Saturday, November 05, 2011


Day 3 ETRIA TRIZ Futures Conference in Dublin for photos, thanks to Jeongho Shin, who established the page and invited all participants to post pictures and rememberances of the conference.

Eddie Commins (ooops, Dr. Eddie Commins, manager of the applied innovation department of Enterprise Ireland) did a great keynote talk—really establishing key points about innovation as a systematic process, for organizations, putting the TRIZ elements of innovation into the context of culture, strategy, and leadership.

Ayano Sato started the practioners’ session with her research on “Considering user’s Kando for Conceptual Design on CDSS” (Kando describes several aspects of customer satisfaction/ experience/ emotional reaction. The techniques looked like some that I had seen in Kansei engineering. Sato explained that Kansei deals with a large spectrum of emotions, and Kando is one particular emotional response, particularly related to the customer's willingness to share his experience.

Jens Hammer discussed “Systematic Innovation and Identification of ideas in Siemens.” He showed the training and workshop system, and an example of a workshop that created more than 50 alternate solutions to a specific design problem. The expert participants in the workshop select the ones that they want to develop further, and they frequently become interested in TRIZ as a result of participating in the workshop.

Jeongho Shin did a delightful presentation about the 16 year history of TRIZ at LG, the first company to adopt TRIZ in Korea. He offered us 3 gifts

1. SCM Simple contradiction model diagram, based on ARIZ, that quickly identifies both physical and technical contradiction. His examples were from real teams dealing with everything from sound/vibration to refrigerator design to team behavior improvement.

2. SCM case studies

3. Contradiction Song – for learning 8 of the 40 principles in Korean, Japanese and English—we all sang along and then applauded the video of his children!

My talk (co-authored by Ralph Czerepinski and Joe Miller—many thanks!) about teaching from the learners’ point of view, using the TRIZ concepts of resources as an example, got lots of audience interest, particularly the story about the use of both physical and knowledge resources to create the new growth plan for the city of Payson AZ (see the full story at ) I was very grateful for Robert Adunka’s comment that he had taken some of the learner-focused teaching elements from earlier papers and applied them to his teaching TRIZ at Siemens, to very good effect.

Barbara Gronauer gave us her perspective on how to avoid resistance to TRIZ projects, incorporating current research on organizational psychology and on success factors for innovation. Her application of 9 windows to reveal the reasons for employee fears of the changes that a new technology would cause was very useful, and her example of use of function modeling to describe the relationships between people was equally revealing. She catalogued the 8 System Laws of human interactions and showed how ignoring these laws will cause resistance.

Pavel Jirman and Bohuslav Busov concluded the session with “how to improve the evaluation of exhibits with TRIZ” He started with realistically complex function analysis of turbocharger systems and subsystems, then challenged us to think about a much less technically complex system, such as the exhibits at an international engineering fair (which has a gold medal for best exhibit, which should be a high prestige award in Brno, but had fallen into low regard.) This required creating a new concept for the criteria for evaluation. Cause-effect analysis of the low prestige revealed both real and false contradictions, which were addressed by treatment as both physical and technical contradictions. This was an excellent case study for application of TRIZ to a business/management system, and it will be very helpful to other people, since it was so easy to understand.

Wei Yan from INSA-Strasbourg presented “ A Method Of Facilitating Inventive Design based on Semantic Similarity and Case-Based Reasoning. “ She described the problem of semantic inconsistency between parameters that are specific to elements of a problem and the generic parameters of the contradiction matrix. Semantic analysis methods that cannot be summarized in this format (highly mathematical models) were applied to a set of electronics industry cases. 200 users per year are providing data on the usability of the method.

Tiziano Montecchi from the University of Bergamo presented a set of digrams used to analyze a system to support patent search for exploring future development opportunities. The complexity of system description becomes apparent from some well-defined case studies, such as the sterilization of contact lenses (but very few of the patents actually use the word “sterilize.”) For example “parameter” can have any of 3 meanings (description of a relationship between 2 things, description of the state of one thing, or description of the behavior of that thing. Searching for technology transfer opportunities is even more stressing, because of the need to do the semantic process outside the area of the researcher’s familiarity. “Abstraction of the object” is easy to say but very hard to do.

