, the brain very quickly makes assumptions about what a problem is and what to do about it. Unfortunately, the brain very often jumps to what turns out to be the wrong definition of the situation. The space-time-interface pillar of the method is about enabling users to systematically re-frame their thinking in order to avoid the problem of jumping to the wrong problem definition.

A Simple Case Study

In order to give a flavour of Systematic Innovation in action and to compare its approach with that of traditional problem solving methods, this section of the paper examines a typical manufacture quality problem. The example relates to the extrusion of man-made textile fibres. In this operation we are trying to produce fibres of as small a diameter as possible in order to produce the highest possible appearance and feel in the finished textile. We are also trying to achieve 6 Sigma levels of quality (i.e. 3.4 failures per million opportunities) during the extrusion process, but unfortunately have not been able to do so despite considerable experimental effort. The main source of defects concerns fibre breakage due to localised ‘necking’ – lengths of the fibre that are lower than specified diameter. The start point for this situation then is our desire to improve the quality of the extrusion process by reducing the necking problem and hence reducing the number of fibre breakages.

Once we know what we would like to improve, the next question asked in a simplified version of the TRIZ process would be ‘what is stopping us from making the improvement?’ The answer to this question may be that we don’t know. If that is the case then the Systematic Innovation method will tell us that we need to acquire some data in order to understand why in this case necking occurs. For most production processes the desire to optimise processes generally means that we will have a pretty good idea about what causes variation in the process. In the case of a typical extrusion operation quality is likely to be related to changes in temperature of the material, atmospheric temperature, size of the die, pumping pressure, tension on the fibre after extrusion, atmospheric pressure, humidity, etc. Let us then speculate that the reason for the presence of necking in the fibre is fluctuation in the temperature of the molten material before it enters the die. In traditional problem solving analysis, we might chose to explore this situation further by asking why the temperature fluctuations occur. Indeed we might take this a step further by experimenting with all of the other variables in the system to see how they might affect temperature and then necking. If we did this we might well determine that, for example, it was possible to reduce the temperature variation problem by slowing down the process (i.e. allowing more time for the temperature to stabilise throughout the material). With this finding we now have the potential of a solution to the problem; slowing the process down improves temperature distribution, which in turn reduces breakages. While this might indeed solve the quality problem, the solution has been achieved at the expense of throughput. We have improved one thing only for another to get worse. If we determine that quality is more important than speed then we may be happy with this decision.

Systematic Innovation on the other hand will tell us that we have now found a contradiction. Something gets better and something else gets worse. In the ideal case, we would find a way of improving the quality without reducing the speed. The contradictions part of the method contains a Contradiction Matrix tool (Reference 3). This tool enables users to see how other problem solvers have solved similar problems without making compromises. In the case of this hypothetical extrusion process, we have identified that there is a contradiction between our desire for even temperature distribution and the lack of time for the heat to spread evenly through the material. According to TRIZ, someone, somewhere has already found ways of solving this problem. Figure 5 illustrates how the Matrix has been used to resolve the problem in other disciplines.

triz problem solving process

In this case we may see that 9 different Inventive Principles have been used to successfully resolve this type of temperature-versus-time conflict pair. Closer examination of the Inventive Principle descriptions (Reference 10) will then reveal several possible solution options:-

  • Principle 15, Dynamics – introduce some kind of a stirrer into the system to improve mixing of hot and cold materials.
  • Principle 19, Periodic Action – rather than adding a mechanical mixer, use pressure pulsations to improve mixing of the raw material.
  • Principle 1, Segmentation – instead of attempting to heat all of the raw material to the same temperature, recognise that the only time when temperature is important is when the material enters the die. Hence rather than seeking to accurately control the temperature of all of the material, segment the problem and only accurately control that material which is about to enter the die.
  • Principle 18, Vibration – here we might use some form of vibration (the Principle actually suggests the use of ultrasound) to improve mixing of the material and hence the removal of hot spots.

The only limits to the number of solutions that can be found will generally be dependent on the ability of the problem solver to interpret the Inventive Principles. With practice it is possible to still be generating viable no-trade-off solutions for several hours. Compare this with a typical brainstorming session where ideas generally run out after less than 20-30 minutes.

This quality problem study has been solved as a contradiction problem since – as with many manufacture systems – there are highly likely to be contradictions present since we are always trying to get the maximum out of the system that we can. Asking the pair of questions ‘what would I like to improve?’ and ‘what stops me?’ is a simple and effective way of identifying these contradictions. An alternative problem strategy would have involved recognising that the problem has got something to do with the even heating of a liquid. Making this connection, the Systematic Innovation function database would have suggested that, looking across every different industry, there are many ways of delivering this function. We could, for example, seek to deploy acoustic cavitation or the Joule-Lenz Effect or Ranque Effect or microwave, etc as other sectors wishing to perform the ‘heat liquid’ function have already discovered for me. If we have never heard of some of these methods of heating, the database at Reference 9 provides more information on each.

To try and summarize and give a flavour of the world’s biggest study of creativity and innovation in a mere nine pages is an almost impossible task. For anyone that wishes to explore TRIZ or Systematic Innovation in more detail there is a wealth of available information on the subject. Much of this information is available for free on the Internet. See Reference 9, for example, for a collection of over 200 TRIZ websites. Despite the fact that TRIZ will tell us that the nuclear, aerospace, bio-sciences, micro-electronics, chemical process, automotive, food, education, politics, HR, logistics, etc sectors are all solving similar problems it is still very difficult to conceive the possibility that someone has already solved your problem. But that is indeed what the evidence of over two million analyses will tell us. As companies and individuals gradually become more willing to talk about what they are doing with TRIZ, it becomes increasingly likely to find something specifically connected with your situation.

