Two harms of TRIZ commercialization: the duped customers and killed TRIZ research

From the very beginning, Altshuller portrayed ARIZ (and then TRIZ) as a powerful tool of solving inventors' problems, which turns dumb engineers into creative engineers, etc. TRIZ commercials were the same in the 1950s (when there was nothing in ARIZ except IFR and the notion of technical contradictions), in the 1960s (when the more or less comprehensive list of inventors' principles was compiled and a fledged contradiction matrix appeared), in the 1970s (when physical contradictions, separation principles, SuField analysis, the Standard solutions, and the directory of physical effects and phenomena were added), in the 1980s, in the 1990s, and now. Not much changed in pitching TRIZ over 60 years. Arguments are almost the same. And this fact alone better than anything else reveals the wishful thinking of the TRIZ propaganda.

Why did Altshuller start all this bru-ha-ha which paved the way to the present days' incessant commercialization of TRIZ all over the world ? Why did not he quietly conduct research, accumulated results and published them in scientific journals without attaching to them the label of a magic tool ? The answer lies in Altshuller's biography and in the nature of TRIZ research. Altshuller never graduated from any university and could not be recognized as a scientist by the scientific community. Moreover, his research broke a new ground and no scientific journal was suitable for publication of TRIZ results. On the other hand, he was a science fiction writer and needed an agiotage around TRIZ to facilitate publishing articles in popular science journals and books on TRIZ.

Moreover, systematic rejection caused him to see himself as a messiah. And messiah needs crowds of followers all over the places, "a movement" as they say in Russia. That is why he fostered creation of TRIZ schools all over the USSR and supported people that tried to apply TRIZ at the workplace. That was the beginning of the TRIZ commercialization. In the conditions of USSR it was a harmless commercialization. It cost nothing (or almost nothing) to the state run enterprises. For the rare exceptions TRIZ practitioners did not make any money from it and were paid for their other duties. The only person who was making money on TRIZ was Altshuller himself, who was paid honorariums for books, articles and presentations. No wonder that TRIZ research did not suffer from such a commercialization.

Decades of the effort to set up a "movement" produced the army of TRIZ practitioners and simply TRIZ fans in the USSR. Not surprisingly, therefore, that when USSR collapsed and all these hordes of TRIZ believers moved to the US, Western Europe and Israel they easily drew attention to TRIZ just due to their shere numbers and amount of noise they created. Armed with the top notch TRIZ propaganda developed by Altshuller and fine tuned by him over decades, they quickly conquered the hearts and minds of many executives of capitalistic enterprises. As a result the capitalist style commercialization of TRIZ took off. TRIZ consultants started making money, not researchers. It became silly to publish any new research results because they momentarily got plagiarized by consultants and sold to their clients. (Anti TRIZ-journal felt it first hand on the examples of its research articles and new ideas.)

The shameless inflation of TRIZ achievements and extolling its power has began. The recent article and the followed up discussion in Business Week is a good example. Prof. Tim Schweizer, claimed that "many of the products people use today were developed or improved using TRIZ". Richard Langevin of "Technical Innovation Center" asserted that "TRIZ is the best kept secret to providing quality solutions to a host of technical and nontechnical problems." "Oxford Creativity" went even further and converted Altshuller's claim that "TRIZ turns dumb engineers into creative engineers" into a shameless slogan that "TRIZ turns good engineers into great engineers". Strangely enough but many executives believe these embellishments and deploy TRIZ in their organizations in hope that it will both make the corporate idlers productive and substitute the talented engineers (which are always a sore in the eyes of management and are terminated first in downturns).

Meanwhile, TRIZ is nothing more than an immature technology, which needs a further research and not commercialization. Those who consume immature products are more likely to get poisoned than cured. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to kill the sophisticated TRIZ propaganda developed back in the USSR by Altshuller that easily lends TRIZ to commercialization. Anti TRIZ-journal sees it as one of its missions.