TRIZ RING: should or should not TRIZ become a science ?
(Genady Filkovsky vs. Yevgeny Karasik)

TRIZ is not a science. Moreover, some of its concepts cannot be even taken seriously. For example, the subdivision of all inventions into five levels. However, there are two views on TRIZ:
1) TRIZ should evolve into a science (become scientifically founded) or face eventual rejection;
2) TRIZ does not have to be a science. It is just a heuristic system that should not and cannot be scientifically founded.

In the present issue of "THE TRIZ RING", the first view is defended by Y. Karasik and the other one by G. Filkovsky.

GF: During the last few years it has happened several times that some TRIZniks (I don't remember all their names, to mention only some would be unfair) have sent to me their "scientific" or "analytical" writings and asked for my opinion, advise, suggestions, etc. Time and again I've tried to have a serious discussion and analysis just to discover soon, how shallow their analytical skills are, how short a logical chain they are capable of maintaining is (2-3 steps maximum), and how little do they know about science and analysis. Many discussions have ended by them saying, "but it works!", which, it seems, suppose to be an ultimate proof for anything. That's disgusting.

In my opinion, TRIZ evolved as a teaching discipline to make "dumb" engineers into problem solvers and to help good engineers to be better problem solvers, and as such it doesn't need to be a science. Like Stanislavsky's system for actors. Altshuller was not interested in science, or even had an understanding of what it is about.

YK:I disagree with such a vision of TRIZ history. Altshuller used to tell that he initially wished to invent a method of invention to bolster his own art of invention. In the course of time, his goals evolved. In the 1970s he already spoke about a science of invention. I never heard that his initial (or primary) goal was converting "dumb" engineers into problem solvers.

Regarding whether or not Altshuller had an understanding of what science is about, one cannot deny that TRIZ was created by research. He analyzed numerous inventions, tried to find similarities, classify them. Is it not what scientists in other sciences do? Searching for regularities in apparent chaos, classifying, etc. Was Altshuller's research scientific enough ? Definitely not. However, this fact is not a basis for claims that TRIZ does not have to be a science.

In my opinion, there is no point in comparing TRIZ to Stanislavsky's system. The latter is static whereas TRIZ is an evolving discipline. If one wants to find parallels to TRIZ, the art of construction would be a better choice.

For thousands years starting with Egyptians, construction was not a science. But eventually it had to become scientifically founded if people wanted to build ever complex buildings.

The same is true for TRIZ. If it is a static system (in the sense Stanislavsky's system is), then it need not be a science. But if it is an ever evolving, improving, and expanding system, then it either has to die or become scientifically founded.

GF:Agree. It has to die. As an attempt to be a science, that is.

As for Altshuller's research, I have many doubts about it. To start with, I doubt the numbers (e.g. 35000 analyzed inventions). Moreover, all Altshuller had in the 60's as a result of this research was, a 39X39 table of "technical contradictions", a list of 40 random "inventive tricks", and a guide of using these two, the "algorithm".

Regarding the art of construction, in my terminology, it was not and it is not a science. Mechanics, physics of materials, meteorology, etc., are sciences and the art of construction takes (hopefully) them into account. Some of these sciences, i.e. knowledge, Egyptians have had and have used. Modern engineers have and use more of it, that's all.

YK:Mechanics, Resistance of materials, etc. sprang out of attempts to put a scientific foundation under the art of construction/engineering. Initially they were not separate disciplines. I do not mind if the attempts to put a scientific foundation under TRIZ will result in emerging some new sciences. Then we may not be calling TRIZ science per se. But the terminology does not matter for me. What matters is that it will be scientifically founded.

(TO BE CONTINUED. DON'T GO AWAY !)