The main success factor with Systematic Innovation is to get some initial tangible benefit. To learn the whole of the method will probably require an investment of three to six months of effort. No-one is going to (or indeed ought to) make this level of commitment without some faith that the benefits will outweigh the costs. A very important final word, then, is that there is absolutely no need to learn the whole of the toolkit before users can start delivering real benefits. Many users will learn one tool only, and will stick with just that one tool. If that enables them to solve a problem or create a patent then a major service will have been provided. Then and only then should the inclination to learn other parts be encouraged. Let the use of Systematic Innovation grow from the tangible benefits that it delivers.

  • Altshuller, G. ‘Creativity As An Exact Science’, (Gordon & Breach, 1984)
  • Salamatov, Y., ‘TRIZ: The Right Solution At The Right Time’, (Insytec BV, The Netherlands, 1999)
  • Mann, D.L., Dewulf, S., Zlotin, B., Zusman, A., ’Matrix 2003: Updating The TRIZ Contradiction Matrix’, CREAX Press, Belgium, 2003.
  • TRIZ Journal, www.TRIZ-journal.com
  • Mann, D.L., ‘Design Without Compromise: A New Perspective on Fluid Power System Component Design’, PTMC International Workshop, PTMC99, Bath, September 1999.
  • Mann, D.L., ‘Case Studies In TRIZ: Helicopter Particle Separator’, TRIZ Journal, February 1999.
  • Mann, D.L., ’Strength versus Weight Contradictions in Bridge Design’, TRIZ Journal, March 2000.
  • Miles, L. D. ‘Techniques of Value Analysis and Engineering’, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York NY, 1961.
  • www.creax.com
  • Mann, D.L., ‘Hands-On Systematic Innovation’, CREAX Press, 2002.

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Mastering TRIZ: A Comprehensive Guide To Inventive Problem Solving

triz problem solving process

TRIZ – The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

If you are familiar with Design for Six Sigma or other problem-solving methodologies, you may have come across TRIZ. TRIZ, which stands for Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch in Russian, is a systematic and creative problem-solving approach developed in the former Soviet Union. In this blog post, we will explore the history and development of TRIZ, key concepts, benefits of applying TRIZ, tools and techniques, and case studies of successful TRIZ applications.

History and Development of TRIZ

TRIZ was developed by Genrich Altshuller, a Russian patent clerk, in the 1940s. Altshuller was frustrated by the repetitive and incremental nature of inventions at the time and believed that there must be a more systematic way to invent. He started analyzing patents to identify common patterns and principles of innovation. After analyzing hundreds of thousands of patents, he discovered that many inventors used a small set of principles and patterns repeatedly. These principles formed the basis of TRIZ.

7 TRIZ Tools and Techniques

At its core, TRIZ is a problem-solving method that uses systematic analysis of contradictions to find innovative solutions. TRIZ is based on several key concepts, the following are some of the key concepts of TRIZ that help to guide its problem-solving methodology.

1. Contradiction Matrix:

The contradiction matrix is a tool that helps identify the contradictions within a problem. The matrix consists of 39 parameters that describe the nature of a problem, such as the degree of complexity or the need for accuracy. By comparing the parameters that are in conflict, it is possible to identify the contradiction and find a solution that resolves it.

2. Functional Analysis:

Functional analysis is a technique used to break down a system or problem into its individual parts and functions. By doing so, it becomes possible to identify the functions that are critical to the system and those that are not. This information can be used to improve the system or to find new ways of solving the problem.

3. Ideality:

Ideality is a concept that describes the ideal state of a system or problem. It involves identifying the functions that are necessary for the system to operate and removing any unnecessary functions. By doing so, it becomes possible to achieve the ideal state, which is a system that is perfect in every way.

4. Substance-Field Analysis:

Substance-field analysis is a technique that helps to identify the physical and chemical processes that are involved in a problem. By understanding the processes, it becomes possible to find new ways of solving the problem.

5. TRIZ Inventive Principles:

The TRIZ inventive principles are a set of 40 principles that have been identified as being useful for solving problems. The principles are based on the idea that there are only a limited number of ways to solve a problem, and that these ways can be categorized and described.

6. S-Curve Analysis:

S-curve analysis is a technique that helps to identify the stages of development of a product or process. By understanding the different stages, it becomes possible to predict the future development of the product or process and to plan accordingly.

ARIZ is the Algorithm for Inventive Problem Solving. It is a step-by-step process that guides the user through the problem-solving process. ARIZ is designed to help the user to identify the contradictions within the problem, to find a solution to these contradictions, and to develop an action plan for implementing the solution.

7 Benefits of Applying TRIZ

TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, offers a wide range of benefits to individuals and organizations that choose to apply its principles and methodologies. From increased innovation to higher efficiency and cost savings, TRIZ can help businesses tackle complex problems and find creative solutions. In this section, we will delve deeper into the benefits of applying TRIZ.

1. Increased Innovation: TRIZ encourages innovative thinking by providing a structured approach to problem-solving. By using TRIZ, businesses can break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable pieces, and use systematic methods to solve each piece. This approach often leads to novel solutions that may not have been discovered using traditional methods.

2. Improved Efficiency: TRIZ helps businesses to streamline their processes, eliminate waste and reduce costs. By identifying the root cause of a problem, TRIZ can help businesses develop solutions that address the underlying issue, rather than just treating the symptoms. This can lead to significant improvements in efficiency and productivity.

3. Cost Savings: TRIZ can help businesses reduce costs by identifying solutions that require fewer resources. By applying the principles of TRIZ, businesses can optimize their processes and eliminate waste, resulting in cost savings.

4. Improved Product Quality: TRIZ can help businesses improve the quality of their products by identifying and addressing design flaws and other issues that affect performance. By applying the principles of TRIZ, businesses can develop products that are more reliable, efficient, and effective.

5. Increased Customer Satisfaction: By improving product quality, efficiency, and innovation, TRIZ can help businesses to increase customer satisfaction. This can lead to increased sales, customer loyalty, and improved brand reputation.

