A proof of the eternal relevance of 40 principles of invention

Y. B. Karasik,
Thought Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.

The June 2003 issue of the TRIZ-journal presents a peculiar paper "SARS and 40 Principles For Eliminating Technical Contradictions: Creative Singapore" by Iouri Belski, Len Kaplan, Vladimir Shapiro, Leonid Vaner, Wong Peng Wai. The authors state that their objective is investigation of whether or not 40 principles are still relevant.

The need in such a research stems from the fact that 40 principles were formulated by Altshuller almost 40 years ago. Hence, one may suspect that they might have become outdated by now.

Prof. Belski et al. purports to show that this is not the case. To this end, they analyze the measures taken by Singapore in fighting SARS and indicate that the measures manifest 21 of 40 principles.

Here is how Prof. Belski et al. prove the relevance of, for example, Segmentation principle. The Singapore authorties won the fight with SARS. In so doing, they, amongst other, segmented isolation wards in hospitals. Hence, segmentation principle is still relevant (since resulted in success in fighting SARS) !

Time and again Prof. Belski et al. invoke the same syllogism to prove the relevance of other principles:
Some actions of Singapore in fighting SARS can be viewed as application of principle X; These actions combined allowed Singapore to overwhelm SARS; Hence principle X is still relevant.

One may wonder why they did not try to go further. For example, to prove the eternal relevance of 40 principles along the same lines. Indeed, why to bother with SARS and Singapore. Let them consider cooking. It will always be successful. When cooking, one applies many of 40 principles. Hence, they will always be relevant !

Since, the afore-mentioned authors missed the golden opportunity of proving the eternal relevance of 40 principles, let us take credit for this and elaborate a little bit more on the proposed scheme. When cooking, one separates ingredients for the first meal, from the ingredients for the second meal, etc. Separation is a particular case of segmentation principle. Hence, it will always be relevant ! Well, as long as mankind exists and cooks, of course.

Next principle: Taking out (Detachment). While cooking, one often detach bones from meat. Hence, "Taking out" principle will always be relevant !

Next principle: Combining. Well, one combine a lot of ingredients while cooking. Hence, this principle will always be relevant too !

Etc. Etc. Etc. We leave it to the readers as an exercise to figure out which of 40 principles can be proved to be eternally relevant based on just the cooking syllogism. Please send us your results !