The difficult position of last paper of the conference went to Victor Berdonosov, discussing the TRIZ evolution map of programming systems, then generalizing from that. He finds that the TRIZ logical system is a basis for systemization of knowledge.

Pat Coman and Tom Vaneker brought the conference to a conclusion, and received the thanks of all the delegates.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Day 2 ETRIA TRIZ Futures 2011, Dublin

Leonid Chechurin from St. Petersburg State Politechnical University and the Politecnico di Milano opened the session with the keynote “Creativity IN the Exact Science.” He charmed the audience with his story of the difference of his students’ reaction to learning TRIZ vs. their reaction to learning the mathematics of control systems. Both space and time domain analysis are frequently used in TRIZ (Su-Field or function analysis and cause/effect chains, or engineering system models, 9 windows, etc.) In contrast, mathematical models are based on the laws of science that describe the relationships between parameters. Asking experts is cheaper than doing the research to define a law of physics! He recommends flow models, rather than static function models, for situations changing in time—less abstract than full mathematical models, but more real description of the situation.

His next challenge: how to get from the model to the invention. His definition: invention is not optimization of parameters, rather it is novel, change, new paradigm, case-sensitive (not a general theory). Great example of the difference between the solution to the problem of ski gondolas swinging in the wind—solve the differential equations or use TRIZ?

Short papers are very short at this conference—10 minutes deach, which provides an opportunity for the audience to decide which authors to talk with. Godwin Ekong from U. Sussex used TRIZ to develop concepts for control of tip clearance in gas turbine high pressure compressors. TRIZ was used to simplify and sort the 400+ ideas generated by multiple other methods.

Giuseppe Carignani tantalized us with “Matching and merging TRIZ and Post-TRIZ evolutionary theory of technological change. “ He started with Konrad Lorenz’s Nobel lecture about parallel evolution of complex organs in different species (such as eyes in octopus and mammals), and asked about the evolution of TRIZ itself. He used the classical invention of the safety razor and showed how a TRIZ separation principle invention could be reinterpreted as a functional shift (feathered dinosaurs, etc.) He suggests that post-Altshuller TRIZ can take advantage of modern biological evolutionary theory.

Darin Moreira from Intel in Penang, Malaysia, showed the complementary use of TRIZ with Lean methods to prevent component misplacement in the tape and reel process of pan applied to the ckaging and shipping integrated circuits. 2-4 million units a week are being processed, with up to 25 tool stoppages per day. Lean was used to guide the observations of the full problem situation, then develop a full cause/effect chain analysis. TRIZ was then used to create a function model that made clear the opportunities for change, and straight-forward use of the contradiction matrix and principles give them 3 ideas for problem prevention. (Principle 10 applied to 3 areas of the system.) First test results show no defects, with a saving of US$half million per quarter. The audience a discussion that continued later at the break, of whether the solutions could have been found without TRIZ—Darin countered that they had worked on this problem for a number of years without finding the simple, elegant TRIZ solutions.

Toru Nakagawa from Japan presented “Problem solving in everyday life: On methods and tools for weeding.” The problem may be everyday, but the solution requires the same kind of understanding of the situation as any technical problem, which revealed 5 primary purposes, of weeding (beauty, preparing for crops, etc.) multiple strategies and multiple methods for each strategy, and multiple tools (and multiple energy sources!) for each method.

