Sunday, October 23, 2011


2011 Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Queretaro, MX, Days 2 and 3

Jack Hipple was the first speaker of Day 2, with a fascinating array of ergonomics examples. His aging population (if you can’t run on a treadmill, stand still and stimulate the heart by chemicals) segment had many new examples, and his case on pill insulin- outer shell swells in stomach environment, protects medicine until it is in the right place for absorption—could change life for millions. Wrench-X (3d bend in handle makes it wide on both ends, for ease of grip) was a perfect TRIZ example of “why didn’t we do that 100 years ago?”

Noel Leon’s keynote combined TRIZ patterns of evolution with his extensive research on genetic algorithms and all evolution theory to show that even complex systems can be understood using basic tools. I particularly liked his way of using the TRIZ method of Complete Technical System at all levels of the System Operator, then using the simulation capability of the genetic algorithms to explore probabilities.

My afternoon tutorial session on “How to implement TRIZ in your organization” had people from 4 companies and 2 universities, who discovered that they have a lot of common issues when introducing a new system, and a few differences because of the companies’ histories, customers, and cultures. The strong six sigma/lean systems in 2 of the companies will be a good basis for introducing TRIZ, since many of the cultural aspects (analysis before solution, data-based decision making) are in place.

Dinner, thanking the student volunteers and relaxing together—we needed that!

Day 3

Technical paper session

Lázaro Martínez Flores and his colleagues from Matamoros presented application of TRIZ in design of tools, in which they demonstrated ways of incorporating TRIZ concepts into parametric CAD design methods. The example of a part for a hydraulic line, with a complex internal groove and external boss. Machining the groove is difficult, requiring special tools, so the target for the TRIZ project was to make the part much easier to machine, with the same capability. Rapid iteration with the CAD system, coupled with a design of experiments protocol made it possible to explore a variety of options and relationships between design parameters, part effectiveness, and cost/complexity of machining. Case studies for both hand and machine tools demonstrated the versatility of the approach.

César Raúl Cárdenas Pérez from Tec de Monterrey in Queretaro presented an integration of TRIZ with 3D rapid prototyping applied to both mechatronic engineering applications and to the rapid prototype machines themselves. The process was tested with 57 people in 2 experimental groups, and with 38 people, some with industrial experience, some without, and none with prior TRIZ knowledge. Very interesting results about changes in finite elements used by the participants (increased mixed figures, reduced circles, etc.) as the learning progressed. Not surprisingly, the advanced (TRIZ) students had more sophisticated designs that met the requirements more completely.

I presented the paper co-authored with Anthony McCaffrey from the University of Massachusetts, based on his research in cognitive psychology. McCaffrey’s taxonomy of resources will be a significant aid to TRIZ practioners in the future, and his system for analyzing problems to find out which part of the taxonomy to use will be easy for people in all fields, not just TRIZ, to use. I showed how each of his methods has a correspondence to one or more TRIZ methods, although the research was entirely independent of TRIZ.

Edgardo Cordova showed a complex process, flexographic printing, and how the analysis simplified apparently complex problems , so that one solution (feedback in the alignment mechanism) solved what initially appeared to be multiple problems. He did a great job representing the absent authors!

The Congress adjourned with many promises to meet next year in Orizaba (near Puebla, MX) with new projects, new research, and new TRIZ capabilities. Congratulations to AMETRIZ and particularly to Prof. Christian Signoret and his students at Querétaro for a very well done event.


2011 Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Queretaro, MX, Day 1

The 6th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress opened in Quetero, Mexico this morning with welcome from the director of the Technology Park and from Christian Signoret, organizer of the conference, treasurer of AMETRIZ, and professor at the Queretaro branch of TEC de Monterrey. The hard work of Christian’s committee (and students—thanks Rebeca and Juan Felipe) really showed in a well-run meeting. (Left, Christian Signoret, Right, main entrance and sculpture.)

Proceedings will be posted next week, so I’ll give limited summaries of papers, and as in other trip reports, I’ll only talk about the sessions that I was in—see the proceedings for parallel session information.

Isak Bukhman and I started the day with two complementary, but different papers. Isak gave a detailed presentation on the integration of TRIZ with the full innovation system for product design. I revisited my topic from last year—some of us are TRIZ teachers, we are all TRIZ learners -- and used the ways of teaching the use of resources as examples of both how to learn and how to teach.

