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….

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?