Friday, November 22, 2013


Day 3 - 8th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Merida, MX

The morning sessions were both tutorials—TRIZ for Business Applications by Jack Hipple and Product Development by Ricardo Alvarez (an expanded version of his “best practices” presentation yesterday, with a lot of intuitive creativity exercises—a few participants tried quite successfully to apply TRIZ methods to the puzzles and games!)  I went to the regional anthropology museum and learned about the Maya understanding of ideality in their mythology:

Oscar Acuna Valdez, founder of the Mexican division of the PDMA and VP for Latin America of Global PDMA, and a professor of management of innovation technology at UIA served as facilitator of the first after-lunch session.   He used a mix of cartoons and business models to guide us through a systematic innovation model that put emphasis on both understanding the customers and on managing the business’ network of relationships.   The audience agreed with many of his statics about the deficiencies of product development as practiced in today’s enterprises.   They mapped their own processes and proposed improvements during the “work” part of the workshop.

The last afternoon session  was cancelled due to several changes in people’s travel schedules.   The papers will appear in the proceedings.   Watch  for the announcement of the proceedings’ publication.

The congress will end in a few hours with a ceremony at the university, and a tour of the university facilities.  

Blog question:   Do these reports help you?  Interest you?   Please use the comment section to recommend improvements!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Day 2, 8th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress

The Wednesday evening tour of the Gran Museo del Maya was magnificent in multiple dimensions—unique architecture, and video/music production that covers the entire outside of the museum, and a private tour of the exhibits with a knowledgeable (and entertaining guide), finished with a midnight picnic before the bus trip back to the hotel.    And talking TRIZ the whole time!

I was the first speaker on Thursday morning, combining some of the work done by Tim Brewer, Joe Miller and me on the insights that TRIZ analysis can provide for new business models, with crowdsourcing and crowdfunding used as examples.  The audience demonstrated great enthusiasm, and asked a number of questions about how to manage the intellectual property risks in a variety of open innovation scenarios, including crowdsourcing.
“TRIZ in the University Autonoma de Nuevo Leon”  was explained by Luis Cardenas Franco.   Nuevo Leon state is in Northeastern Mexico.  It has 98 colleges and universities (4 with major international reputations, )  with 15,000 annual graduates in science and engineering, in a population of 4.6 million.   “Vision 2020” at UANL unites faculty and students with the community for application of innovation systems to the needs of the region.   Recent growth in university intellectual property development is one sign of the health of the system.  The full range of TRIZ methods—IFR, 9 windows, contradictions, patterns of evolution, etc.—are used by many people to address many different types of problems.   See   for details.

 Fabiola Cruz reported on the use of TRIZ in creation and implementation of ideas for ISO 14001 in the Zona de los Rios in the state of Tabasco in southeastern Mexico, known as the “biological corridor of central America.”     Numerous opportunities for conflict resolution were defined and addressed successfully, in electronics, food processing, and energy production.

Ruben Vasquez explained the energy-saver device for refrigerator and air conditioning unit which he invented, motivated partly to improve comfort and partly to save energy, since saving is more than generating   energy.    The use of wasted resources is the featured TRIZ tool—a simple heat pipe using the Carnot cycle is the core of the system with water as the working fluid.   The audience showed considerable interest in the device itself and in the story of the development.

The TEC de Monterrey team got a lot of audience appreciation for their story  “Redesign  of an acoplamiento para 4 eje en fresadora CNC”   in order to make the CNC system able to create a wider range of shapes, and of course the requirements included very low cost and very fast deployment. 0.0001mm tolerance is a real challenge!  Classical TRIZ resource analysis (materials, energy, information, tools, etc.) provided the basis for the improved system.   The video of the system in operation and the validation tests were impressive!

Celeste Cantu Alejandro  presented on behalf of the  second TEC de Monterrey team, demonstrating  a model for innovation based on work done at the Institute Andaluz, and expanded for a variety of applications  (Modelo y Programa de capacitation en competencias de innovation para las empresas Mexicanas.)    A competency model has been developed, supported by several templates for evaluation of organizations and individuals in various circumstances.

