Is the TRIZ bluff economically harmless ?

Y. B. Karasik,
Thought Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

Michael Treacy, a "chief strategist" and a former management professor at MIT, gave an interview to the online magazine "CIO Insight" [1,2]. The interview represents the next level in the TRIZ bluffing as compared to that bluff, which Tsourikov et al brought to America.

He starts with a correct observation that Information Technology (IT) does not pay off (or pays off to much lesser extend than it was expected):

"Across all of information technology, there's a tightening of information systems budgets, and one can ask why. Well, one of the reasons, of course, is that across the board companies have tightened their belts because there was a recession, there was slow growth, and everybody was focused on trying to maintain profits during a slow period. But the budget belt got tightened more severely in the information systems space. We're now starting to see budgets in marketing and other places loosen, but we're not seeing the information systems budget loosen very much. Why? I think very simply because information systems has lost real credibility with the executive team in many organizations. Information systems made major investments in broad-based enterprise applications and solutions that have not paid off. ERP's impact on company performance is at best murky. CRM is a very troubled investment in that people are not seeing a return. Supply chain integration has turned out to be a very, very difficult investment to pull off. And, therefore, what we're seeing is, first and foremost, that the investments that have been made in trying to innovate how companies do business are not paying off. And that's reducing the investments being made in information systems in general."

Of course, the original architects and proponents of IT bluffed to a degree. They exagerated the impact of IT on productivity, etc. However, it became obvious not now. The specialists realized this at least 20 years ago ! Thus, Michael Treacy's revelations do not break a new ground.

Nevertheless, the king has died - long life to king ! IT turned out to be much less effective in the management than it was expected - so what ? Why would not saddle it with a bigger challenge ? Michael Treacy proposes IT to help companies to innovate ! To this end it has to embrace TRIZ ! How ? Here is his viewpoint:

"Let's say that you are a company that makes soap, just for argument's sake, and you want to innovate in the soap business. One way the information systems can play a role is, if you plot and analyze where a bar of soap is in its technical innovation today, it will point you toward, in all those different dimensions of evolution of science, where to look next for innovations in other fields that might apply to the soap business."

The above PLOTTING has to be based on the TRIZ patterns of evolution, of course:

"One of three powerful insights about TRIZ is that if you're going to innovate in any product area, you should plot where that product evolution has gotten to on the relevant trends in technology, because that basically will point you toward where the next innovations will occur, and it will substantially reduce your search for finding those next innovations."

Well, the US homeland security is scrambling to anticipate where terrorists/saboteurs may strike next. It tightens the border with Canada. It introduces fingerprinting of the foreign visitors. It is desperately searching for the sleeping cells.

Meanwhile, such people as Michael Treacy do not sleep and go unattended. Moreover, they are PLOTTING !

R E F E R E N C E S:

1. http://www.cioinsight.com/article2/0,3959,1265253,00.asp.

2. http://www.cioinsight.com/article2/0,3959,1269792,00.asp.