Noel Leon did a very popular TRIZ introduction tutorial while the rest of us went to the technical paper session. Highlights:

The group from Universidad Tecnologica Huejotzingo (Alondra de la Llave Hernandez, Gabriela Perez Ramos, Jose David de Ita Ximil) presented 2 papers, one on the system of strategic planning, one on the adoption of the initial stage, which used a variety of techniques based on both classical and new methods of strategic planning. The emphasis on the participation of the whole organization was very much like Hoshin Kanri. Process maps and PERT-CPM were primary tools for generating creative ideas and the plans for implementation. They used 5 elements of complete system as basis for maps. ISO 9001 and 9004 gave a useful structure in a situation where the customers and the customers’ needs are changing, and the competitive situation is changing. Past management processes are not robust enough for this new environment.

Dr. Cuauhtémoc Lemus Olalde, from CIMAT in Zacatecas, presented 2 very different papers. Appeals courts in Mexico have previously used only written presentations from the lawyers. They are now changing to oral arguments, in the states Chihuahua y Oaxaca, coming soon Puebla, Mexico (state) Durango, etc., and Guanajuato and Yucatan want current implementation. The CIMAT group helped the court by applying TRIZ to solve the problems of the service-oriented architecture basis for meeting the needs of the judges (with careful regard to effectiveness, cost, and future improvement opportunity.) The audience showed great interest in the use of classical TRIZ analysis, starting with the elements of ideality, to find the opportunities, summarized as the physical contradiction, the Judge wants to pay attention, but the Judge doesn’t want to pay attention (busy taking notes)

Lemus showed 3 iterations of IFR, to get to both a strong IFR #2 and a possible method #3, function analysis and exploration of trimming opportunities. New insights came from every tool that they tried—system operator, 40 principles, separation principles, 76 standards, and the evaluation of resources.

The second CIMAT paper, demonstrated the use of TRIZ for a different management problem, the introduction of system for management of software to the Mexican business “La Zacatecana” to improve its ability to compete in the international software market. The goal was triple the productivity of the programmers, and the TRIZ insights moved the company very strongly toward its goal.

The group from the university at Orizaba (hosts for next year’s meeting) presented 2 papers. The first examined Substance-field analysis in the framework of ontology. They applied an iterative action process to create an ontology based on the work of Deborah McGinnis, involving extensive categorization of substance, fields, interactions, and resources of the system. Testing by practioners was promised for next year.

The next paper focused on the internal and external factors for successful innovation in organizations. They propose a method that combines elements of TRIZ, particularly ideality and contradiction resolution, with extensive simulation of the situation and criteria for the evaluation of candidate solutions. The system was demonstrated with a case study of a large grain dehydration machine, to increase the yield of properly dried product. A new function analysis format, using colors to indicate the elements of the system and the grain and the environment made it very easy to understand a very complex system.

Juan Carlos Nishiyama, Tatiana Zagorodonova, Carlos Eduardo Requena, from Argentina, presented “The problem of rapid and efficient separation of the yolks and whites of chicken eggs” using the USIT method. Their case comes from an ice cream factory. Some recipes use whole eggs, some only the yolk. They started with a beautiful diagram of the egg as an engineered construct (15 elements), and demonstrated great humor list of initial solutions…then applied USIT , similar to repeated trimming, to look for opportunities to solve the problem with the minimum number of objects. The USIT method of closed world and the USIT method of modeling the system using particles were both very helpful in understanding the problem and the solution opportunities. The object/attribute/function model added depth to the understanding. Application of the problem-solving methods of USIT emerged naturally from the analysis steps, treating the egg as a mixture of two liquids of different viscosities, separated by using a sieve with holes of different sizes. The ice cream factory loves the simplicity of the solution, and we are all grateful for a case study that can be understood by people with all technical backgrounds.

Instituto Tec de Orrizaba Guillermo Cortes Robles and several co-authors concluded the session with their case study “Improving productivity in the processing of rice using TRIZ. “ The analysis showed numerous opportunities for improvement in the loading of the bags of rice on the pallets and in moving the pallets to storage, then to trucks. Pallets were wrapped in a stretch material, with considerable waste. Recycling the waste could save a few thousand per month, but not using it at all would save 20 times as much, so the TRIZ problem was how to handle the rice with the least use of material. Multiple contradictons, 10 principles, multiple ideas. A transparent box on wheels replaces the pallet-the product can be seen, the piles do not fall over, and much less energy is used by rolling the containers instead of moving pallets by forklift.

The city of Queretaro is in the middle of an annual historical festival. The conference participants went to the historic city center for a tour, then joined the “Parade of Legends” in which costumed characters introduced themselves, explained their roles in history, then vanished, and we paraded to the next historical site. We finished the evening with a dinner of local specialties, and great anticipation of the next day’s program.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Traveling TRIZ: Business Innovation Conference 2011

Day 1: Tutorials—Quite well-attended by people from the universities, government, and private industry. Nice new trend in the TRIZ tutorial—people who had heard about TRIZ before, and want to apply it in their work. I heard good things about other tutorials as well, but this is a personal report on the parts of the conference that I experienced. For the full program go to They usually post the presentations a week or so after the conference.