Gonzalo Uscanga-Castillo presented the method for selection of the portfolio of technical projects in the early steps of innovations.    Elements of technology, intellectual property, market conditions, investment potential and technology roadmap  are evaluated.   Weights are assigned to these factors, and candidate ideas are evaluated on the weighted scale.  

The afternoon’s  leading talk was by Dr. Jesus Vega Herrera of IMPI, a joint venture of 5 states of southeastern Mexico, emphasizing the value of intellectual property  and the integration of the overall strategy of the business with the innovation strategy.    Dr. Vega showed us impressive statistics  on the changes in human capital in Mexico in recent years, increasing the competitive stature of the country.  See  for more on the initiatives.

“Experiences in innovation in the water market”  was  the foundation of the talk by the Rotoplas chemical company.   Rotoplas has 9 plants in Mexico and 5 in other parts of Latin America.  The company has a history of innovation in the development of alternate materials for water containers, milk containers, filters and purification methods.    Innovation has been used internally for quality improvement of management improvement, as well in the development of ecologically sensitive technologies.    Their new projects are focused on recycling and reuse of water.  Some very compact, efficient  and sanitary toilet systems for use in rural areas generated  a lot of interest, as did very rugged drinking systems for schools and other public places.

Ricardo Alvarez presented  a study of best practices in innovation, from conference sponsor, Product Development Management Association.   He focused on all the aspects of creation of value in both services and products.   He used a wide variety of examples, including biomimetics to capture the audience’s imagination (although many were categorizing his examples according to the 40 principles as he spoke!)
We returned to the world of water for the paper from Jose Barros--that's the name of the company AND the name of the second-generation innovation leader.   He gave us a very dynamic tour of their work in irrigation, swimming pools, spas, and water purification systems, and their new ventures in information about water as well as the water itself.
The local committee organized a cultural evening at the Parque Santa Lucia.   We were treated to local dancers, a guitar/drum ensemble, an orchestra, and a guitar soloist with vocalist.   This was the 2422nd Thursday night performance of the Serenata Yucatena--quite an introduction to the modern culture of Merida to add to our museum experience last night. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Day 1, afternoon, 8th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Merida, MX

Five papers are scheduled for the after-lunch session at the Iberoamerican Innovation Congress in Merida, Mexico—2 USIT case studies, one TRIZ case study and one TRIZ methodology paper, and one paper on innovation portfolio management.  One was later postponed until tomorrow. 

Vicente Gonzalez Ladino from the Engineering Faculty of Quintana Roo started with a USIT application, Caso Sellador de PVC for the automotive industry. He guided us through the steps of the problem definition, the analysis, and the generation of alternative solutions.  A lot of chemistry goes into the problem definition phase in this example, since “simple PVC” is a complex product.   (These things always look easy in retrospect!   Here the hydrochloric acid reacts with one of the filler materials –calcium carbonate—creating calcium chloride, water – both liquid and gas-  and carbon dioxide) So the simplified (or ideal) state is to use the minimal materials to produce the useful product with no side effects (such as gases that damage the material.)   General USIT rules for using the system resources, plus knowledge of the effects operating within the system, rapidly produced an elegant solution – use CaO instead of CaCO3 to avoid production of CO2 (with much joking from the audience that this solution was discovered in pre-historic Mexico by the Mayas.) 

Juan Carlos Nishiyama reported on his group’s work at the Universidad technologica nacional in Argentina, in “Functions en el marco del USIT.”   He showed a combinatorial logic method for generating the closed world functions in USIT, and  the OAF (object, attribute, function) model that is a fast way to analyze and diagram root cause analysis. The specific case study looked at improvement of a rotary cutting tool.

