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A Powerful Methodology for Creative Problem Solving

By the Mind Tools Content Team

theory of inventive problem solving (tips) method is mainly used to

Projects don't always run smoothly. Even with all the analysis and data you need at your fingertips, sometimes you just can't see a way forward. At times like these, you need to develop creative solutions to the problems you face.

Chances are you already know about brainstorming , which can help with this sort of situation. But brainstorming depends on intuition and the existing knowledge of team members, and its results are often unpredictable and unrepeatable.

TRIZ, however, is a problem-solving philosophy based on logic, data and research, rather than on intuition.

It draws on the past knowledge and ingenuity of thousands of engineers to speed up creative problem solving for project teams. Its approach brings repeatability, predictability and reliability to the problem-solving process and delivers a set of dependable tools.

This article walks you through the essentials of TRIZ.

What is TRIZ?

TRIZ is the Russian acronym for the "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving," an international system of creativity developed in the U.S.S.R. between 1946 and 1985, by engineer and scientist Genrich S. Altshuller and his colleagues.

According to TRIZ, universal principles of creativity form the basis of innovation. TRIZ identifies and codifies these principles, and uses them to make the creative process more predictable.

In other words, whatever problem you're facing, somebody, somewhere, has already solved it (or one very like it). Creative problem solving involves finding that solution and adapting it to your problem.

TRIZ is most useful in roles such as product development, design engineering, and process management. For example, Six Sigma quality improvement processes often make use of TRIZ.

The Key TRIZ Tools

Let's look at two of the central concepts behind TRIZ: generalizing problems and solutions, and eliminating contradictions.

1. Generalizing Problems and Solutions

The primary findings of TRIZ research are as follows:

  • Problems and solutions are repeated across industries and sciences. By representing a problem as a "contradiction" (we explore this later in this article), you can predict creative solutions to that problem.
  • Patterns of technical evolution tend to repeat themselves across industries and sciences.
  • Creative innovations often use scientific effects outside the field where they were developed.

Using TRIZ consists of learning these repeating patterns of problem and solution, understanding the contradictions present in a situation, and developing new methods of using scientific effects.

You then apply the general TRIZ patterns to the specific situation that confronts you, and discover a generalized version of the problem.

Figure 1, below, illustrates this process.

Figure 1 – The TRIZ Problem-Solving Method

theory of inventive problem solving (tips) method is mainly used to

Here, you take the specific problem that you face and generalize it to one of the TRIZ general problems. From the TRIZ general problems, you identify the general TRIZ solution you need, and then consider how you can apply it to your specific problem.

The TRIZ databases are actually a collection of "open source" resources compiled by users and aficionados of the system (such as the 40 Principles and 76 Standard Solutions, which we look at, below).

2. Eliminating Contradictions

Another fundamental TRIZ concept is that there are fundamental contradictions at the root of most problems. In many cases, a reliable way to solve a problem is to eliminate these contradictions.

TRIZ recognizes two categories of contradictions:

  • The product gets stronger (good), but the weight increases (bad).
  • Service is customized to each customer (good), but the service delivery system gets complicated (bad).
  • Training is comprehensive (good), but it keeps employees away from their assignments (bad).

The key technical contradictions are summarized in the TRIZ Contradiction Matrix . As with all TRIZ resources, it takes time and study to become familiar with the Contradiction Matrix.

  • Software should be complex (to have many features), but simple (to be easy to learn).
  • Coffee should be hot (to be enjoyed), but cool (to avoid burning the drinker).
  • An umbrella should be large (to keep the rain off), but small (to be maneuverable in a crowd).

You can solve physical contradictions with the TRIZ Separation Principles . These separate your requirements according to basic categories of Space, Time and Scale.

How to Use TRIZ Principles – an Example

Begin to explore TRIZ by applying it to a simple, practical problem.

For example, consider the specific problem of a furniture store in a small building. The store wants to attract customers, so it needs to have its goods on display. But it also needs to have enough storage space to keep a range of products ready for sale.

Using TRIZ, you can establish that the store has a physical contradiction. The furniture needs to be large (to be useful and attractive), but also small (to be stored in as little space as possible). Using TRIZ, the store owners generalize this contradiction into a general problem and apply one of the 40 Principles of Problem Solving – a key TRIZ technique – to it.

They find a viable general solution in Principle 1 – Segmentation. This advocates dividing an object or system into different parts, or making it easy to take apart. This could lead the owners to devise flat-pack versions of their furniture, so that display models can take up the room that they need while inventory occupies much less space per unit. This is the specific solution.

