Do the TRIZ specialists of Samsung know TRIZ in-depth ?

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

Mi Jeong Song et al.1 of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) proposed some improvements to TRIZ [1,2]. Analysis of these improvements reveals their dubious nature and raises doubts about whether Samsung's TRIZ specialists know TRIZ in-depth at all.

To start with, they complain that classical TRIZ is poor at transition from "the initial situation" to problems to solve. Correct. It is beyond the scope of classical TRIZ. But do they propose a "logic" that bridges this gap, as they claim ? Not at all. Their "logic" starts with "needs analysis": do we need to solve this problem, etc. ? In other words, candidate problems have already emerged somehow. The only what is required at this stage is to select the right problem to solve. This is the purpose of "needs analysis". But the main question of how to extract problems from the ambiguous initial situation remains unanswered, contrary to Mi Jeong Song et al. claim. Thus, nothing was added to TRIZ in this respect.

Since after "needs analysis" problems are formulated in too generic terms, in the form of wishes and directions in which to go, there is a need in converting these wishes into the real engineering problems. To this end ARIZ suggests to find a prototype that best approximates the wishes (see e.g. step 2.1 of ARIZ-71). And what do Leniashin et al. propose ? Exactly the same ! But they call it "benchmarking prototype system". Not a big achievement.

Since prototype just approximates the wishes, there are undesired effects in it that precludes it from being 100% fit. Naturally, root cause analysis is invoked to zoom in on the engineering problem per se. Although root cause analysis is not a part of classical TRIZ, it was added to it by other researchers long time ago.

After root cause analysis is done, the pool of the underlying potential engineering problems to solve is eventually identified. And it is the right time to start applying TRIZ to solve them. But no ! Leniachine et al. press on in pursuit of technical contradictions. Why ? It looks like they believe that TRIZ stipulates that technical contradiction has to be found first. Strange !

Should they have taken a peek into any ARIZ beginning ARIZ-71, they would have noticed that identification of technical contradiction follows by attempts to solve problem with the help of IFR and resolving physical contradiction ! Why ? Exactly in order to prevent the mistakes Leniachine et al. made in their articles.

What do they propose ? To try and apply a "transition action" A to eliminate undesired function B. Needless to say that there can be many "transition actions" that eliminate undesired function. Which one to chose ? By trials and errors ? And what is to be considered to be an error in this case ? The fact that application of A eliminates B but creates a new undesired effect C ? Certainly. But Mi Jeong Song et al. do not think so. For them such unsuccessful trial (B disappears but C appears) is a way to formulate technical contradiction ! It is not what ARIZ means, however.

In ARIZ the proper "transition action" that eliminates B is not guessed but searched for with the help of formulating IFR, followed by identifying physical contradiction, followed by its resolution (steps 2.3 through 3.8 of ARIZ-71, for example). Only if resolution of physical contradiction fails to produce the ideal "transition action" (that eliminates B and does not create new undesired effect C), the search for solution proceeds to formulating technical contradiction (steps 5.1 through 5.7 of ARIZ-71, for example). Such technical contradiction is formulated exactly as Mi Jeong Song proposes: application of "transition action" eliminates B but creates C. The difference is, however, that ARIZ proposes to apply the best "transition action" found through formulating IFR and resolution of physical contradiction (and only if "action" that does not introduce new undesired effects was not found), whereas Mi Jeong Song et al. propose to apply just any "transition action" A.

It looks like Mi Jeong Song et al. never read "Algorithm of invention", are not familiar with ARIZ architecture, do not know the sequence of its steps, and did not even bother to get familiarized with them before embarking on dubious TRIZ activities at Samsung ! My bet is that they simply employ the ordinary "trials and errors" method but dupe Samsung managers by enveloping it into the TRIZ demagogy.

R E F E R E N C E S:

  1. Mi Jeong Song Ph.D., V. Leniachine, V., Sung Cheol Kim and S. Antonov, Doctor, "Hands-On Logic for Inventive Problem Solving 0. Prologue.", The October 2004 issue of the TRIZ-journal.
  2. Mi Jeong Song Ph.D., V. Leniachine, V., Sung Cheol Kim and S. Antonov, Doctor, "Hands-on Logic for Inventive Problem Solving I. Formulating Technical Contradiction from Initial Situation.", The October 2004 issue of the TRIZ-journal.

1: In the initial version of this article it was Leniachine et. al. On request of the manager of his manager, it was changed to Mi Jeong Song et al.