Carlos Flores from Siemens worked with  Noel Leon’s group at TEC in Monterrey.  He reported on the methodology, based on TRIZ, using semantic search of global knowledge.   The practical case from Siemens was an electromechanical  low amperage circuit breaker with low capacitance.   More than 30 high-potential ideas were found, several patents are in progress, and the search took less than a week.   Both the FAST (function decomposition) diagram and the IWB Problem formulator™ analysis were used.   The formulator identified 33 directions and combinations of directions for innovation.    The Goldfire ™ semantic search tools were then used to look for methods of achieving the goals described by the formulator.  Natural language search found >50,000 documents which were not very relevant, but a tightly controlled keyword search found 11 highly relevant documents.  Some of those ideas were then further developed using Goldfire’s device analysis/trimming tool, which lead to further problem identification (don’t initiate an electric arc, thereby protecting the life of the components while leaving the utility unimpeded.)   The solution was not shown in detail since the group is pursuing patents now.

Jorge Antonio Lechugas and Jose Carlos Peraza  from the University faculty of chemistry in the Yucatan reported on the production of MgO recovered from saline pools  called “Las Coloradas” in the Yucatan, after the direct evaporation of sea water has been completed.   A solar thermal system both heats the salt residues and operates a generator for electric power production.   The details of the solubility of the MgSO4 in the brine as a function of temperature is the key to the development of the system that takes best advantage of the heat available.   There are 14 industrial saline areas in Mexico, and these methods could be used to recover Mg salts in all of them.  Other similar areas in Spain, France, and elsewhere may also benefit.

Cultural event:   We will meet at 8 for a bus trip to the Mayan Cultural Museum.  



8th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Merida, Mexico

Sixty people from Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and the US  gathered at the Hyatt in Merida, Yu, Mexico for the 8th Iberoamerican Innovation Congress, Nov. 20-22, 2013. Many university students participated in the tutorial sessions on the preceding days, then joined the main congress.   We were welcomed by the government economic development officials of the state of Yucatan (and 3 video photographers AND 5 still photographers!)  and the city of Merida.   AMETRIZ President Humberto Aguayo-Tellez declared the session open, and the director of economic development and the secretary of commerce gave short addresses on the importance of promotion of innovation.  (My loose translation of the topic, and the contents.)

The opening paper was delivered by Noel Leon, “How can we integrate TRIZ/QFD with new methods of innovation?   Blue Ocean Strategy, Design Thinking, Data Mining, Social Networks.”  Prof. Leon started with a review of invention and innovation with and without TRIZ, emphasizing the spiral nature of progress, and the need for continual attention to the changing needs of the customers and the need for business decisions.  

Blue Ocean strategy is now being taught in 1400 universities in 99 countries as a way of finding the business strategies for potential success amid all the possible improvements/innovations  in any competitive situation.   The classical TRIZ technical contradictions (trade-offs) are very similar to the Blue Ocean contradictions, and both methods agree that resolving a contradiction is the heart of breakthrough.  

“Design thinking”  is now used outside the design discipline and includes many of the aspects of QFD—understanding the customer, measuring the factors that are important to the customer, and in general making the human interaction the focus of the innovation process.  Both strategic and tactical levels of design thinking  are in use.   Ideality, with emphasis on performing the function without harm, is very useful in achieving the goals of the design thinking approach, and the Ideal Final Result formulation of solution helps the designer focus  on the functionality of the system.   Another aspect of design thinking is usually called “empathy” and encompasses many aspects of understanding the customer from many different points of view.     The experimentation and collaboration phases of design thinking likewise are compatible with the TRIZ methods, particularly the “effects” search systems, and the learning phase of design thinking echoes the feedback and improvement phases of all systems, from Deming’s  Plan-Do-Study-Act  to ARIZ’s stage 9 where each problem/solution is examined to see how the knowledge gained can improve the whole system. 

Prof. Leon introduce the tool  Quantum Leap Buzz, the leading provider of social media search, and a meta-tool for understanding the popularity of search terms.   It is becoming the leading indicator of unmet customer needs, and therefore the predictor of  plausible business directions.   It is a front end for TRIZ and Design Thinking, and input to the Blue Ocean Strategy on the relative reputation of competitors.