You, too, can use the 40 Principles of Problem Solving, or the 40 Inventive Principles, and the Contradiction Matrix to help you with your problem-solving.

Five Top TRIZ Concepts and Techniques

TRIZ comes with a range of ideas and techniques beyond the basic principles outlined above. Some are conceptual and analytical, such as:

  • The Law of Ideality. This states that any system tends to become more reliable throughout its life, through regular improvement.
  • Functional Modeling, Analysis and Trimming. TRIZ uses these methods to define problems.
  • Locating the Zones of Conflict. (This is known to Six Sigma problem-solvers as " Root Cause Analysis .")

Some are more prescriptive. For example:

  • The Laws of Technical Evolution and Technology Forecasting . These categorize technical evolution by demand, function and system.
  • The 76 Standard Solutions . These are specific solutions devised to a range of common problems in design and innovation.

You can use one such tool or many to solve a problem, depending on its nature.

TRIZ is a system of creative problem solving, commonly used in engineering and process management. It follows four basic steps:

  • Define your specific problem.
  • Find the TRIZ generalized problem that matches it.
  • Find the generalized solution that solves the generalized problem.
  • Adapt the generalized solution to solve your specific problem.

Most problems stem from technical or physical contradictions. Apply one of hundreds of TRIZ principles and laws to eliminate these contradictions, and you can solve the problem.

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TRIZ is a systematic approach for understanding and solving any problem, boosting brain power and creativity, and ensuring innovation. 

We regularly run live webinars to provide an overview of TRIZ processes and tools, register for free to find out more?

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Watch with German subtitles /  Mit Deutschen Untertiteln >>

The Origins of TRIZ

Beginning in 1946 and still evolving, TRIZ was developed by the Soviet inventor Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues. TRIZ in Russian = Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch or in English, The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. Years of Russian research into patents uncovered that there are only 100 known solutions to fundamental problems and made them universally available in three TRIZ solution lists and the Effects Database .

Through enabling clear thinking and the generation of innovative ideas, TRIZ helps you to find an ideal solution without the need for compromise. However it is not a Theory - it is a big toolkit consisting of many simple tools - most are easy to learn and immediately apply to problems. This amazing capability helps us tackle any problem or challenge even when we face difficult, intractable or apparently impossible situations. 

TRIZ helps us keep detail in its place, to see the big picture and avoid getting tripped up with irrelevance, waylaid by trivial issues or seduced by premature solutions. It works alongside and supports other toolkits, and is particularly powerful for getting teams to work together to understand problems effectively, collectively generate ideas and innovate.

Developed by Oxford Creativity, Oxford TRIZ™ is simpler than standard or classic TRIZ. Its tools and processes are faster to learn and easier to apply. Oxford TRIZ is true to classic TRIZ (neither adding nor removing anything) but it delivers: 

More powerful results

Faster and easier ways to learn and apply triz, step-by-step processes for applying triz toolkits, 'at a glance' understanding, supported by our hallmark commissioned cartoons (from clive goddard), philosophy of making every session effective, efficient and fun, gap-filling where other toolkits fall short.

TRIZ enthusiasts who have failed to use TRIZ effectively or to embed TRIZ into their organisations hail Oxford TRIZ as revelatory.

Very impressed with how Oxford Creativity has been able to create a methodology for applying TRIZ that can be widely used.

"I have learnt new and powerful ways of looking at problems differently to come up with new and viable solutions. It is a toolset that I think all engineers would find useful. "

Michelle Chartered (Aeronautical) Engineer

Join one of our free webinars to learn more about TRIZ, its tools and how they can help you create innovative solutions to your problems.

Alternatively, sign up for Oxford TRIZ Live - Fundamental Problem Solving, our new online course that will give you a solid foundation in TRIZ concepts, tools and techniques and get you using them from day one.

History of TRIZ 

How did triz start who was the founder altshuller.

It seems unfair that the work of Altshuller, perhaps one of the greatest engineers of the twentieth century remains quite obscure; especially as the his powerful findings enhances and transforms the work of managerial and technical teams in most countries of the world. He was a remarkable and charismatic man who innovated innovation and inspired many, as an inventor, teacher, and science-fiction author (Altov). The stories about Genrich Saulovich Altshuller (1926-1998) founder of TRIZ,  derive mostly from those who worked with him, a community of Jewish intellectuals from Ukraine, Russia, and other countries once part of the Soviet Union. Many of these left Russia when they could, in the early 1990’s, taking TRIZ with them, to reach business and technical communities all over the world. Although TRIZ is a Russian acronym*, in today’s troubled world it is worth emphasising that TRIZ is much more Zelensky than Putin – as it was developed in a Siberian Gulag by those who stood up to Stalin.

