Michael Slocum The Air Seller

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

There are two ways to pitch TRIZ: demonstrate that it really solves problems or startle the potential customers with declarations that TRIZ was used in solving space, naval, military and other secretive problems. In the latter case the details of how TRIZ was actually used need not be provided. It goes without saying that they are classified. And to detract the attention of potential customers from the lack of details nice photographs of submarines, aircrafts, space station and gadgets can be demonstrated during the pitch.

Michael Slocum prefers the second approach. His latest article "TRIZ: Solving Problems in Outer and Inner Space" is full with nice photographs of submarines and ... unsubstantiated claims about use of TRIZ:

  1. "TRIZ was used to create solutions for assembly of PMA". - How was it used ? Slocum does not elaborate.
  2. "TRIZ helped develop assembly techniques that protected the pieces in place during the addition of others." - How did it help ? Slocum does not elaborate.
  3. "Another space station component that benefited from the TRIZ methodology was the utility rail. The utility rail is the electro-mechanical device that interconnects each module of the assembled space station. Power and signal are distributed through the utility rails throughout the station. A number of issues were resolved in the utility rail system. Astronauts need to be able to assemble various connector configurations in space. In order to make this process achievable, despite the demands posed by the extra-vehicular environment (EVA), an innovative insertion and locking mechanism was needed. TRIZ was used to solve this problem a reliable interlock while minimizing EVA assembly difficulty." - But how was TRIZ used to solve this problem ? Slocum does not elaborate.
  4. "A positive mate marker was required for rotational connection devices. This marker was placed on the device using paint. The paint, however, deteriorated when exposed to diatomic oxygen. TRIZ and robust design were used to create an innovative solution and to optimize the application method." - But how? - Slocum does not elaborate
  5. Etc.
The only thing which Slocum elaborates on is that now he is with Air Academy Associates ! I do not know what these guys are about but judging by Michael Slocum they better call themselves "Luft Gescheft1 Associates". Anyway, thanks for nothing, Mr. Slocum !


1 German term for "air business". It is when a very slick salesman tries to sell you a lot of nothing, while convincing you that you have bought something.