Day 2:

Keynote: Adam Hecktman, Microsoft Innovation Center. A dynamic speaker, great story-teller. Used a fantasy movie (how computing becomes invisible and seamless so you can work on anything anyplace any scale, with partners working in any language…) His focus was on how we will be able to use these tools to enhance our innovation—many in the audience wanted to hear about how the tools themselves were developed, but that is a story for another day.

Tracks: Dan Reid, AIAG (automotive industry action group) “Quality: The next big thing is innovation.” Nice review of a lot of the statistical history of both quality improvement and innovation, especially in the US based automotive companies. Lots of good discussion with the participants, particularly about changing cultures. A surprising point for me was the assertion that innovation needs to be a corporate key competency and must have a structured methodology (that wasn’t the surprise) and therefore should be “owned” by the Quality function. Certainly the quality profession has been very interested in TRIZ and structured innovation methods, but in many companies, the political structures of improvement and innovation are antithetical. This discussion will continue, I’m sure.

Keynote: Ann P. Kalayil, “GSA Case Studies in Innovation.” GSA has been recognized as the most innovative US federal agency, leading now in migration to cloud computing, “green” buildings, government e-commerce, and workplace child care (GSA is the manager of the US government’s real estate, and many aspects of the physical infrastructure for other agencies.) Examples: Cloud/Google apps, weekend conversion, employees “natural” non-training—that is, training was offered, but most employees just started using the new system, without training. BIM (building info mgt, detailed simulation, construction without change orders/correction. GSA didn’t invent BIM, but it is now the biggest user.) Outreach to public. Personal: federal court artwork—virtual museum to make the art accessible to the public. But who will know? Start as partnership with teachers and local museums. Design with a public engagement “component” in the design, don’t just do it because it is a good idea. Audience questions: everything from security concerns with clouds storage to use of wind energy to how to get old-style government regulations changed to encourage innovation (a light technology company can’t show 5 years of financial stability because it has only existed for 3 years, and it is too big for all the special rules for small businesses.)

Tracks:  Peter Lin, Co-founder of Sorin Holdings, presented “Sustainable Competitive Advantage through Focused Innovation.” The audience was invited to challenge every word, and we did, with various points of view about “sustainable,” “competitive” and “focused.” Peter had a strong view on competition—if a resource is available to a competitor as well as to you (such as an out-sourced design firm) then there is no advantage. This argues strongly for protecting core competencies of the company, such as strategy development, product/service design, and customer knowledge. He created an algorithm for evaluating innovative proposals that generated quite a bit of audience interest (some liked it, some challenged it, some hated it—this is success for a speaker!)

Maria Thompson from Motorola has been a friend for many years—I think we met at an Invention Machine Co. user group meeting in 1998, so don’t expect a typical report. Maria had a very cooperative audience, very interested in knowing what’s been going on at Motorola. Maria has a unique perspective, since for many of those years she was based in the intellectual property/patent office. Motorola’s “Directed Innovation” started with TRIZ and software, and has morphed through the addition of psychologically based innovation tools (with particular thanks to the “Whack pack” and several of Gerald Haman’s tools) and most recently the “challenge” approach of open innovation systems. Current experiments aren’t on the innovation tools, they are on the ways to manage the innovation session, for maximum use of the results.

Maria’s quote of the day: “Tenacity and perseverance are the most important elements, not the idea generation.”

One unique idea was to get the critical/negative thinking people to be part of the planning team, use their questions to shape a workshop, but put the creative thinkers in the session. The idea that not everyone has to be part of the workshop to buy in to the results was surprising to many in the audience.

TRIZ showed up as a significant influence (through ideality, 40 principles, 76 standards, etc.) in the Problemstorming phase of the process, which creates the Question Bank that gets the system started. One very practical hint: ask “how could people do XYZ?” instead of “How can we do XYZ?” The “people” version is seen as much less threatening.

The final Keynote speaker for day 1 was Margarita Quihuis from Stanford. Her topic was nominally “Financing Innovations in The Valley” but she spoke about a gigantic range of topics about changing the nature of how people interact with each other and with the surrounding society—everything from the way that the Syrian protesters did test marketing of revolutionary moves (put out Facebook invitations, change the protest if not enough people RSVP) to mass/micro funding of new ventures to how to get people to send tweets during a seminar. (yes, I sent 3) After all, financing is one form of interaction, right? Instead of summarizing, I’ll tell you that she was a TED speaker and recommend hearing/seeing her: See her! There is lots of real research on the new ways that technology enables human interaction, and Margarita is networked into much of it.

