Sunday, October 26, 2008


Small Groups vs. Big Groups

There are now 2 TRIZ-related discussion groups on LinkedIn and many more elsewhere (and the original TRIZ topica listserve, and the discussion Forum in the TRIZ Journal.) I'm concerned that the fragmentation of the groups will be wasteful--for example, I just spent time answering the question about resources in English and Spanish for Trees of Evolution on a Linked-In list, then found it on another list. BUT there are about 40 members total on those lists, where the bigger groups have hundreds (topica) or thousands (TRIZ Journal) of people. The theory of networks is that the usefulness goes with n(n-1). I think the person who asked the question could get much better answers from a bigger network of people.

So, should we have multiple networks of multiple sizes? Or put more energy and support into a few big ones?

First reply from Greg Yezersky, on the Topica list. Here's his note with my comments:

Hello, Greg and Topica friends: We agree, but with some differences of interpretation. I think that this (Topica) network is fulfilling the purpose of helping each other think about interesting issues. I have inserted some comments in Greg’s remarks.

First, a network is a system, which is crucial.
Second, the evolutionary laws (even in the classical TRIZ formulation, which, I believe, is NOT very optimal) tell us that fragmentation is unavoidable! By being a student of evolution, I firmly believe that fighting an evolutionary mechanism is futile! Ellen: Agreed. But there is also the evolutionary pattern of integration into the super-system, and that could be a path for building networks of networks.
3. Fragmentation takes primarily (NOT always though!) place because an old new network does not solves all the problems, and a new network, by being a different system, introduces a new Value Proposition. For example, if the TRIZ-Topica forum does not accept a commercial message, a new system/network might be built to overcome this prohibition. It is the functionality of a new network that matters. Ellen: Agreed, again. My complaint was that the new discussions groups seemed to have no new functionality. But your point in item 5 that there are benefits to the organizer (publicity, demonstration of leadership) introduces a new “customer” who I wasn’t thinking about.
If a new network is absolutely identical from the benefits point of view, it is possible to offer integration, which at least on the surface seems advantageous. It is NOT necessarily true though when one considers the people’s factor! What I mean is that there is always a network leader (a group of leaders) who enjoys a lot of publicity and benefits coming with it, so it is conceivable that there are people who want to enjoy the same benefit by organizing a similar system/network.
To offer competitive advantage in integrating various networks into one, that ONE MUST provide all the benefits to all the parties! Ellen: Eventually this will happen if we wait for evolution—I was trying for some “directed” or “guided” or “accelerated” innovation by pointing out the situation.

Best regards,


Greg Yezersky
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?