6. Competitive Advantage: TRIZ can give businesses a competitive advantage by enabling them to develop unique and innovative solutions that differentiate them from their competitors. By using TRIZ to solve problems and develop new products, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and gain an edge in the market.

7. Sustainable Solutions: TRIZ encourages businesses to develop sustainable solutions that minimize waste and reduce environmental impact. By using TRIZ to identify solutions that are more efficient and eco-friendly, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

triz problem solving process

6 Common Challenges in Applying TRIZ

While TRIZ can be an incredibly useful problem-solving methodology, it is not without its challenges. Here are some of the most common challenges encountered when applying TRIZ:

1. Complexity: TRIZ can be a complex and difficult system to learn and apply. The methodology involves multiple levels of analysis, tools, and techniques that can be challenging to master, particularly for those without a background in engineering or science.

2. Resistance to Change: Many organizations may resist implementing TRIZ due to a reluctance to change existing processes or a lack of understanding of the benefits that TRIZ can bring. In some cases, implementing TRIZ may require a significant shift in the way that an organization approaches problem-solving, which can be a difficult sell for some stakeholders.

3. Lack of Expertise: As TRIZ is a relatively niche field, it can be challenging to find experts who can help organizations to implement the methodology effectively. This can lead to organizations attempting to apply TRIZ on their own without the necessary guidance, which can lead to suboptimal results.

4. Limited Case Studies: While there are many examples of successful TRIZ applications, there are relatively few case studies that detail the implementation process and the challenges that were faced along the way. This can make it difficult for organizations to learn from the experiences of others and may lead to them repeating mistakes that could have been avoided.

5. Misunderstanding of TRIZ Principles: Some organizations may attempt to implement TRIZ without a full understanding of the underlying principles and tools, leading to suboptimal results. This is particularly true when TRIZ is viewed as a set of tools rather than a comprehensive problem-solving methodology.

6. Overreliance on TRIZ: While TRIZ can be a powerful tool for problem-solving, it is not a silver bullet solution for all problems. Organizations may be tempted to over-rely on TRIZ and neglect other problem-solving techniques, leading to a narrow and potentially ineffective approach to problem-solving.

In summary, while TRIZ can be an effective methodology for problem-solving, it is not without its challenges. Organizations must be willing to invest in the necessary training, guidance, and expertise to implement TRIZ effectively, and must also be aware of the potential pitfalls and limitations of the methodology.

Case Studies of Successful TRIZ Applications

TRIZ has been applied successfully across many industries, from manufacturing to healthcare to IT. Here are a few examples:

  • Samsung: Samsung used TRIZ to improve the design of a laser printer, resulting in a 20% reduction in the number of parts and a 40% reduction in assembly time.
  • Philips: Philips used TRIZ to improve the energy efficiency of a television, resulting in a 30% reduction in energy consumption.
  • NASA: NASA used TRIZ to improve the design of a space suit, resulting in a lighter, more flexible suit that allowed for greater mobility and comfort.

In summary, TRIZ is a problem-solving methodology that has its roots in the analysis of patents and the identification of patterns of inventive solutions. The key concepts of TRIZ provide a systematic and creative approach to problem-solving, focusing on contradictions, ideality, patterns of inventive solutions, levels of abstraction, and the ARIZ methodology. By applying these concepts, TRIZ practitioners can find innovative and effective solutions to complex problems, without the need to reinvent the wheel.

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triz problem solving process

TRIZ, the Russian acronym for "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving," is a powerful, systematic methodology for innovation and problem-solving. Developed by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the former Soviet Union, TRIZ is based on the idea that there are universal principles underlying the process of innovation, which can be identified, studied, and applied to enhance creative thinking and solve complex problems. In this post, we will provide an overview of TRIZ, discuss its key principles and tools, and explore how it can be used to foster innovation and enhance problem-solving capabilities in various fields.

Key Principles of TRIZ:

TRIZ is built on several foundational principles that guide the problem-solving process:

1. Patterns of innovation: TRIZ posits that technological systems evolve following predictable patterns, which can be identified and leveraged to generate innovative solutions.

2. Contradictions: TRIZ recognizes that problems often arise from inherent contradictions within a system, and solving these contradictions can lead to breakthrough solutions.

3. Ideality: TRIZ emphasizes the pursuit of ideality, which is achieved when a system delivers maximum value with minimal resources and complexity.

4. Resources: TRIZ encourages the efficient use of available resources, including materials, energy, and knowledge, to create innovative solutions.

Key Tools and Techniques in TRIZ:

TRIZ offers a range of tools and techniques designed to facilitate the problem-solving process, including:

1. 40 Inventive Principles: A collection of 40 general strategies that can be applied to resolve contradictions and generate innovative solutions.

2. Separation Principles: Techniques for resolving contradictions by separating conflicting requirements in time, space, or condition.

3. Contradiction Matrix: A tool that helps identify the most relevant inventive principles to apply based on the specific contradiction at hand.

4. Function Analysis: A method for understanding and optimizing the interactions between components within a system.

5. ARIZ (Algorithm for Inventive Problem Solving): A step-by-step algorithmic approach that guides users through the TRIZ problem-solving process.

Applications of TRIZ:

TRIZ has been successfully applied across various industries, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, manufacturing, and healthcare, among others. Its versatility allows it to be adapted to a wide range of problems, from incremental improvements to radical innovations. Some potential applications of TRIZ include:

1. Product development: TRIZ can be used to identify new product features, improve existing designs, and optimize performance by addressing contradictions and leveraging patterns of innovation.

2. Process improvement: TRIZ can help identify and resolve bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and contradictions within a process, leading to enhanced productivity and reduced costs.

3. Organizational problem solving: TRIZ can be employed to address complex organizational challenges, such as optimizing resource allocation, improving communication, and managing conflicts.


