Dear Mr. Truyen T. Tran,

It was with great interest that I read your insightful letter in the Anti TRIZ-Journal. Certainly I am not qualified to answer most of your questions, yet, being a TRIZ novice with a few completed successful projects utilizing TRIZ, I would like to offer a few comments.

  1. TRIZ is not a science yet. And even if so, it is rather empirical than theoretical science. Compare to, say, mechanics of materials. Here, we have mathematical formulas derived based first on experiments, results of which were later described using math equations. With enough experimental data and associated equations one can start theoretical manipulations to derive some relationships first, then conduct experiments to validate new equations. I don't see TRIZ has reached this point yet.
  2. In my opinion, the very idea of reducing creative process to a cookbook format is a suspect. As you pointed out, one must correctly approximate a situation in hand to, say, contradiction table parameters. Thus, thinking by analogy. In my experience, this is an art rather than science. Certainly teachable, but like with any other art form, to become a true artist takes talent, otherwise you get a journeyman. I suspect this is one of the main reasons the TRIZ field is rather weak at this time.
  3. By the same token, the main postulates of TRIZ may and can be used across every field of human activity - Ideality and Contradiction are inherent attributes of any system, be it mechanical, electrical, political or economic. However, analysis of system's strive for ideality invoke the notion of "The survival of the fittest". It would a mistake to consider fewer than complete number of attributes. For example, BETA video format, although technically superior, lost to VHS format mainly because VHS enjoyed much better financed marketing campaign.
  4. By observation and having worked with a number of TRIZ practitioners I learned that any innovation may be described as a result of TRIZ application. In reality, the process of innovation is much more complex than that. Every individual uses, in addition to any problem solving tool, own experiences and abilities. These characteristics vary in the infinitely wide range.

Of course, my comments are based on my experience and vision and are subject to disagreements and arguments.

In conclusion, I wish you great accomplishments in TRIZ application to software development


Mark G. Barkan, Ph.D.
Certified TRIZ Specialist
Concept Catalysts