Friday, November 26, 2010


Book Review: TRIZICS by Gordon Cameron

TRIZICS:  Teach yourself TRIZ, how to invent, innovate and solve “impossible” technical problems systematically.  2010.  By Gordon Cameron.  $59.95 from or from Amazon.

The purpose of a book review varies by reviewer.  My main purpose is to tell my readers if they should buy the book.   Many other reviewers devote most of the review to telling the author what’s wrong with the book;  I don’t do very much of that, since it is very rare that the author will re-write that book, or remember the advice of reviewers when starting another book.  

Read this book?   Yes! There is a tremendous amount of valuable information from many sources, and Cameron has done the TRIZ community a valuable service by assembling it into one place, clarifying vocabulary from early translations, and giving clear examples of the application of the methods of TRIZ to a wide variety of situations.  He has added extensive work of his own, based on his experience teaching and using TRIZ at Intel,  showing his system for linking the tools of TRIZ with each other and with other methods.  Readers who don’t need Cameron’s system will still benefit from his fresh look at the tools of TRIZ.  

Expect this book to enable you to teach yourself TRIZ?   Maybe, especially if you already know some TRIZ and are looking for help integrating the tools of TRIZ into a system, or help integrating TRIZ with your existing systems of product development and process improvement.  

Give this book to a friend who has never heard of TRIZ?   Probably not.  The presentation is dry and the orientation is technical. The joy of the discovery that innovation can be systematic, and that systematic innovation can apply to any difficult problem – - technical, business, service, government, however people get things done - -  is missing. Newcomers are particularly likely to be either puzzled or discouraged by Cameron’s multiple claims in each chapter that one technique or another will “release psychological inertia” without any explanation of how this release happens, or demonstration of the difference between pre-TRIZ and TRIZ solutions.  

Experienced TRIZ users looking for a new perspective should probably browse the book, reading the chapters that focus on subjects they want to explore.   TRIZ beginners should probably read the book as the author organized it, to get the benefit of his integrating system.   The first 2 chapters are an extensive overview of the whole — beginners should push through this section to get to the detailed explanations that start in Chapter 3. Beginners who get frustrated with the extensive use of acronyms should know that it echoes some of the early Russian-style TRIZ writing, and consider it part of learning the “culture” of TRIZ; in other words, don’t let it stop you!

TRIZICS is a valuable addition to the small library of TRIZ books available in English.  Thanks to Gordon for the 4 years of work that went into TRIZICS--hope it is not that long until he publishes more!


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