TRIZ is a powerful and systematic approach to innovation and problem-solving that offers a range of tools and techniques to help users identify and resolve contradictions, leverage patterns of innovation, and pursue ideality. By incorporating TRIZ into their problem-solving toolkit, individuals and organizations can enhance their creative thinking capabilities, overcome complex challenges, and drive breakthrough innovations in a wide variety of fields.

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TRIZ: Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

  • The TRIZ method is an organized, systematic, and creative problem-solving framework. It was developed in 1946 by Soviet inventor and author Genrich Altshuller who studied 200,000 patents to determine if there were patterns in innovation .
  • Altshuller acknowledged that not every innovation was necessarily groundbreaking in scope or ambition. From the result of his research, he created five levels of innovation , with Level 1 innovations resulting from obvious or conventional solutions and Level 5 innovations resulting in new ideas that propelled technology forward.
  • The TRIZ method has been altered multiple times since it was released and may appear complicated. However, problem-solving teams can take comfort from the fact that others have most likely prevailed against similar problems in the past.
Concept OverviewTRIZ, which stands for “Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch” in Russian or the “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” in English, is a systematic problem-solving methodology and innovation framework developed by Russian inventor and engineer Genrich Altshuller. TRIZ is designed to help individuals and organizations find innovative solutions to technical problems and challenges. It is based on the idea that there are common patterns and principles behind inventive solutions, and by identifying and applying these patterns, inventive solutions can be generated systematically. TRIZ has been widely used in engineering, product development, and various industries to drive innovation and problem-solving.
Key PrinciplesTRIZ is founded on several key principles, including:
– ContradictionsIdentifying and resolving contradictions within a problem is central to TRIZ. Contradictions occur when improving one aspect of a system worsens another. TRIZ provides methods to resolve such contradictions creatively.
– 40 Inventive PrinciplesTRIZ offers a set of 40 inventive principles derived from the analysis of patents and innovative solutions across various domains. These principles serve as a toolkit for generating inventive ideas.
– Laws of Engineering Systems EvolutionTRIZ suggests that engineering systems evolve in predictable ways, transitioning through stages of increasing complexity and ideality. Understanding these laws can guide innovation.
– IdealityTRIZ emphasizes the concept of “ideality,” where the ideal solution accomplishes its function without drawbacks or resources. Striving for increased ideality is a core TRIZ concept.
Problem-Solving Process StepsThe TRIZ problem-solving process typically involves the following steps:
1. Define the problemClearly articulate the problem or challenge to be solved.
2. Identify contradictionsDetermine any conflicting requirements or factors within the problem.
3. Utilize TRIZ toolsApply TRIZ tools and principles, such as the 40 Inventive Principles or the Laws of Engineering Systems Evolution, to generate innovative solutions.
4. Ideate and select solutionsBrainstorm and evaluate potential solutions generated using TRIZ principles.
5. Implement solutionsDevelop and implement the selected solution.
6. Analyze resultsEvaluate the effectiveness of the solution and make any necessary adjustments.
ImplicationsTRIZ has implications for innovation and problem-solving across various industries. It provides a systematic approach to finding inventive solutions to technical challenges, leading to improved product designs, cost savings, and increased competitiveness. The emphasis on ideality and resolving contradictions can result in more efficient and effective engineering systems. By following TRIZ principles, organizations can streamline their innovation processes and achieve breakthrough solutions.
Benefits– Systematic innovation: TRIZ offers a structured and systematic approach to innovation and problem-solving. – Increased ideality: TRIZ encourages the pursuit of ideality, leading to more efficient and ideal solutions. – Creative solutions: TRIZ principles can stimulate creative thinking and lead to inventive solutions. – Problem-solving toolkit: The 40 Inventive Principles serve as a toolkit for generating ideas and solutions. – Competitive advantage: Organizations that apply TRIZ can gain a competitive edge by consistently producing innovative products and solutions.
Drawbacks– Complexity: TRIZ can be complex and may require training and expertise to apply effectively. – Cultural adaptation: Integrating TRIZ into organizational culture may face resistance or challenges. – Resource-intensive: Implementing TRIZ may require dedicated resources and time for training and application. – Limited to technical problems: TRIZ is primarily applied to technical and engineering challenges, limiting its scope in non-technical domains.
ApplicationsTRIZ has been applied in various industries, including engineering, manufacturing, product development, aerospace, and automotive sectors. It is particularly valuable for addressing complex technical challenges, optimizing designs, and enhancing product performance.

The TRIZ method is an organized, systematic, and creative problem-solving framework. The TRIZ method was developed in 1946 by Soviet inventor and author Genrich Altshuller who studied thousands of inventions across many industries to determine if there were any patterns in innovation and the problems encountered. 

Table of Contents

Understanding the TRIZ method

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch , translated as “The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” in English.

For this reason, the TRIZ method is sometimes referred to as the TIPS method.

From careful research of over 200,000 patents, Altshuller and his team discovered that 95% of problems faced by engineers in a specific industry had already been solved.

Instead, the list was used to provide a systematic methodology that would allow teams to focus their creativity and encourage innovation .

In essence, the TRIZ method is based on the simple hypothesis that somebody, somewhere in the world has solved the same problem already.

Creativity, according to Altshuller, meant finding that prior solution and then adapting it to the problem at hand.

The five levels of the TRIZ method

While Altshuller analyzed hundreds of thousands of patents, he acknowledged that not every innovation was necessarily groundbreaking in scope or ambition. 

After ten years of research between 1964 and 1974, he assigned each patent a value based on five levels of innovation :

Level 1 (32% of all patents)

These are innovations that utilize obvious or conventional solutions with well-established techniques.

Level 2 (45%)

The most common form where minor innovations are made that solve technical contradictions.

These are easily overcome when combining knowledge from different but related industries.

Level 3 (18%)

These are inventions that resolve a physical contradiction and require knowledge from non-related industries.

