Friday, October 08, 2010


TRIZCON and National Innovation Conference, morning Day 2

TRIZCON 2010 and the National Innovation Conference Day 2 opened with brief remarks by sponsor Bart Barthelemy of the Wright Brothers Institute, challenging all the participants to learn multiple innovation systems to take advantage of the opportunities that surround us.

Opening speaker Steve Shapiro "chief innovation evangelist" of Innocentive emphasized that innovation is about rapid, repeated, dynamic change, not about specific events. Organizations have "problems, challenges, and opportunities." We talk about diversity but we practice homogeneity - people who talk the same way and think the same way, things work quickly. It is great for efficiency but bad for creativity. The audience was a bit uncomfortable with his equating corporate cultures to cults, but he made the point quite well throughout the talk.

He had the un-politically-popular position that crowds may be good at generating ideas but they are really bad at determining value, and voting systems are particularly bad because they can be easily manipulated. Both the TRIZ and non-TRIZ sides of the audience developed appreciation for his emphasis on problem definition and scope, and creating challenges that are self-managing (the contributors evaluate their own contributions, rather than creating a giant mess of evaluation.) Two failure modes to watch out for: eliminating good ideas because the evaluators don't have context-sensitive knowledge, and letting good ideas whither because no one has ownership/accountability for the success of the implementation.

Quote from Steve Jobs: "Creativity is having enough dots to connect." and Steve Shapiro added, "we need to become masterful at connecting those dots."

The conference then returned to tracks: I'll report on the papers that I saw. Good news for readers: the Altshuller Institute will be posting all the papers (not limited to members) shortly after the conference.

Bryan Pollard from Intel showed us a new perspective:

- No problem is too small for TRIZ: micro-innovation

- TRIZ can generate solutions that beat industry experts

Bryan demonstrated problem reformulation using a semiconductor processing problem, starting with a great tutorial on semiconductor processing, so that the non-semiconductor audience could participate.The function model and the problem definition were iterated to get the reformulated problem definition, and the case study dramatically illustrated the benefit of investing the time in a good problem definition. Thanks to Bryan Pollard and to Intel for presenting a real case!

My paper on teaching TRIZ by leaving the classroom was next - I used the paper to kick-off discussion with the participants. The paper will be published in the TRIZ Journal and the Altshuller Institute proceedings, so I won't put any detail here.  (to be continued)

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