NOT Applying TRIZ to Endodontic Tool Design

G. L. Filkovsky,
Nomura Securities International,
New York, USA
e-mail:Gfilkovsky@us.nomura.com

The TRIZ Journal, December 2003, article "Applying TRIZ to Endodontic Tool Design", promises to explore the value of beginner TRIZ training - and it does, but it draws a wrong conclusion. Just examine it while skipping the author's "propaganda":

Prior to his TRIZ training, many of Dr. Jacklich's designs showed several characteristics of intuitive TRIZ designs

In other words, TRIZ training was not necessary to consistently implement at least several characteristics of TRIZ design.

Since starting TRIZ training, the TRIZ characteristics have become much more prominent

A chronological relation doesn't mean a causal one: have the TRIZ characteristics become more prominent because of TRIZ training? have they become more prominent before the TRIZ training, since Dr. Jacklich started to accumulate experience? Ellen Domb claims that it has happened as a result of TRIZ training, but the little factual data article provides does not support this claim:

When asked if this was an application of principle 27, use cheap disposable objects, Dr. Jacklich replied: "I have always called this the Gilette principle-sell them one razor, and they'll come back and buy lots of blades. This makes it faster for assembly, faster for disassembly, and simpler for sterilization, all of which will make the customer come back to us. What TRIZ made me do was look at every part and ask, 'What is the function? What else could do that function simpler?' I really didn't think about the specific problem solving principles in this case, but I've definitely become much more conscious of analyzing the functions, and trimming anything unnecessary."

In other words, Dr. Jacklich's replied: "No, it was not an application of principle 27, but rather a common sense".

Dr. Jacklich did not use either contradiction matrix, but rather used all 40 principles, with the following comments: "Just because a principle is used frequently doesn't mean it is the best one for my problem" "Sometimes the principle I hadn't been thinking of gives me the best idea" "The principles work best if they make the design more ideal-and even better if the production process uses existing resources! Remember, Special Products is a small business, and the less we spend on tooling up for a new product, the better"

These comments again point to an application of common sense and also to a rejection of the basic ideas behind the TRIZ contradiction matrix. What's left? The 40 principles and the TRIZ core concepts? Such application of TRIZ is not different from application of TRIZ to a street crossing: the later implies other dimension (opposite street side), separation in time (legs movement), separation in space (steps), spheroidality (feet trajectories), preliminary anti-action (stopping one foot before moving the other), periodic action (obvious), feedback (by brain), etc. This application of TRIZ does not require any TRIZ training!

By reshaping the flutes of the file so that it cuts on the up-stroke, Dr. Jacklich uses TRIZ principle 13 (Do it in reverse) to combine two functions, principle 5 (Merging)

Wrong! There is no evidence whatsoever that Dr. Jacklich uses TRIZ principles, but rather that Ellen Domb interprets Dr. Jacklich's solutions in terms of the TRIZ principles.

The conclusion of the article should be: one does not need a TRIZ training to be a successful innovator, like Dr. Jacklich is, - but one can use TRIZ training to write a TRIZ Journal article about a successful innovator, like Ellen Domb does.

P.S. In the 6 years since taking the class, Dr. Jacklich has had no other TRIZ training
Seeing how much of TRIZ Dr. Jacklich does not use after just a beginner training, one can imagine how much of it Dr. Jacklich would not use if he went through the advanced one.