Elements of technical systems are either completely replaced or partly changed.

Level 4 (4%)

Or innovations where a new technical system is synthesized.

This means innovation is based on science and creative endeavor and not on technology.

Contradictions may be present in old, unrelated technical systems.

Level 5 (1%)

The rarest and most complex patents involved the discovery of new solutions and ideas that propel existing technology to new levels.

These are pioneering inventions that result in new systems and inspire subsequent innovation in the other four levels over time.

How the TRIZ method works

Since its release, the TRIZ method has been refined and altered by problem-solvers and scientists multiple times. But the problem-solving framework it espouses remains more or less the same:

Gather necessary information

Problem solvers must start by gathering the necessary information to solve the problem.

This includes reference materials, processes, materials, and tools.

Organize the information

Information related to the problem should also be collected, organized, and analyzed.

This may pertain to the practical experience of the problem, competitor solutions, and historical trial-and-error attempts.

Transform the information into a generic problem

Once the specific problem has been identified, the TRIZ method encourages the problem solvers to transform it into a generic problem.

Generic solutions can then be formulated and, with the tools at hand, the team can then create a specific solution that solves the specific problem.

Make sense of that

The last step in the TRIZ method appears to be rather complicated. But it is important for innovators to remember that most problems are not specific or unique to their particular circumstances.

Someone in the world at some point in time has faced the same issue and overcome it.

When to Use TRIZ:

TRIZ is a valuable problem-solving approach in a variety of scenarios:

1. Complex Technical Challenges:

TRIZ is particularly effective for solving complex engineering and technical problems, especially those involving conflicting requirements or constraints.

2. Innovation and Design:

When organizations seek to foster innovation in product design, TRIZ can help identify inventive solutions and drive creativity.

3. Product Development:

TRIZ can be applied at various stages of product development, from concept generation to troubleshooting and optimization.

4. Process Improvement:

It is useful for optimizing processes and operations, reducing inefficiencies, and eliminating bottlenecks.

5. Patent Analysis:

TRIZ can assist in analyzing patents and inventions to uncover the inventive principles and strategies used by others.

How to Use TRIZ:

Applying TRIZ effectively involves a systematic approach that leverages its principles and tools:

1. Define the Problem:

Clearly define the problem or challenge you are facing, including any contradictions or conflicts within the problem statement.

2. Identify Contradictions:

Identify the contradictions or conflicts inherent in the problem. These could be technical contradictions (e.g., increase strength vs. reduce weight) or physical contradictions (e.g., increase temperature vs. reduce temperature).

3. Apply Inventive Principles:

Consult the TRIZ inventive principles and tools to identify solutions that resolve the contradictions. These principles provide guidance on how to overcome specific challenges.

4. Ideate and Innovate:

Encourage creative thinking and brainstorming to generate potential solutions based on the inventive principles and insights gained from TRIZ analysis .

5. Evaluate and Select Solutions:

Evaluate the generated solutions for feasibility, effectiveness, and alignment with the ideal final result (IFR). Select the most promising solutions for further development.

6. Implement and Test:

Implement the chosen solutions and test them in practice. Monitor their effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.

Drawbacks and Limitations of TRIZ:

While TRIZ is a powerful methodology for inventive problem-solving, it is not without its drawbacks and limitations:

1. Complexity:

TRIZ can be complex and may require training and expertise to apply effectively, especially for novices.

2. Not a Panacea:

TRIZ may not be suitable for every problem. Some challenges may be better addressed through simpler problem-solving methods.

3. Cultural and Language Barriers:

TRIZ originated in Russia and has its own terminology, which can be a barrier for individuals from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

4. Resource-Intensive:

The extensive analysis and application of TRIZ principles can be resource-intensive, particularly in terms of time and expertise.

5. Not Suited for Non-Technical Problems:

TRIZ is primarily designed for technical and engineering problems and may not be well-suited for non-technical challenges.

What to Expect from Using TRIZ:

Using TRIZ can lead to several outcomes and benefits:

1. Creative Solutions:

TRIZ helps individuals and teams identify inventive solutions that may not be obvious through traditional problem-solving approaches.

2. Contradiction Resolution:

It offers a systematic way to address and resolve contradictions and conflicts within problems.

3. Innovation and Optimization:

TRIZ can drive innovation in product design, process improvement, and optimization efforts.

4. Structured Problem-Solving:

It provides a structured and systematic approach to problem-solving, making it easier to tackle complex challenges.

5. Knowledge Transfer:

TRIZ allows organizations to capture and transfer knowledge about inventive solutions across different projects and teams.

Complementary Frameworks to Enhance TRIZ:

TRIZ can be further enhanced when combined with complementary frameworks and techniques:

1. Lean Six Sigma:

Lean Six Sigma complements TRIZ by focusing on process improvement and waste reduction. Combining both approaches can lead to optimized processes with inventive solutions.

2. Design Thinking:

Design thinking complements TRIZ by emphasizing user-centered design, empathy, and iterative ideation. It encourages innovative solutions that meet user needs.

3. Brainstorming:

Brainstorming sessions can be used in conjunction with TRIZ to generate a wide range of ideas before applying TRIZ’s systematic analysis .

4. Root Cause Analysis:

Root cause analysis techniques help identify the underlying causes of problems, which can then be addressed using TRIZ’s inventive principles.

5. Simulation and Modeling:

Simulations and modeling tools can be used to test and validate TRIZ-based solutions before implementation.


The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) is a powerful and structured methodology for inventive problem-solving.

By leveraging the principles of TRIZ, individuals and teams can identify inventive solutions to complex technical challenges, foster innovation in product design, and optimize processes.

While TRIZ may have some limitations and complexities, its benefits in driving creativity, resolving contradictions, and providing a structured problem-solving approach make it a valuable tool for individuals and organizations seeking inventive solutions.

