Dear Mr. Karasik:

Last summer, I took a TRIZ course taken with Victor Fey at Wayne State University in Detroit. I have also had many conversations with Nikolai Khomenko from Toronto. I have been a student and a leader in creative problem solving for near 25 years. I use Value Analysis in my work and this method, I read, has some connection with TRIZ. My background is in the social sciences. I am interested in TRIZ because of it's systematic nature and I would like to find a way to apply TRIZ principles in solving human problems: resolving conflict, improving relationships and so forth. I did some writing on this after I completed Victor's course. However, since I don't have a physics and enginnering background, it is hard for me to practice and develop my new knowledge and skills. I am mostly interested in using the power of TRIZ to solve social and human problems. ...
I would appreciate any assistance you can give to help me find other people who want to work with me to develop this model....

Paul Rousseau.

On The Potential Of Developing A “Real” TRIZ Approach To Solving Human Problems

Paul Rousseau,
PRAXIS Associates,
Windsor, Canada

Weak attempts have been made to solve human type problems using TRIZ. Most of these efforts have been to apply the 76 solutions to human problems. For example, if your employees are always fighting, you separate them in space and/or in time. The core of TRIZ is the analysis, the discovery of the conflict and the contradictions, to describe the relationship between energy and substance. TRIZ also provides a theory of technological evolution. Human “energy” is hard to define as “it” is shaped by so many factors, like self-concept, value, beliefs, personal history and so on. Consequently, it is hard to apply physics principles to human problems. The TRIZ notion of “tool”, as the substance that channels energy to act on an object can be more easily ‘replicated’ with human problems. Rules, norms, laws, procedures, traditions can be looked on as tools that affect behaviour (object). ] Finally, these is a model called Spiral Dynamics (SD) that holds some promise of providing a theory of social evolution. SD grew out of the work of Clare Graves, a contemporary of A. Maslow, who was interested in operationalzing Maslow’s idea of ‘self actualization.” Graves wrote: “The first change in psychological thought is that we are discarding the concept of man as a pain avoiding, pleasure-seeking creature. We no longer accept that the reason why man behaves is to free himself from tension, to find a life without stress. A tentative statement of what we now believe is - that man seeks to build up tension because its subsequent release provides him what he desires. What man wants out of life is to expend the energies that arise within him as a result of the problems of being alive, because it is expending energy that gives meaning to his life. But to comprehend this new formulation of why man behaves, it is necessary to know that sometimes man becomes so confused in respect to what he thinks he wants, existence without tension, that he goes overboard. When he goes overboard, he does such things as try to maintain the status quo, resist changes, and the like. Man falls into this errant way of living particularly when he is operating at lower Levels of Human Existence, a phrase referring to a conception of how man behaves which is the second change in psychological thinking, which we need to examine before we look more deeply into your fourth and fifth generation problems.” "Levels of Human Existence and Their Relation to Value Analysis and Engineering," paper presented to the Fifth Annual Value Analysis Conference The notion here is that people are drawn to emptiness, “that man seeks to build up tension because its subsequent release provides him what he desires.”
TRIZ promotes the notion of “intensifying the conflict.” Perhaps this is a key first step of “TRIZifying” human problem solving.
Modifying TRIZ for Social/Relationship Problems
The first step in ARIZ is to identify the function. This is also part of ideality. Perhaps this is a good place to start building a theory for solving relationship problems using TRIZ tools.
Identify Function
Structural Functionalism has a long tradition in sociology. It is based on doing sociological analysis of the functions being carried out by social institutions. For example, the function of marriage is to:

promote commitment
establish stability
regulate sexual behavior

and so on.
Let’s focus on the function of “promote commitment.’ The current "tools" (rules, rewards, policies) that act on human behaviour in order to carry out the function of “promote commitment” include:: public declaration of the decision build a life together financial rewards in the form of gifts and dowries financial punishment when ending relationships
System Conflict
Committing to a relationship supports long term relationships, but challenges the values of individualism. Another conflict is that humans (especially men) are polyamorous and marriage makes them monogamous. What this means is that evolutionarily speaking, men “spread the seed” and women are seeking the best from the gene pool and are prone to seek a number of partners. In addition, with the separation of sex and procreation made possible by birth control technology, the idea of having many partners (tempered somewhat by the threat of AIDS) becomes more attractive. Thus there are many potential conflicts that can be formulated using TRIZ models.
Intensify the Conflict
Forcing long term commitment greatly increases the chances of long term relationships, but denies individual expression and personal growth. Life long commitment guarantees the end of divorce, but forces people to live lives outside the institution of marriage. (The analogy here my be prohibition of alcohol consuption in the US in the 1930’s)
Analysis (cushape analysis...instead of sufield analysis)
The CUSHAPE model is a first attempt to gain the benefits of the Sufield Analysis model for human problems. The components are:
The four parts of the model are:
1. Energy : kinetic energy, the id, libido, muscles, potential energy stored in the body, internal images as represented in people’s minds
2. Cultural Beliefs: traditions, convention, expecations, rules, laws (shared values as describe in the Spiral Dynamics Model.(see
3. Personal Belief’s: creative interpretations of cultural beliefs, variations of cultural beliefs styatem
4. Behaviour: (individual and group)
Thus, the expression of energy is:
• shaped personal beliefs, valued, self concept and skills
• shaped by cultural/group rules, conventions, traditions, laws and so on
…..results in the act of marriage (observable behavior of exchanging vows and so on.)
The problem is specifying the cost of losing individual growth potential by making a long term commitment. The idea solution is to have both long term commitment and individual growth potential.
Shapers: alternate rules (generated or adopted)
Energy: food, compelling images, exercise, drugs
Environment: state of religion, economy, legal structures
Social Contradiction
People are encouraged to be their own person and then are told to join someone else and become one.
1. Modification of a Cultural Beliefs: Would be hard to do in the short term- could be long term strategy:
2. Modification of the environment: reduce need for long term economic dependency relationships thus freeing people to experiment with new kinds of relationships
3. Modification of the object in the Conflict Domain: ?
4. Modification of the overall system: political change
The Challenge
My understanding (from conversations with Nikolai Khomenko) that the basis model from which the sufield model is this:
Something (S), a subject acts (A) on something (O) and object.
Technically, one should be able to do an analysis with human problems. The big challenge is specifying the energy field, and to consider the possibility of alternative energy fields. Perhaps there are various chemical energy fields like testosterone and oxytocin; maybe thermal energy is a factor (as studies of the impact of temperature on group behaviour have hinted at).
The second challenge is the development of a theory of personal (psychology) and social (anthropolocy-sociology) evolution. I believe that a good strating point for this is Graves and the subsequent Spiral Dynamics model.
In TRIZ we have tools (substances0 like hammers that act on other substances like nails fulfilling the functions of connection materials. In humans systems we also have "tools" that I am calling "shapers" things that shape expressions of energy, and result in behaviour.
The Next Step
Obviously, there is a lot more work to be done to develop a TRIZ model useful for solving human and social problems. I am looking for to work with me to develop this model. I am only interested in working with people who are use TRIZ and have a sensitivity to human and social problems.
Contact me at: