I’ve always been suspicious of ASIT. My gut feeling kept telling me that something was not quite right, but I couldn’t grasp that critical point. Finally, while reading Roni Horowitz’s “New Product Development Mini-Course” in November issue of The TRIZ Journal, I got it. It’s a matter of numbers!
My attention was attracted to numbers initially by the Roni’s list of highly successful – breakthroughs of their time – products, product categories and brands, on page 1. The list has 7 items! Roni looks at what’s common regarding these products. He calls it a closer look. Using his own terminology from the “13, 17, 19” puzzle discussion on page 3, I’d rather call it a narrow view of the problem world. Following his suggestion, I’m encouraged to take another, broader, look and to notice that the list has exactly SEVEN items.
Why it is important? Because SEVEN is a special number! One can easily see it: seven days in a week; seven musical notes; Seven Wonders of the World; seven cities of gold; seven swans a’ swimming; seventh heaven; “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” (by Stephen R. Covey, #1 National Bestseller of 1989)… It goes on and on. Even the Roni’s mini-course itself has seven installments.
On with numbers. The “13, 17, 19” puzzle has six numbers to be considered, and it is odd, as Roni shows in many ways. No wonder: SIX is NOT a special number!
Now, that our attention is on numbers, we have a tool to compare ASIT with TRIZ. Roni writes on page 4, that at the core of ASIT tools are six innovation patterns. This is odd! These six patterns have emerged from Roni’s historical analysis… Roni’s research indicates that most successful product innovations fit into one of these six patterns. Why SIX? What if Roni’s research has missed other patterns? What if Roni has misinterpreted a pattern and found two, where there was really one? SIX is NOT a special number, and having SIX in its basic patterns makes ASIT very suspicious.
This is different in TRIZ: TRIZ has 40 principles. Not only didn’t these 40 principles change in the last forty years, but they are found everywhere: economy, software, Singapore, Bible… No wonder: FORTY is a special number! Here is a partial list:
Forty years in the desert (Israelites). Forty days and forty nights in the desert (Jesus). Forty days on the mount (Moses). Forty days of flood. Ali Baba’s forty thieves. Life begins at forty. Forty winks. Forty is the only number whose constituent letters appear in alphabetical order. Forty is the number of 7-Queens Problem solutions (the SEVEN connection!). Minus 40 is the temperature (in degrees) at which Celsius and Fahrenheit scales are equivalent.
FORTY is a number of completeness. Having FORTY in its basic principles makes TRIZ complete and internally beautiful!