When combined with complementary frameworks and techniques, TRIZ becomes an even more potent force for innovation and creative problem-solving, allowing organizations to overcome technical challenges and achieve breakthroughs in their fields.

Case Studies

Product Design Improvement

Imagine a company that manufactures smartphones and wants to enhance the design of their devices to stand out in the market. They identify the problem as “Stagnant Smartphone Design.”

  • Gather Necessary Information : The team collects data on existing smartphone designs, materials, user feedback, and market trends.
  • Organize the Information : They analyze existing smartphone designs, including those of competitors, and categorize common design elements and user preferences.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem : The generic problem becomes “How to create a smartphone design that appeals to a wide range of users and differentiates from competitors.”
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution : The team utilizes TRIZ tools to generate innovative design concepts. They explore principles like “Use of Contradictions” to balance features like aesthetics and functionality.
  • Recognize Commonality : The team researches historical smartphone design breakthroughs and identifies elements that have successfully appealed to users in the past.

This process may lead to a novel smartphone design that incorporates innovative features, such as flexible displays, while addressing common user preferences.

Supply Chain Optimization

A logistics company faces challenges in optimizing its supply chain operations to reduce costs and improve efficiency. They define the problem as “Inefficient Supply Chain Operations.”

  • Gather Necessary Information : Data on current supply chain processes, transportation methods, warehousing, and inventory management are gathered.
  • Organize the Information : The team analyzes existing supply chain operations, identifies bottlenecks, and reviews industry best practices.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem : The generic problem becomes “How to create a highly efficient and cost-effective supply chain system.”
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution : TRIZ tools are applied to generate innovative solutions. Principles like “Trimming” are used to eliminate redundant steps in the supply chain.
  • Recognize Commonality : The team researches successful supply chain optimizations in other industries and adapts relevant strategies.

The result may be a streamlined supply chain system that reduces transportation costs, minimizes inventory waste, and enhances overall efficiency.

Energy-Efficient Building Design

An architectural firm aims to design environmentally friendly buildings with superior energy efficiency. They identify the problem as “Inefficient Building Energy Consumption.”

  • Gather Necessary Information : Data on existing building designs, construction materials, HVAC systems, and renewable energy technologies are collected.
  • Organize the Information : The team analyzes current building designs, identifies energy consumption patterns, and reviews sustainable building practices.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem : The generic problem becomes “How to design buildings that maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact.”
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution : TRIZ tools are used to generate innovative building design concepts. Principles like “Ideal Final Result” help in envisioning energy-neutral structures.
  • Recognize Commonality : The team studies environmentally friendly building designs worldwide and integrates successful strategies into their projects.

The outcome may be groundbreaking building designs that incorporate passive heating and cooling, energy-efficient materials, and renewable energy sources to achieve net-zero energy consumption.

Medical Device Innovation

A medical device manufacturer wants to develop a groundbreaking medical device to revolutionize patient care. They identify the problem as “Limited Innovation in Medical Devices.”

  • Gather Necessary Information : Data on current medical device technologies, patient needs, regulatory requirements, and clinical studies are gathered.
  • Organize the Information : The team reviews existing medical devices, identifies gaps in patient care, and studies medical technology advancements.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem : The generic problem becomes “How to create a transformative medical device that significantly improves patient outcomes.”
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution : TRIZ tools are applied to generate innovative medical device concepts. Principles like “Contradiction Resolution” help address challenges like miniaturization and enhanced functionality.
  • Recognize Commonality : The team studies pioneering medical device innovations and incorporates successful design elements into their project.

Key takeaways

  • TRIZ Method: The TRIZ method is a problem-solving framework developed by Genrich Altshuller in 1946. TRIZ stands for “Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch,” which translates to “The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.”
  • Origin and Purpose: Altshuller studied thousands of patents to identify patterns in innovation and problem-solving across various industries. He aimed to create a systematic methodology for problem-solving that encourages creativity and innovation .
  • Level 1: Obvious or conventional solutions using well-established techniques (32% of patents).
  • Level 2: Minor innovations overcoming technical contradictions by combining knowledge from related industries (45%).
  • Level 3: Inventions resolving physical contradictions using knowledge from non-related industries (18%).
  • Level 4: Innovations synthesizing new technical systems based on science and creativity (4%).
  • Level 5: Pioneering inventions that lead to new systems and inspire innovation in other levels (1%).
  • Gather Necessary Information: Collect relevant information about the problem, processes, materials, and tools.
  • Organize the Information: Analyze and organize information related to the problem, including practical experience, competitor solutions, and historical attempts.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem: Transform the specific problem into a generic form to formulate generic solutions.
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution: Use available tools to create a specific solution that addresses the specific problem.
  • Recognize Commonality: Recognize that most problems have been faced by others in the past and have likely been overcome.
  • TRIZ is a systematic problem-solving framework developed by Genrich Altshuller.
  • It categorizes innovation into five levels based on the nature of the solution.
  • The TRIZ method involves gathering and organizing information, transforming the problem into a generic form, applying tools, and recognizing commonality with past solutions.
  • The method encourages problem-solvers to leverage existing solutions and patterns to creatively address new challenges.

