TRIZ Philosophy

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

Larry Ball recently posted "TRIZ philosophy" on www.opensourcetriz.com. His essay illuminated the lack of knowledge of the real TRIZ philosophy by many TRIZ practitioners, which, nevertheless, aspire (as Larry Ball) to be TRIZ theorists. I will analyze his views in a separate article. But here I only want to give an introduction to the true TRIZ philosophy.

Assumptions on which Altshuller built TRIZ were as follows:

    1. Technical systems are advancing through inventions.
    2. There exist objective laws of advancement of technical systems.
    3. Those inventions are successful (and become innovations), which are in accord with these laws. Inventions that push a system away from the path of its advancement dictated by the laws, cannot become innovations and end up in the garbage heap of history.
    1. In the past inventors chose the directions of improvement of a system randomly. They took into account the trials made by their predecessors, though. With emergence of TRIZ the opportunity for the directed advancement of technical systems has opened up.
    2. The psychological studies of inventors' thinking are meaningless. There are no laws of talented thinking. That inventor is talented whose thinking is in accord with the objective laws of advancement of technical systems. To discover the secrets of a talented thinking one should not study talented people but should study the laws of advancement of the systems, which these people try to advance.
    1. Although there is seemingly infinite number of different inventor's problems, there is a finite number of possible generic solutions.
    2. These generic solutions (as well as the laws of technical systems' advancement) can be discovered by extracting large arrays of non-trivial inventions from the patent databases and analyzing these inventions.
    1. There are no universal principles of talented thinking, which psychologists seek. The principles differ from field to field because systems differ from field to field. Systems that mathematicians deal with are not the same as inventors deal with and are not the same as composers deal with, etc. Each art has its own systems and its own laws of their advancement.
    2. The principles of TRIZ are not applicable beyond engineering. To create a TRIZ-like theories for solving scientist's problems, composer's problems, manager's problems, etc. one has to start from scratch and accomplish the same work as was done for creation of TRIZ. Namely, he/she has to accumulate large arrays of various non-trivial solutions to problems in a particular field, analyze these solutions, discover laws of advancement of systems pertinent to this field, etc.
    3. Only after many special theories of so-and-so problems solving will have been created, the opportunity will open up for creating a general theory of creativity.