TRIZ is the Russain acronym for The Theory of Inventive Problems Solving (TIPS is its English acronym). TRIZ was conceived and mostly developed by the living in USSR (1926-1998) Inventor, Scientist, and Writer of the Jewish origin GENRICH SAULOVICH ALTSHULLER.
He started with an obvious observation that problem-solving is always accompanied by pondering NOT ONE BUT MANY POSSIBLE APPROACHES TO SOLUTION although a small number of them turn out to be suitable. But here, where other people saw the harsh inevitability, Altshuller saw a challenge: to find a magic way to cut off erroneous trials.
The other people invented the means of increasing the number of trials (e.g. brain storming) or of speeding up their analysis (e.g. by involving a computer), but Altshuller swam against the stream: neither computers are needed, nor empty trials generators. The mankind needs a magic tool that would enable inventors to immediately jump to the zone of a solution regardless of the difficulty of a problem.
It is impossible, - told professors, gapers, home makers, and personally comrade Stalin and put him to GULAG. And still it is possible, - Altshuller continued to insist, - Look, it is simple. There is nothing new under the Moon. All problems were once solved already. All you need is to recognize your problem in a previously solved one and -- hurrah! -- you have a ready made solution. It should work almost always - he said,- because really new problems and really new solutions happen very rarely.
You need to find such a classification of inventive problems that would allow you to say for sure that if two problems belong to the same class, then their solutions are identical. As soon as such a classification is found, and a typical solution for every class is identified, solving inventive problems becomes an easy game: you identify what class your problem belongs to, and apply the corresponding typical solution.
Next fourty years Altshuller spent in search for such a magic classification. Initially (in 1946 when he started the work), he placed much hope upon the classification based on the so called technical contradictions.
Each inventive problem - he taught, - is inventive only because there is a contradiction between some parameters of a current technology. For example, you may gain in productivity but loose in accuracy, or gain in reliability but loose in price, etc. Inventions, due to Altshuller, are aimed at eliminating such technical contradictions.
He believed that:
Based on such assumptions, Altshuller proposed a contradiction matrix as a tool of classifying and solving inventive problems. The matrix became the core of Altshuller's Inventive Problems Solving Algorithm widely known by its Russian acronim ARIZ.
Later Altshuller invented other classification schemes: SuField Analysis, The Standard Inventive Solutions of a High Level, etc.
Y. B. Karasik, a former student of Altshuller and the author of several key concepts in TRIZ, offers a tutorial on TRIZ. Details are available upon request: firstname.lastname@example.org