TRIZ RING: Larry Ball versus Yevgeny Karasik

In the previous issue of Anti TRIZ-journal, Yevgeny Karasik posted some critique [1] of Larry Ball's article [2] published in the March 2002 issue of the TRIZ-journal. The controversy ensued and here are its most relevant excerpts.

LARRY BALL: I read your critique. I, for one, do not mind critique. However, I would like to hear an alternative approach to describing the modification if you have one.

Y. KARASIK: My critique indicates that there is not one but many longhand modifications for a single shorthand.

LARRY BALL: I agree that there are many. Are you suggesting that since there are many ways to describe it in longhand form that the longhand form is not useful in any context?

Y. KARASIK:The quick answer to your question is this: it is useful but insufficient.

A more elaborate answer to your question is more subtle. The spectrum of the solutions to a problem one can arrive at, is the function of the depth of the physical modeling of the system. If the modelling is too superficial, then one will end up with trivial solutions or no solution at all. On the other hand, if it is too deep, then one may run out of the physical options available at the moment with the current state of the art.

That is why the superficial model "A heats/cools B" may give rise to no solution at all. Whereas, a deeper description "A changes the temperature of B", may already open up the way to some solution. On the other hand, an even more deeper description: "A changes the distance between the molecules of B" may give rise to even better solution, etc.

There is no limit to the depth of the physical description. But starting with some depth, solutions may be unimplementable given the state of the art.

Thus, the problem with the longhand actions is how to choose that of them which is deep enough to guarantee a breakthrough solution and how to avoid going too deep where there is no solution at present.

You proposed no mechanism of choosing a longhand action of the correct depth. More precisely, you proposed to choose the most shallow longhand action such as, for example, "A changes the temperature of B". Such the most shallow longhand action may turn out to be no more useful than the shorthand one in searching for a solution to a problem.

HENCE, WITHOUT THE MECHANISM OF CHOOSING THE LONGHAND ACTION OF THE CORRECT DEPTH, THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF "SHORTHAND" AND "LONGHAND" IS NOT VERY USEFUL.

Hope, I answered your question.

LARRY BALL: I agree with your assessment that no "MECHANISM OF CHOOSING THE LONGHAND ACTION TO THE CORRECT DEPTH" is given. I have not heard of any such mechanism. If you are aware of the one, please enlighten me. I would be delighted to hear it.

Y. KARASIK: This is a part of my research which presently cannot be disclosed.

LARRY BALL: The mechanism is...AVAILABILITY OR ABUNDANCE OF RESOURCES to deliver the modification. Thanks for the clue. ...

LARRY BALL (next day): By the way, sorry about that last quick response about available resources. Maybe I should pose it as a question rather than an answer....

R E F E R E N C E S:

1. Y. Karasik, "The First Remark on the Larry Ball's Breakthrough Thinking", Anti TRIZ-journal, Vol 1, No. 2

2. Larry Ball, "Users Manual for Breakthrough Thinking" (Supplement), the March 2002 issue of the TRIZ-journal.