Some readers asked me who was that vice president whose letters were mentioned in the article "TRIZ as the last resort of an irrelevant boss". I have to confess that at the time of publication I did not know his exact title but guessed that he was a vice president because he mentioned that he left some work to do to a director of research. Later I learned that the author of the letters, Mel Pullen, was actually the Chief Systems Architect.
The company was Symbian Software Ltd. headquartered in London, United Kingdom.
Below is the complete text of the letters.
Subject: distance course on TRIZ
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 17:16:02 +0000
I was led to your web site by your critique of Darrell Mann's articles. I am just starting to learn about TRIZ because I realised there had to be some systematic way that we, as a company, can improve our level of innovation.
I was interested in knowing more about your introduction to TRIZ course, please.
Subject: Re: distance course on TRIZ
Date: Jan 02, 2007 23:30
Dear Mr. Pullen,
thanks for your interest.
Just 2 questions for the beginning:
1)what led you to believe that TRIZ would improve your level of innovation ?
2) why do you want to take my course rather than that of Darrell Mann ?
Subject: Re: distance course on TRIZ
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 09:33:08 +0000
A number of years ago an external consultant pointed me to the TRIZ journal web site. I did not take any notice until late last year. I have been trying to get a research division established within our company and realised that we were inexperienced in the management and practice of innovation. We have a director of research so I left the management to him and the newly appointed Research Manager.
I decided to look into the practice of innovation. I discovered TRIZ and ordered some books for the library. I have been reading 'and suddenly the inventor appeared'. Although I am learning from this, and will do a short presentation at a forthcoming internal seminar, I still think we need to explore all the avenues for developing our practice of research. Reading about TRIZ makes realise that research is not simply about 'trying different things' or 'thinking up a good idea'.
However software is a strange discipline. It is changing. I realise that software companies have concentrated on the wrong part of the development process. Someone else pointed out that software writing is a bit like the construction phase of a civil engineering project, yet in civil engineering that is just a short, later, phase in the project plan. So now I need to do research in how software is made and how quality levels are raised and maintained.
I read (in the TRIZ Journal) that there are some articles about software engineering, I don't know if TRIZ can be applied to our problems, and so I need to learn about it.
To answer your second question. I haven't decided who to use for training. It won't be my decision. It will involve a number of factors. Cost and availability will be factors that we can assess. Suitability and quality are factors that we cannot assess. We can only go on recommendation for the factors that we cannot assess. So, Darrell Mann has not been rejected.
Your opinions do indicate that there is a 'bandwagon' effect in current TRIZ consulting. Is it fair to say that TRIZ is some checklists and some insights? However many management consultants and personal effectiveness trainers will use plagiarised material and make a good living. So it is difficult to know if there a point in investigating TRIZ in terms of training or just to have some presentations and leave it up to individual engineers to do something about it.