ON THE "CLOSED WORLD" APPROACH BY RONI HOROWITZ

Y. B. Karasik

Thought Guiding Systems Inc.
Ottawa, Canada
e-mail: karasik@sympatico.ca

Abstract: Recently, the TRIZ-journal published a paper by Roni Horowitz [1] where, inter alia, he described the so called "Closed World" technique of invention. The present article points out that this technique is by no means new and was known well before as a portion of a bigger paradigm stemming from some laws of evolution of the simplest functional system.

Train from Miami to New York has many stops on its way. But suppose that a strange passenger suddenly exclaimed:"Philadelphia is the most important stop !", - and afterwards claimed that he was even first to notice the stop in Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Roni Horowitz did something similar. His "discovery" of the so called "Closed World" condition is nothing else but a re-discovery of just one stage in systems' evolution. Not only did he not notice other stages but he did not even notice the evolution itself.

Why ? Because Dr. Horowitz learned just a small portion of TRIZ. He did not know that the simplest functional system

                     some function                                   protects
                   A -----------------------> B    (for example,  A--------------------> B)

evolves as follow [2]:

  1. initially, A and B are distinct heterogeneous objects;
  2. then A and B become homegeneous in some respect;
  3. then A and B have parts in common;
  4. then A is made of a portion of B;
  5. then A and B merge completely.

It is easy to see that aiming at stage e) is actually aiming at the Ideal Final Result, whereas aiming at stage d) is all but aiming at Horowitz's "Closed World" condition.

He is almost right that fulfilling this condition brings about extremely elegant solutions. But he is wrong in his claim that they are the most elegant ones. The most elegant are those where condition e) is fulfilled.

What distinguishes TRIZ from other techniques of invention is clear understanding that:

  1. invention is a step in a system's evolution;
  2. methods of invention are the methods of promoting such evolution;
  3. if the evolution may have stages S1, S2, ... , Sn, then a method of invention is a method of promoting a transition from some stage Si to a higher stage Sj.

What Roni Horowitz noticed is all but stating that jumping from stage a) to stage d) in evolution of the simplest functional system gives rise to extremely elegant solutions. However, he did not provide the means of doing so.

On the other hand, right was Richard Kaplan when noticed that exclusive orientation on "Closed World" condition might be too restrictive. It is because stage d) might be unreachable at present for some systems. Sometimes, even stage b) is difficult to achieve.

R E F E R E N C E S:

1. Roni Horowitz, "From TRIZ to ASIT in 4 Steps", The TRIZ-journal, August, 2001 (http://www.triz-journal.com/archives/2001/08/c/).

2. Y. B. Karasik, "Etudes about dualities", "Technology & Science" magazine, No. 3, 1980, pp. 27-28 (in Russian).