Congratulations to Praveen Gupta and Arvind Srivastava, President and VP of Accelper, for the array of speakers, the hospitality, and the organization of 2011’s Business Innovation Conference. I’m a big fan of this event—not the same speakers you’ll hear at other events, and not the same audience you’ll meet at other events. Plan now for 2012—I’d love to see you there.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Puebla Industrial Engineering Congress, Tuesday afternoon

Dr. Alex Marquez is the first afternoon speaker. He has a marvelously diverse history as an entrepreneur, TV personality, concert pianist, and lecturer. He captivated the audience with his stories about multiple ventures in multiple countries.  will introduce you to this remarkable speaker better than I can. His theme for the conference was the current development of Dubai, and analogies and lessons learned that can be applied for all creative work. The Mexican contribution (the lighting system) to the tallest tower that is considered symbolic of the development of modern Dubai got applause from the audience. “The word ‘impossible’ does not exist for Sheikh Mohammed, and the word ‘impossible’ does not exist for leaders who are building modern enterprise.” is my best translation of Marquez’s highly motivating talk.

I missed several afternoon speakers, since the student committee took me to a cultural lunch, followed by a tour of the historical district of Puebla. Tonight the whole congress will meet at the art museum for an opening called “The Toast”—but I hear that there will be a lot more than one! Food, drink, culture, and of course, talk about industrial engineering.


1200 Engineering Students in Pueblo Mexico

Oct. 4. Estoy aqui en Puebla, Mexico. Here I am in Pubebla Mexico for the XIV Congreso Internacional del Ingenieria Industrial—over 1200 people, mostly students, from 6 countries, for 4 days of industrial engineering presentations, visits to companies, tutorials on a wide range of topics, and even some entertainment. Right now, during the pre-conference settling in, 2 mimes (quite good ones) are entertaining the waiting crowd, using the TRIZ concept of “use exiting resources”—they have just disassembled the video camera and are now balancing a fire extinguisher, now using a sort-of volunteer young lady from the audience as part of their act. This gave the distinguished panel an opportunity to assemble behind them, and the conference is beginning in a very good mood.

The student organizers and their faculty advisors have worked for over a year to bring this event to Puebla, a beautiful city of extreme contrasts – the Cathedral which was built starting in the 1500s is visible from the very modern convention center. Local and international companies sponsored the event – Volkswagen and Grupo Modelo, Cinemex, and Prissa, among others. The student organizing committee (more than 40 people!) was hard at work when I arrived from the airport last night, but took a break for photos—organizing this event is a great lesson in logistics, no matter what else they learn.

The theme of the conference is “Change your ideas, build your future.” I’ll report periodically on my changing ideas. One initial observation: gender differentiation is disappearing. Men and women are on the student committees, the faculty, and the list of honored guests (speakers, government ministers, and others whose titles I didn’t learn) – this is a welcome difference from a conference I was at only 10 years ago where I was the only woman in the room, and the host explained that women study mathematics, not engineering (!)

More later…

Sunday, October 02, 2011


TRIZ Speaking Schedule

It looks like 4th Quarter 2011 is the TRIZ learning Quarter. Here’s my speaking schedule—let me know if you’ll be at any of these venues, so we can get to know each other better.   These are all interesting conferences;  I plan to attend and participate, so look for my blog posts as I travel.

Oct. 4-5 XIV Industrial Enginnering Congress, Puebla, MX. Half day tutorial starting at 9 AM and keynote at 5 pm on the 5th, meeting with local students on the 4th.

Oct. 10-12 Business Innovation Conference, Chicago, USA. TRIZ tutorial, oriented toward sustainability and social applications of TRIZ, Oct. 11.

Oct. 12 ASQ Palomar Chapter Dinner Meeting: TRIZ in quality improvement

Oct. 14-15 ASQ Southern California, California Polytechnic University. Half day tutorial on the 14, more sustainability applications on the 15.

Oct. 20-22 6th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Querétaro, MX. Keynote, plus papers co-authored with Prof. “Temo” Lemus from Zacatecas and Anthony McCaffrey from the US.

Nov. 2-5 European TRIZ Association TRIZ Futures Conference, Dublin, Ireland. Tutorial “How to get TRIZ adopted in your company” morning of Nov. 2. Paper on “Learner-focused TRIZ teaching: Use of resources.”

Dec. 13-14 Altshuller Institute TRIZCON, Detroit, USA. Planning still in work, but look for a tutorial on use of resources, with some hybrid tools as well—system operator, complete system, etc. 

See you?

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