Monday, October 09, 2006


TRIZ Futures conference in Belgium

Hello from Kortrijk, Belgium, home of the 2006 TRIZ Futures meeting, presented by ETRIA, the European TRIZ Association. Kortrijk is a small city, 3 changes of train from the Brussels airport (for me—some made it in 2) chosen because of the support of the university and Kortrijk’s reputation as a design and innovation center.

Monday morning had tutorial sessions—Val Kraev presented the “advanced” session on ARIZ, and Jack Hipple presented the beginner session. Both had interactive, interested audiences.

The afternoon started with Valeri Souchkov’s announcement that Gaetano Cascini of the University of Florence has been elected new president of ETRIA. Gaetano started by thanking the founders of ETRIA, and describing the new initiatives in expanding the promotion of the scientific basis of TRIZ, and to start new tracks of knowledge of industrial application. Denis Cavallucci gave a brief farewell address, challenging the new administration to advance both the science of TRIZ and the applications.

Gaetano summarized the participation:
27 countries, 120 participants, 49 total papers, 22 papers from Europe, from 90 submittals.

Joost Duflou, scientific chair of conference from University of Leuven, spoke more about the expansion of the scientific, academic side of ETRIA, and he joked about being the perfect organization to deal with the contradiction of wanting the academic and the practical aspects of TRIZ to both be strengthened.

Keynote speaker: Aleksey Pinyayev from Procter and Gamble spoke on the evolution of Altshuller’s principles, which he pointed out are the best-known but also most controversial tool of TRIZ. He summarized the history, from Edison’s lists of recommendations, through Altshuller’s matrix, to Matrix 2003 (Mann, Dewulf, Zlotin and Zusman). The system of operators in Ideation’s software system is a grouping of principles by function. Simon Litwin added new structure through the use of questions and answers based on the physical contradictions. Now, his system organizes the principles by the functions that they perform, or that they enhance. Aleksey presented a P&G-type example of ultrasonic bonding of continuous roll material. Need 3-local quality and 20-continuity of action to satisfy “we want continuous bonding” but “we want it only in specific areas.” Two different functional requirements—roll reflects vibrations in the boding area and enhances bonding, but function in other areas is to absorb the vibrations and prevent bonding. Need a principle which helps absorb vibrations, #31 porous materials. Final roller is steel in the absorbing area, porous or rubber or both in the absorbing areas. NEW APPROACH: Use the principles as function resources. Define the function needed, then go looking for a principle that gives you the function.

Last step, functional groups. Case study: Residential window cleaning example using spray and paper towel wiping.
Start with function diagram of roles of contaminant, Windex, paper towel, air, etc. Chemistry dissolves contaminant and releases it from the glass. General diagram is Object performs 2 actions on subject. General solution –change to object performing 2 actions by means of 2 objects. So optimize one for dissolving and one for removing, instead of doing both in one. Now the contradiction is with perfect releaser, don’t need to dissolve; with perfect dissolver, don’t need to release. But that’s ok—dissolve, reform coating, cracks when it dries, blow away. Fourteen functional models become the basic templates for all problems, replacing complexity of 40. This paper will be very interesting to BOTH the users of the 40 principles, who find the matrix to be an inadequate guide to choice of principles, and to those who avoid the use of the 40 principles, and we look forward to publishing it in the TRIZ Journal.
There were 2 parallel afternoon sessions “Scientific” and “practitioner” but it appears that the differentiation was in the origin of the presenters, not in the subject matter. I participated in the practioner session, but the TRIZ Journal has made arrangements with ETRIA to reprint papers from all the sessions over the next several months. My remarks here are limited to the papers that I heard.

Valeri Souchkov presented the application of his Root Cause Analysis methodology to TRIZ for business. He gave good examples of the extension of the concepts of contradiction to business (nothing new—see previous papers by me, Boris Zlotin, Darrell Mann, and others, but nice examples.) New: the 5 levels of solutions expanded to the business environment, and some re-statement of the technical levels, to make it easier to see how to explain the levels. Case study: handheld electronic test device—customers loved the functionality but objected to the price. Val introduced a ranking method, similar to nominal group technique, and his root cause analysis method, similar to the current situation tree in TOC, that together are very powerful in revealing the problem that needs to be solved, that will make the other problems go away.

Note: Val is the lead editor of the new Casebook on TRIZ that I will be working on. See the call for papers, and send us your comments as well as submissions!

Dr. Manabu Sawaguchi from Sanno Institute in Japan (and a frequent TRIZ Journal author and friend from many past conferences) spoke on “The Potentiality of TRIZ in Management of Technology Field” based on a year-long questionnaire survey study that he has done with design and production companies. 100 participants in Management of Technology seminars answered 9 questions, 4 on demographics, 5 on the issues within the companies. Contradictions emerged: companies are very strongly committed to new technology development, but they have low confidence in their ability to introduce new technology into successful products. Likewise, there was high evaluation of quality management, manufacturing capability, and brand image, and low evaluation of new product development systems. ISM-Interpretive Structural Modeling- is a statistical summary of cause and effect data which was used for analysis of the root causes of the weakness in product development, which revealed the important relationship between the availability of education for engineers, innovative power, and the structure of new product development. The survey of use of techniques showed a high of 47 for QC, 27 for Value engineering, 20 for QFD, and only 3 for TRIZ. For creativity, 74 were familiar with brainstorming, 39 with checklist, 28 with KJ (affinity method) and 6 with TRIZ. Sawaguchi concluded that the next steps in MOT programs will be the management of innovation, focused on making engineers more creative. The past 2 generations of discipline, cost consciousness (gen. 1) and customer/environmental orientation (gen. 2) were successful, predicting future success! Audience discussion: how many companies, whether this is good news?
Anja-Karina Pahl from the University of Bath in the UK presented the PRIZM method which is now being introduced to schools in the UK under sponsorship from government grants from the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre. PRIZM uses the structure of a game to engage the students, but Anja’s initial study of students (14 year-old girls) showed that they have considerable understanding of their own needs for successful learning, as well as the benefits of learning, and the deficiencies of the current system. The goal of PRIZM is to give structure to the innovative process, as well as making the tools useful individually and in combination. Anja’s project analyzed thousands of methods from many methods, reducing them to 110 tools in the design process, and created a giant matrix of the steps of PRIZM, the tools, and what people are actually doing when they use the process (to be published next years in the Journal of Engineering Design.) The summary is the “diamond” structure of divergence, inspiration, and convergence of ideas, which are structured in the game. It will be introduced in 1000 schools next year, and 10, 000 schools thereafter. Audience discussion: testing and evaluation will be done by the university.

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