Altshuller's groundbreaking work in the field of creative problem-solving derives from analysing the patent database and identifying and sharing the patterns of success in the world’s published knowledge. This is unlike most other creative techniques which cluster round brain prompts to improve brainstorming. TRIZ contains all these too, but they seem less significant than the power of the unique solution techniques uncovered by the TRIZ community in the last century.

Altshuller’s life

Genrich Saulovich Altshuller was bought up in Baku, Azerbaijan, but was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on October 15, 1926, at those times both countries were a part of the Soviet Union. Just too young to serve in World War II, Altshuller was patenting his inventions from 1940 when he was just 14.  He trained as a diver and electrician and later at the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute in Baku. Altshuller joined the Soviet Navy as a mechanical engineer in his early twenties and worked in the Baku patent department, interacting with the Caspian Sea flotilla of the Soviet Navy where, as in all wars, creativity and invention flourished; this had a profound impact on his thinking and future endeavours. It was here that he began to formalize his Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, together with his colleague Raphael Shapiro. TRIZ was born out of the pair's aspiration to create a systematic approach to problem-solving that could replace the hit-or-miss strategies often used by inventors.

Altshuller’s genius observation of the frequent occurrence of identical solutions in different industries

Altshuller ’bottled’ the inventive process. He identified how frequently inventors duplicate each other’s work as they unknowingly reinvent the wheel. They fail to recognise that their efforts are repeating work already achieved (and documented), because their results are published in their own specialist technical language. Altshuller could see how science and engineering (by this time segmented and specialised) had become a ‘Tower of Babel’** because each discipline had its own different technical jargon. It was as if there were now many tribes in technology, with their own tribal language, which they used to write their papers and patents; (Chemists spoke chemistry and physicist spoke physics etc.). Altshuller showed that by stripping out details (which removed most technical jargon) both the problems being solved and their answers were revealed. This research showed that there are only about 100 fundamental ways to solve any problem. Altshuller and his teams gave these ‘ hundred answers to anything’ in three overlapping lists which show us how to:-

  • Resolve contradictions (40 Principles)
  • Invent future Products (8 Trends)
  • Deal with Harms, boost insufficiencies and measure or detect (76 Standard Solutions)

These concept solutions underly all inventive problem-solving and they help us solve particular problems  through using the TRIZ Contradiction Matrix and Separation Principles and TRIZ Function Mapping. Also there is the TRIZ Effects Database which answers ‘how to’ questions – so if we wanted to know how to ‘change viscosity’ it would show us all published ways and give an explanation of each. (see   https://www.triz.co.uk/triz-effects-database )

Development of TRIZ:

Altshuller and his TRIZ community created their database of technical problems and solutions from various industries by undertaking an exhaustive study of patents, scientific literature, and innovation history. TRIZ  ‘uncovered’ all the ways humankind knows to tackle tough challenges and was a vast collaboration of many (including Rafael Shapiro) to formalise the TRIZ methodology by identifying patterns and principles common to all successful inventive solutions. TRIZ aimed to stop needless time-wasting duplication by providing a systematic approach to enable anyone to overcome problems and recognise and resolve contradictions, deal with harms and barriers in their work.

Once built the TRIZ foundations were their gift to the world distilling a vast store of human wisdom into the 3 simple lists of TRIZ concepts. Some erroneously describe TRIZ as complicated because it derives from more rigour and research than all other toolkits put together, but its power is its logical steps and simplicity. It is as easy as learning chess - each tool is can be quickly understood to see how it can be ‘played’ in specific ways – the challenge is knowing how to combine the tools together. There are as many solutions to problems as outcomes in chess – mastering both takes quick learning (and talent?) and then as much practice as possible.

Soviet Suppression:

Despite its immense potential, TRIZ was not initially well-received by the Soviet government, Altshuller's claim that scientists and engineers duplicated each other’s work  was unacceptable "non-conformist" thinking, and TRIZ was initially labelled as "bourgeois pseudoscience." Altshuller, along with several of his colleagues, often faced oppression, and their work was kept underground in several different periods. By the late 1940s Altshuller was arrested on political charges and spent time in the infamous Vorkuta Gulag in the Russian Arctic before being released in 1954 (after Stalin’s death). On his arrest the KGB ‘interviewed’ his widowed mother, killing her by pushing her from the balcony of her flat. Despite these setbacks, his determination to pursue his theories did not wane even in the Gulag which he described as his university of life.