The 40 TRIZ Principles

1SegmentationDivide an object or process into smaller parts to simplify, optimize, or resolve specific issues.
2Taking OutRemove or eliminate components, elements, or factors that are unnecessary or detrimental.
3Local QualityImprove a specific area or component without affecting the overall system.
4AsymmetryIntroduce asymmetrical elements or variations to improve performance or functionality.
5MergingCombine different functions, processes, or components to simplify or optimize the system.
6UniversalityDesign elements or solutions that can be used in multiple applications or contexts.
7“Nested Doll”Place objects or components within each other to save space or resources.
8Anti-WeightCounteract or reduce the force of gravity to achieve better performance.
9Preliminary CounteractionIntroduce preventive measures to avoid potential problems or disruptions.
10Preliminary ActionPerform actions or adjustments in advance to prepare for future changes or challenges.
11Beforehand CushioningUse buffering or shock-absorbing elements to protect against potential impacts or variations.
12EquipotentialityMaintain or create uniform conditions or potentials to ensure consistent performance.
13“The Other Way Round”Reverse or invert a process or sequence to achieve a different outcome or perspective.
14SpheroidalityChange the shape of an object or component from linear to curved or spherical.
15DynamicsIntroduce movement or variation into a system to improve performance or functionality.
16Partial or Excessive ActionsAdjust or optimize the level of an action or parameter to meet specific requirements.
17Another DimensionAdd a new dimension or degree of freedom to a system to enable new solutions.
18Mechanical VibrationApply vibrations or oscillations to a system to enhance mixing, separation, or other processes.
19Periodic ActionIntroduce periodic or pulsating actions to achieve specific effects or objectives.
20Continuity of Useful ActionEnsure that a system continues to perform useful functions even during downtime or failures.
21SkippingSkip a process or step when it is not necessary for the current objective.
22“Blessing in Disguise”Identify hidden opportunities or benefits in a problem or challenge.
23FeedbackEstablish feedback loops to monitor and adjust system performance in real-time.
24IntermediaryIntroduce an intermediate component or process to facilitate or optimize interactions.
25Self-ServiceDesign systems or processes that allow users to perform necessary actions independently.
26CopyingBorrow ideas, concepts, or solutions from other fields or domains to address current challenges.
27Inexpensive Short-Living ObjectsUse disposable or short-lived components or objects to simplify maintenance or replacements.
28Mechanics SubstitutionReplace mechanical components with electronic, magnetic, or other non-mechanical alternatives.
29Pneumatics & HydraulicsUtilize air or liquid pressure to perform work or actuate mechanisms.
30Flexible Shells and Thin FilmsUse flexible or thin materials to achieve better adaptability or efficiency.
31Porous MaterialsUse materials with porous structures to enhance absorption, filtration, or other properties.
32Changing the ColorChange the color or appearance of an object to indicate its status or enhance aesthetics.
33HomogeneityMake objects or substances more uniform in composition to improve performance or consistency.
34Rejecting & Regenerating PartsDiscard or regenerate components that have reached the end of their useful life.
35Parameter ChangesAlter the values of parameters or factors to optimize performance or achieve desired results.
36Phase TransitionsUtilize phase changes (solid-liquid-gas) to achieve desired effects or transformations.
37Thermal ExpansionLeverage the expansion and contraction of materials due to temperature changes for mechanical advantage.
38Strong Oxidants & Inert EnvironmentControl the environment’s oxidation levels to prevent or enhance reactions.
39Inert AtmosphereModify the surrounding environment to reduce or eliminate unwanted reactions or interactions.
40Composite MaterialsCombine different materials to create composites with unique properties and benefits.
Related MethodologiesDescriptionKey Features
TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving)TRIZ, developed by Genrich Altshuller, is a problem-solving and innovation methodology that aims to systematically resolve contradictions and generate inventive solutions. It is based on the premise that there are patterns of inventive solutions that can be applied to any problem. TRIZ provides a structured approach for analyzing problems, identifying contradictions, leveraging principles of innovation, and generating creative solutions. It involves principles such as identifying and resolving contradictions, ideality, using resources efficiently, and leveraging inventive principles and patterns.– Systematic problem-solving and innovation methodology. – Resolves contradictions and generates inventive solutions. – Based on patterns of inventive solutions. – Provides structured approach for problem analysis and solution generation. – Includes principles such as resolving contradictions, ideality, resource efficiency, and inventive principles.
Design ThinkingDesign Thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that emphasizes empathy, creativity, and iterative prototyping. It involves understanding user needs, defining problems, brainstorming creative solutions, prototyping and testing ideas, and refining solutions based on user feedback. Design Thinking encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and iterative experimentation to generate innovative solutions that address real user needs.– Human-centered approach to innovation. – Emphasizes empathy, creativity, and iterative prototyping. – Involves understanding user needs, defining problems, brainstorming solutions, prototyping, testing, and refining. – Encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and iterative experimentation.
Agile MethodologyAgile Methodology is an iterative approach to software development and project management that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and customer feedback. It involves breaking projects into small, manageable tasks or iterations, prioritizing work based on customer value, continuously delivering incremental improvements, and adapting plans based on feedback and changing requirements. Agile teams work closely together, communicate regularly, and embrace change as a means of delivering value efficiently.– Iterative approach to software development and project management. – Emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and customer feedback. – Breaks projects into small, manageable tasks or iterations. – Prioritizes work based on customer value. – Delivers incremental improvements continuously. – Adapts plans based on feedback and changing requirements. – Encourages close collaboration, regular communication, and embracing change.
Lean StartupThe Lean Startup methodology, developed by Eric Ries, is a framework for building and scaling startups through rapid experimentation and validated learning. It emphasizes creating a minimum viable product (MVP) to test hypotheses, measuring key metrics to validate assumptions, and iterating based on customer feedback. Lean Startup aims to reduce the time and cost of bringing a product to market, mitigate risks, and maximize the chances of success by focusing on what customers truly value.– Framework for building and scaling startups through rapid experimentation and validated learning. – Emphasizes creating a minimum viable product (MVP) to test hypotheses. – Measures key metrics to validate assumptions. – Iterates based on customer feedback. – Aims to reduce time and cost of bringing a product to market. – Focuses on what customers truly value to maximize chances of success.
SCAMPERSCAMPER is a mnemonic for a creativity technique that prompts individuals to generate new ideas by asking questions related to seven different strategies: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, Eliminate, and Reverse/Rearrange. It encourages thinking creatively by challenging assumptions, exploring alternative perspectives, and generating novel solutions by modifying existing ideas or products. SCAMPER is versatile and can be applied to various problem-solving scenarios.– Creativity technique based on seven strategies: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, Eliminate, Reverse/Rearrange. – Prompts individuals to generate new ideas by challenging assumptions and exploring alternatives. – Versatile and applicable to various problem-solving scenarios.
BiomimicryBiomimicry is an innovation methodology inspired by nature’s designs and processes to solve human challenges. It involves observing and emulating nature’s strategies, forms, and processes to develop sustainable solutions that address human needs. Biomimicry encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists, engineers, designers, and biologists to unlock nature-inspired solutions that are efficient, resilient, and well-adapted to their environments.– Innovation methodology inspired by nature’s designs and processes. – Involves observing and emulating nature’s strategies to develop sustainable solutions. – Encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists, engineers, designers, and biologists. – Aims to unlock nature-inspired solutions that are efficient, resilient, and well-adapted to their environments.
KaizenKaizen, a Japanese term meaning “continuous improvement,” is a philosophy and methodology focused on making incremental, continuous improvements to processes, products, and systems. It involves empowering employees at all levels to identify and implement small, gradual changes that add value, eliminate waste, and enhance efficiency. Kaizen emphasizes a culture of continuous learning, problem-solving, and collaboration to drive ongoing improvement and innovation.– Philosophy and methodology focused on continuous improvement. – Involves making incremental, continuous improvements to processes, products, and systems. – Empowers employees to identify and implement small changes. – Enhances efficiency and eliminates waste. – Emphasizes a culture of continuous learning, problem-solving, and collaboration.
Mind MappingMind Mapping is a visual brainstorming technique that helps individuals organize and generate ideas by creating a graphical representation of interconnected concepts and relationships. It involves starting with a central idea or topic and branching out into related subtopics, ideas, and associations. Mind Mapping encourages nonlinear thinking, promotes creativity, and facilitates collaboration by visually capturing and organizing thoughts and connections.– Visual brainstorming technique for organizing and generating ideas. – Creates graphical representation of interconnected concepts and relationships. – Encourages nonlinear thinking and creativity. – Facilitates collaboration by visually capturing and organizing thoughts.