Yael Helfman Cohen challenged ETRIA with “what can we learn from biological systems when applying the laws of system completeness?” She started with a comparison of biological and technical systems and a context-dependent definition of system (the organism), subsystem (internal parts) and supersystem (environment.) They created a set of questions for the elements of the complete system to make it easier to identify the elements in biological systems. Both the working unit and the control unit can be environmental or internal to the system. Environmental control is positive feedback, non-environmental is negative feedback. The classical lotus leaf self-cleaning system was shown, with the energy being chemical/adhesion, engine and transmission are both epidermal protrusions, the working unit is the water droplet, and the control is positive feedback (the process continues as long as there are both particles and water.) The gecko feet show negative feedback: Energy is van der Waals force, engine and transmission are hairs on the feet, the working unit is the surface of the hairs, and the control is the gecko’s nervous system which guides the leg. Future research will look at which of these elements changes through evolution, and what lessons these changes may have for technical systems.

Ido Lapidot asked the audience to help him think about issues that might change our thinking about TRIZ in “Evolution, Predictability, Lamarck, Altshuller, Darwin and Chaos.” What makes systems move toward ideality? He suggested that Darwinian evolution depends on random variation with the environment making the survival of certain variants more probable, while Lamarckian evolution says that the needs of the environment cause evolution of traits, and that TRIZ evolution is more like the (discredited) Lamarck model. His candidate explanations are (1) convergent evolution, which occurs in the presence of strong environmental restriction forces and (2) Chaos/dynamic systems behaviors. The biologically-oriented and physically-oriented audience members had a variety of reactions (including my own suggestion that he look at the selection method as being reduction of entropy because of human decision processes.)

Concluding speaker for the session was Alessandro Baldussu, “About integration opportunities between TRIZ and biomimetics for inventive deisgn.” He used both the OTSM function model (a variant of Subject-action-object) and the NIST model, compared to the taxonomy of biological functions. Search methods were compared for exact match, match requiring human re-interpretation, and no match. All 3 databases require some changes before an automated search can be implemented.

The afternoon scientific session started with Denis Cavallucci’s report on the current work by his graduate students developing IDM TRIZ. He cited several limitations of classical TRIZ:

  1.  gathering the info about the system
  2. Contradictions: TRIZ solves one, real situations have many
  3. Contradictions: no methodology to define/disclose the right contradiction, reproducible result
  4. Glossary, ontology, logical links between triz components missing.
“We need to disambiguate TRIZ” was the conclusion, and he outlined the work to be done by INSA and its industrial partners. They are analyzing vast amounts of patent data, looking at 21 different aspects of research using a semi-automated method of extracting the relevant patents which is now being tested.

Jenny Harlim from Iouri Belski’s group in Australia reported on research that showed that engineers’ self-confidence has a strong influence on both motivation to solve problems and capability for problem solving. Perception of competence had a strong influence on the transfer of problem-solving skills. The training method used to teach TRIZ incorporates a structure designed to stimulate student reflection on each step in the method, and plan further improvement in their use of the system. Graduates of the class were asked their self-evaluation on current problem solving and on attitudes on future problems. , The TRIZ class had a strong influence on the students’ mastery and their perception of their own mastery; whether there is a correlation with actual performance is subject for future research.

Pavel Livitov reported on web-based asynchronous distance education in new product development and inventive problem solving, 3-year project conducted with industrial companies, featuring a new approach for measuring the efficiency of distance education.

The last practioner session of the afternoon featured Jurgen Jantschgi’s case study of applications of TRIZ to a cooling compressor design and to a forecast of the next decade in cooling compressors, especially considering the new requirements on energy efficiency. 4 years of TRIZ workshops produced a radically improved design (50% improvement in power/weight, 50 patents, 13 fewer parts…) that won European product of the year awards. The future project looked at general contradictions (diversification vs. standardization, etc.) as well as specific design issues (noise vs. size, etc.) and then quantified the cost impact of not solving the problem, and looked at cause-effect chains of contradictions, to reach a conclusion about which contradictions must be solved. They have now established partnerships with universities and other companies to work on the key issues.

