Friday, April 29, 2011


TRIZ and Lean Product & Process Development

I’m just back from a great week at the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange in San Diego.  See    for the full program, and for planning for the next 2 meeting, September in Gothenburg, Sweden and April 2012 in Indianapolis.   LPPDE is a great match for TRIZ, and I got to explore some of the areas for integration in a workshop.

For the TRIZ readers, LPPDE is a system for improving the speed and predictability of product and process development.   It uses some of the concepts of lean manufacturing (remove waste, remove non-value added activities, create flow of work) but has many other features that are unique to the development process.    Of particular interest to TRIZ practioners is the emphasis on understanding the relationships between elements of the system, and on re-use of the system knowledge, much of which is recorded as trade-off curves. 

So, the obvious connection is that LPPDE teaches people to collect trade-off data, and TRIZ teaches people to eliminate trade-offs, and the realities of the business world teach people to choose very carefully which trade-offs to eliminate and which to tolerate.  

A slightly less obvious connection is the TRIZ method of using the resources that are in the problem to solve the problem, and to consider resources very broadly (energy, information, properties/attributes of objects, resources of the environment, as well as objects, waste materials, etc., that are in the system.)   The LPPDE practioners very quickly saw that if they make an extensive survey of the resources and the properties and functions of the resources in a problem area when first dealing with a problem, and put that survey into their knowledge capture system, they would have a great acceleration in their ability to solve future problems in that area and related ones.  

I’ll continue exploring this area in the next few months—would appreciate comments from readers who are TRIZ and LPPDE simultaneous practioners.   Thanks in advance!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


TRIZ for Engineers: New book from Karen Gadd

Karen Gadd, founder of Oxford creativity, has just published material from several of her courses in the form of an entertaining paperback, issued by Wiley.   Details:

  • TRIZ for Engineers: Enabling Inventive Problem Solving by Karen Gadd

  • Paperback: 504 pages

  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 10, 2011)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 9780470741887

  • ISBN-13: 978-0470741887

  • ASIN: 0470741880

  • Herb Roberts has written the first review on Amazon, reprinted here.  Thanks, Herb! (I had seen early drafts of the book and encouraged Karen at several steps, and I even appear in one of the cartoons, so I didn't want to do the review myself!)  I really appreciate a thorough review from a TRIZ practioner.

    I liked TRIZ for Engineers. As a practicing engineer for 20 years, and as a student of TRIZ for five years, I have read a wide range of text on classical TRIZ and higher levels of TRIZ approaches used in inventive problem solving. The book presents real engineering problems in short form scenarios and through case studies that include detailed notes on how to use a range of TRIZ tools to generate solutions. The example problems are engineering based, but less industrial focused, so the examples have a wide application to the engineering market and technologist new to the basic TRIZ concepts

    The book offers problem solving maps and algorithms that illustrate how the TRIZ tools presented in the chapters can combine to form larger algorithms.  The solution maps present through out the chapters flow through the early phases of developing a problem statement, identifying which TRIZ tools fit the problem scenario and onward to developing and applying solutions. The book also offers color figures and tables, which compliment the text as it illustrates how TRIZ is used to model systems and analyze functions.  Thematic cartoons are included, as the author notes to bring some levity to the educational process. In my opinion, the cartoons present a physical contradiction as a reader, as they both add and distract from the text and the more formal diagrams and figures.

    The author emphasizes that TRIZ is a set of tools, which can offer more than one solution to a problem and that all solutions have some level of merit based on the users needs. This perspective is well supported in the book’s classical TRIZ modeling examples. The later chapters include examples of the Traditional TRIZ 76 Standard Solutions, Substance-Field modeling, and ARIZ, which adds clarity to modeling problems with higher-level TRIZ tools. These advanced concepts discussions are supported with case study based examples.  The book offers illustrations of blank worksheets that students can use as a reference to help analyze and execute the book’s algorithms while problem solving. There are also chapters describing how the TRIZ concepts can be used to analyzing trends and inventing with TRIZ beyond the basic problem solving. 
    The best part of the book from my perspective is the text-based descriptions of creating a functional analysis model and developing solutions through trimming and substitution of the functional models. I complement Karen Gadd on her efforts to bring TRIZ to engineers, and will recommend the book to TRIZ novices and more experienced inventive problem solvers.

    Any more comments from other readers? 

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