Conference organizer Guillermo Cortes Robles was the next speaker, emphasizing the social nature of innovation, in the motivation and collaboration methods of the innovators.   He challenged the group to consider how such a social interaction can have the speed of dynamic realignment required in today’s business world.   A partial answer is the evolution from “world wide web” to the semantic web that permeates all activity and facilitates access to massive databases whenever and wherever needed.   His demonstration of the linkages and networks of relationships between the data  in systems were impressive, and graphically emphasized the need for integrated understanding, rather than point-by point accumulation of information.   His examples from Amazon, Netflix, EBay, etc., made the theory come alive for the audience.   Extensive discussion (in 2 languages!) followed the 2 presentations.

After the break I led a workshop on the use of the 5- and 6-element versions of the method of complete (technical) system analysis—I’m trying to get the word “technical” dropped, since all systems  perform functions, so the distinction between technical and “non-technical” systems disappears.  
---------------Blog will continue after lunch  (hey, this is a semi-live report...)

Monday, November 11, 2013


Photos from the European TRIZ Association TRIZ Futures conference in Paris, Oct. 29-31, 2013


Tuesday, November 05, 2013



Eleven of us met in Clevedon, UK, for the UK TRIZ Forum # 5 on Nov. 1—some coming directly from Paris ETRIA,  one from Scotland, and the rest from around England.    No surprise to frequent readers of this blog:  the best learning may have happened in the hotel bar and the conference “gossip”  and the size of the group was perfect for discussion.  The program:

Ellen Domb
The Future Of TRIZ: An International Perspective
Adi Kavitzky
Deployment Of TRIZ In The Advertising & Marketing Worlds
Darrell Mann
PanGenics: TRIZ, Music Composition & Healthcare
Ellen Domb, Tim Brewer, Joe Miller
Crowdsourced and Crowdfunded Business Models Viewed as Complete (Technical) Systems
Tim Brewer, Ellen Domb
Using the TRIZ System Operator to Compare Traditional Product Development to Crowdsourced Product Development
Paul Howarth
PanSensics: Automated Mass Capture Of  Conflicts & Contradictions
Paul Filmore
Applying TRIZ to Graphic Design using Genetic Algorithms
Ian Mitchell
Moving from Inventive Principles and Trends to Solving problems with Standard Solutions
John Cooke
The future of the product development process – a TRIZ perspective

 The “proceedings” will be published as a collection of the presentations.  Contact  { Cara (at) }  for information. 

I gave the kick-off on the future of TRIZ, concluding (well, opening the discussion) that TRIZ will be absorbed into the supersystem, and that it has already started, being absorbed into systematic innovation (in many forms), into Six Sigma, and into the general world of knowledge transformation.  I challenged the group to complete an evolutionary potential diagram that I started to justify the conclusion.

Adi Kravitz got the group wrapped up in his ideas about TRIZ for advertising/marketing (although his background in intellectual property is equally fascinating.)   He has challenging questions for the TRIZ community about real research on uses of TRIZ, on turning TRIZ into a system for “creative” people to understand their clients’ needs.   

Darrell’s talk introduced “ PanGenics” – a method  for interactive composing,  threat could have many applications.   The initial projects are to create music that will aid healing.  

 Tim Brewer and I did a pair of papers that amplified our presentation at ETRIA, looking through the TRIZ 9 windows and complete system  “lenses” at the rapidly emerging  crowdsourcing and crowdfunding business models.

Paul Howarth  introduced the PanSensic  method for  understanding meaning and context.  (Back in the QFD days we called this translating the Voice of the Customer.)    Massive opportunities for listening in healthcare, utilities, marketing, fast-moving consumer goods,  and even for government understanding its citizens.

Paul Filmore repeated his ETRIA paper on using a genetic algorithm, with TRIZ elements  as the “chromosomes”  for the generation of graphic designs. 

Ian Mitchell’s paper stimulated a lot of group discussion, since it dealt with the ever-popular subject of teaching people to use TRIZ easily.   His solution to the problem of people who have difficulty expressing their problems as contradictions was to (brilliantly!) avoid the problem and guide them into using the standard solutions.

John Cooke concluded the program with his thorough discussion of the whole product development process, and the TRIZ perspectives on each phase of the process, and differences between industries in how formal/informal the “process” can be.  

In addition to discussing the presentations there were several  ideas about including much more of the UK TRIZ community in future years.


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