“How TRIZ and other innovation tools can assist to innovate a several thousand year old product and a 300 year old company: The AXE.” Is a great teaching case and a practical application of innovation done by Jurgen and Leonhard Muller for the Leonhard Muller & Sons blacksmith company, which makes forestry products. The audience was fascinated by both the evolution of the axe itself and the “emotionalization” – the company now hosts people who want to forge their own axes, to establish an emotional connection to the tool and to the history of blacksmithing as magic.

Professor KW Lee demonstrated “Forecasting new business opportunities using TRIZ evolution approach” focusing on the pattern of transformation from commodity to product to service to experience (same pattern used by Muller going from making axes to hosting axe-making sessions) and demonstrated possibilities in many industries. He then added in aging society, low fertility, global warming, and changes in politics as influences. The audience was delighted with his golf simulator for year-round practice no matter what happens to the weather.

Paul Devaraj from Intel in Malaysia showed the role of TRIZ in the implementation of predictive maintenance in the test function within manufacturing. The benefits were obvious, but the cost of the sensors was prohibitive. TRIZ inspired the application of copying, doing the actual measurements only on one machine and replicating the plan for all machines. There were multiple additional problems in the implementation (fitting the test components into the functioning machines, etc.) Paul did a great job of presenting his reflections and “lessons learned” from this project.

The evening social event – an Irish specialty dinner with singers, Irish bagpipes, and very talented Irish dancers – was preceded by the selection of next year’s venue, New University in Lisbon, Portugal. See you there?




Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Day 1 European TRIZ Association, Dublin Ireland

Hello from the 11th TRIZ Futures Conference of the European TRIZ Association, in Tallaght (Suburban Dublin) Ireland. More than 110 people gathered for the conference, from the broadly defined “Europe” (old joke for frequent readers of this report—Malaysia, the US, Japan, Korea, and China all have delegates and speakers here, as well as Portugal, Spain, France, Austria, Israel, Germany, Russia, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania, Belarus, Italy, and others.) The first morning was devoted to tutorials—I did a session on “How to get TRIZ adopted in your organization” with attention to universities as well as small and large companies. The parallel session had 3 tutorials on problem solving methods, attended by both beginners learning TRIZ and experienced practioners learning new ways of teaching TRIZ. As always, I’ll limit my travel report to the parts of the program that I personally participate in. For the complete program, see and for any papers that interest you, write to the authors (or join ETRIA— -- for a very small fee you can get access to all the publications!)

The main session of the conference began with welcome from our local organizer Pat Coman and ETRIA president Tom Vanenker, and an address by Eddie Cummins about the Irish government and education system’s new innovation initiatives, and their awareness that the initiatives need to be improved and refreshed. He reported recent success teaching TRIZ to people recently laid off, who then went on to form their own new businesses.

Barry Kennedy, from Intel and from 2 new ventures supporting Irish industry gave the first keynote, on the strong TRIZ theme of “Somebody, someplace, has solved this problem before…” and applied it to manufacturing and to the sustainable issues of modern manufacturing. The unique approach of the manufacturing research center is that it is based on the manufacturing “floor” in local companies, not in universities, which are invited to join the industries in research. (Principle 13 applied to cross-industry research?) A fascinating current project is predictive maintenance – capturing the tacit knowledge of experienced technicians and turning it into algorithms that can be applied throughout the industry. Then energy research center is oriented to efficiency and sustainability, specifically in manufacturing. Their early work is looking at recapturing and using low-grade heat, which is most commonly wasted, and another project on managing power use in a dynamic re-pricing environment. Water and compressed air will be two significant areas for energy efficiency research; specific comparison with other EU countries show why Ireland needs aggressive management of energy costs. The EU goals of reducing greenhouse gases, increasing recyclables, and reducing energy use (20-20-20 for the goals) are not being met, or not being met –this creates a TRIZ opportunity. Astonishing statistic: 45% of CO2 emissions come from buildings, and 85% of those buildings will still be standing in 2050.

Vigorous audience questioning – great dialog, not just Q&A. Thanks, Barry.