Connected Analysis Frameworks

Failure Mode And Effects Analysis


Agile Business Analysis


Business Valuation


Paired Comparison Analysis


Monte Carlo Analysis


Cost-Benefit Analysis


CATWOE Analysis


VTDF Framework


Pareto Analysis


Comparable Analysis


SWOT Analysis


PESTEL Analysis


Business Analysis


Financial Structure


Financial Modeling


Value Investing


Buffet Indicator


Financial Analysis


Post-Mortem Analysis


Retrospective Analysis


Root Cause Analysis


Blindspot Analysis


Break-even Analysis


Decision Analysis


DESTEP Analysis


STEEP Analysis


STEEPLE Analysis


Related Strategy Concepts:  Go-To-Market Strategy ,  Marketing Strategy ,  Business Models ,  Tech Business Models ,  Jobs-To-Be Done ,  Design Thinking ,  Lean Startup Canvas ,  Value Chain ,  Value Proposition Canvas ,  Balanced Scorecard ,  Business Model Canvas ,  SWOT Analysis ,  Growth Hacking ,  Bundling ,  Unbundling ,  Bootstrapping ,  Venture Capital ,  Porter’s Five Forces ,  Porter’s Generic Strategies ,  Porter’s Five Forces ,  PESTEL Analysis ,  SWOT ,  Porter’s Diamond Model ,  Ansoff ,  Technology Adoption Curve ,  TOWS ,  SOAR ,  Balanced Scorecard ,  OKR ,  Agile Methodology ,  Value Proposition ,  VTDF

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An Overview of TRIZ Problem-Solving Methodology and its Applications

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Design of Multi-task Scene Image Acquisition System in a Spacecraft Based on TRIZ

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  • First Online: 20 June 2024
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triz problem solving process

  • Shaofeng Tang 14 ,
  • Shuchen Wan 14 ,
  • Xiaosong Li 14 ,
  • Guoyuan Ding 14 &
  • Xin Qi 14  

Part of the book series: Mechanisms and Machine Science ((Mechan. Machine Science,volume 155))

Included in the following conference series:

  • ICMD: International Conference on Mechanical Design

Theory of inventive problem solving (TRIZ) is an innovative theoretical system that includes identifying and analyzing technical problems, and obtaining innovative solutions and algorithms for technical problems. This theory can effectively guide engineering designers to design innovative products in engineering practice, and solve practical engineering problems effectively and efficiently. This paper focuses on the demand for image acquisition of multiple key task scenes during the flight of the spacecraft. Based on TRIZ, the technical problem is analyzed and restated. The technical contradictions brought by the new multi-task scene image acquisition system to implement new function are determined. By the conflict solving principle (one of TRIZ tools), several innovative design directions to solve this design problem are anchored. And then the design scheme of the new system is obtained by designing in detail in the directions mentioned before. This scheme has well met practical demand and achieved satisfactory results. It is proven that TRIZ can effectively guide innovative design and research in the field of aerospace machinery.

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Shaofeng Tang, Shuchen Wan, Xiaosong Li, Guoyuan Ding & Xin Qi

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Tang, S., Wan, S., Li, X., Ding, G., Qi, X. (2024). Design of Multi-task Scene Image Acquisition System in a Spacecraft Based on TRIZ. In: Tan, J., Liu, Y., Huang, HZ., Yu, J., Wang, Z. (eds) Advances in Mechanical Design. ICMD 2023. Mechanisms and Machine Science, vol 155. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-97-0922-9_16

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  5. What is TRIZ?

    TRIZ was born out of the pair's aspiration to create a systematic approach to problem-solving that could replace the hit-or-miss strategies often used by inventors. Altshuller's genius observation of the frequent occurrence of identical solutions in different industries. Altshuller 'bottled' the inventive process.

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