Bus Seats and Case Study About TRIZ

G. L. Filkovsky,
Nomura Securities International,
New York, USA

Reading the article of A. Sen and K. Arun, "TRIZ and Case Study About Bus Seats" [1], is almost like reading a thriller. It starts with a tense description of a "crime scene": absolute hegemony..., the only key..., changing face..., remembering more and longer..., enormous need..., the body... and finally, the quest to facilitate resolution of difficult inventive problems and the question... How can the time required to invent be reduced? All this takes one page. On the next seven pages, "detective" Altshuller gathers hints and tests clues, working his way through mountains of facts, trying to organize them and to make sense out of them. Eventually, on the next three pages, the "investigation" focuses on reducing the time lost throughout the journey, which boils down to a case of sleeplessness and discomfort. As it should be in a good thriller, the culmination point comes on the very last page: the problem is solved by adding joints to a bus seat!

Unfortunately, this point was kind of disappointing. May be, because this morning I adjusted my car seat quite comfortably by moving its multiple joints. A joke loses a lot when you know the punch line. The most surprising was to discover that VW uses A. Sen's and K. Arun's solution based on Altshuller's half-century work.

Driven by the disappointment, I decided to re-test the solution by applying it to the problem. The result was even more disappointing. Here is what A. Sen and K. Arun actually say:

The countries, which are dominant to the bus seat comfort and science of sleeping that is source to the comfort, will have absolute hegemony on industry and the other economic activities. In a word, bus seat has become the only key of the nation’s competition. Consequently, priority on seating and sleeping will be diagnostic on sharing of world’s blessings and promoting social prosperity.

And, today bus seat progress is changing the face of the earth at an ever accelerating pace. Scientists are finding ways to learn more in less time, to remember more and longer, to do thins faster and so on. This creates an enormous need for a constantly growing supply of new bus seat solutions. Moreover, the body of bus seat knowledge and application of this knowledge to solving bus seat problems is expanding rapidly.

Traditional processes for increasing creativity have a major flaw in that their usefulness decreases as the complexity of the problem increases, which happens in case of bus seats. At some point, the trial and error method is used in every process, and the number of necessary trials increases with the difficulty of the inventive problem, especially when it comes to bus seats...

In the HISTORY part A. Sen and K. Arun blindly repeat popular lies they learned from unreffered sources:

[Altshuller's] hobby led him to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer. In fact, Altshuller has never been a mechanical - or any other - engineer, and never pursued such career.

Serving in the Soviet Navy as a patent expert... In fact, Altshuller has never served in Soviet - or any other - Navy, nor he worked as a patent expert in Navy or anywhere else.

And so on. The bottom line is, A. Sen and K. Arun would do better by finding a comfortable bus seat and going to sleep.

R E F E R E N C E S:

  1. A. Sen, K. Arun, TRIZ and Case Study About Bus Seats, The TRIZ-journal, June 2003.