Second keynote was Mi Jeong Song, Ph.D. from Samsung, with a history and context of TRIZ in Korea and TRIZ in Samsung. She is the director of the Chief Technology Office within Samsung Electronics in the Samsung Advanced research center, and has played a major role in product development and TRIZ deployment as an engineer and as a research director. The 4 aspects of SAIT are Future IT & Convergence, New materials & devices, Bio/Medical and improvement in sustainable business practices. Dr. Song graciously handled the problem of talking about TRIZ in Samsung without getting into proprietary issues of products and processes. Her “Themestream” was First impact, cautious proof, use, and “shooting future”

Using TRIZ to explain TRIZ, she showed us 9 windows as a view of the implementation stage of TRIZ (subsystem, system and supersystem levels) They constantly modified what they learned from their Russian mentors to make it compatible with both the Korean culture and the Samsung internal culture, then modified what they had done as the business environment changed. Their education and software and internal consulting are continuously modified, to support Samsung’s long term strategies, now migrating from “ownership” by a TRIZ expert group to ownership in the business divisions, with platform changes to support the mobile eco-system of many of the people who need TRIZ.

Song concluded with the metaphor of neurons, and the strength of the network depending on the number of interfaces and intersections, and her perception that the network of TRIZ users will increase in strength.

We then split into 2 sessions for technical papers. I’m in the “practioner” session, first paper “Main parameters of value analysis as a cornerstone of innovation” by Andrey Efimov from Gen3, building on the MPV concepts that we have seen from Sergei Ikovenko and others at previous meetings. He had some novel ideas about using social media and company customer contacts as sources of data to reduce the fuzziness of the “fuzzy front end” of the product development cycle. His case study was a very accessible story about insulation and the adhesive used to attach it needed in an aircraft application, that was in conflict with burn-through resistance. They used “voice of the product” before “voice of the customer” to understand the jobs being done by the insulation and the adhesive in each phase of the lifecycle (non-emergency use as well as in fires) of the system, to avoid wasting resources on solving the wrong problem.

Rony Mann presented the “TRIZ – TOC marriage delivers improved products” written with my friend Gregory Frenklach. The TRIZ audiences benefited from the TOC introduction, and from the practical recommendations about team formation, emphasizing that the decision makers should be the team members, to avoid wasting time/energy/effort on the adoption of the decisions by people who were not part of the process of creating them. His case study of a major communication system failure showed the TRIZ audience the power of the TOC current reality tree method to find problems that are hiding behind/inside other problems. Then they use the examination of the assumptions that link the (perceived) conflicting requirements, to find the possible solutions, using either the separation principles for the physical contradictions or the inventive principles for the trade-off contradictions.

“2A2CI: a systematic approach to implement TRIZ innovation in SME” was presented by Xavier Lepot, who explained that he left research at a large company, and used TRIZ to create a business, which aids small/medium enterprises to move product/service ideas through the process of going from idea to development to market. I have a history of criticizing self-promotional papers, but this was done with such charm, including the derivation of their method from the academic system at INSA Strasbourg, that the promotional aspects can be forgiven. He gave enough detail of the method that the audience had a clear idea of how they work with their customers, and which TRIZ-related systems/tools (and which other tools from strategic planning, market research, etc.) they use with real companies. Key to success is use of resources, and finding the right partners—don’t try to be the expert on everything. The audience picked up on the partnership idea, and discussed why this may be easier for small companies than large ones. This evolved into discussion about whether an innovation assessment method is necessary (analogy to quality assessment) -- my point was that the market will tell us if they need one, consultants don’t need to push the assessments.

Q&A for all 3 speakers focused on details of their models and methods.

We then to the evening’s relaxation – informal dinner and reunions with old friends and meeting new friends and talking about TRIZ (until the music started…lovely Irish tenor but too loud to keep talking, so I sneaked away to finish writing this.)

Tomorrow: multiple technical sessions and another Keynote, and Irish dancers at dinner….

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