Upon his release, Altshuller returned to his work with renewed vigour, working through thousands of patents, extracting their patterns of problem-solving into the TRIZ lists, and also uncovering the contradiction toolkit and the other creative concepts essential to tackling problems such as the Ideal and  Ideality, Thinking in Time and Scale (9 boxes) plus many other tools for idea generation.

Recognition and success

Altshuller's determination prevailed, and in the 1960s, he managed to publish some of his TRIZ-related works. He also conducted lectures and workshops to disseminate the principles of TRIZ across the Soviet Union and beyond. His community expanded to include school children from his fortnightly TRIZ comics and his most famous book ‘And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared’. His ideas gained traction among engineers, leading to the formation of TRIZ associations and study groups. After 1990 the political reforms which swept the Soviet Union and its territories enabled TRIZ to surge in popularity and recognition. Altshuller's efforts were finally acknowledged, and he received numerous awards and honours for his groundbreaking work.

TRIZ Today?

Genrich Altshuller's legacy lives on through TRIZ, which continues to influence problem-solving and innovation processes worldwide. TRIZ has been integrated into various industries, including engineering, product development, and management, allowing practitioners to find inventive solutions efficiently. It has proved an essential innovation toolkit in countries like South Korea, China and Japan where they have moved to the top of Patent league tables, pushing aside counties like the UK where there is no official or university take up (exceptions include the universities of Imperial and Bath). However one the world’s leading TRIZ consultancies is based in the UK and created the popular Oxford TRIZ TM.   Russian TRIZ development seems to be detailed and complicated (the opposite of TRIZ simplicity)

Altshuller's Legacy

Altshuller’s income derived more from his writings than his TRIZ work because he made TRIZ free to the world and public domain. Altshuller published so many books, articles, and scientific papers, which inspire  and clarify the thinking of generations of inventors, innovators, and problem-solvers. In his later years he developed Parkinson’s disease, and he worked on sharing all the habits of geniuses and his last book was called ‘How to be a genius or heretic’ and he died on September 24, 1998, in Petrozavodsk, Russia. Altshuller's work has influenced numerous fields, including engineering, business strategy, and software development. Despite TRIZ being less known than other toolkit , his impact on the world remains undeniable if still largely under-appreciated. The power of TRIZ for boosting genius brain power, inventive problem-solving and innovation could change the world for the better if only it was known and accepted everywhere.

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TRIZ – The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

Posted by Tanner Zornes

TRIZ - Theorey of Inventive Problem Solving

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. TRIZ began in the 1940s by a soviet engineer named Genrich Altshuller. He recognized that technological advancements follow a systematic and natural progression. As a result, Genrich invented TRIZ, creating common solutions that can be redeployed to business problems for specific improvements. The 40 Principles of TRIZ are like the old idiom, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” 

In other words, hundreds of really smart inventors have lived before today. TRIZ takes what is already created, adapts, and deploys it to solve today’s problems. Moreover, TRIZ uses tables of inherent contradictions and innovation principles, not trial and error, to reform the design challenge and remove physical contradictions.

theory of inventive problem solving (tips) method is mainly used to

  • By this point in the DMAIC methodology, you should have a solid understanding of the problem that needs to be solved.
  • Find the TRIZ General Problems that match your specific problem
  • Identify which general solutions of TRIZ best apply to your specific problem.
  • Lastly, apply the general solutions to your specific problem

Applying TRIZ

TRIZ works best in situations where other Six Sigma tools have not worked. Think of it as another way to find solutions that exist outside the normal process boundaries. You could use it during the Improve phase of the Six Sigma technique DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) or the design phase of DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify). ( reference )

You are not expected to memorize all 40 principles as part of your Six Sigma preparation. Rather, you should be familiar with each TRIZ principle in order to recognize answers on the exam. With that said, each of the below principles has been paired with a brief explanation and examples.

Principle 1: Segmentation

theory of inventive problem solving (tips) method is mainly used to

Divide an object into similar sections to add value to the product.

  • Different-sized cutting guards on hair clippers.
  • Focal lenses on a camera

Principle 2: Taking Out or Extraction

Take out the unnecessary portions of a product or extract the most necessary portions. As a result, the product becomes streamlined.

  • Self-check-in apps for dining-in restaurants (taking out long wait times)
  • Music playing in restrooms (without the actual musicians)
  • Take out lactose in milk, and the result is an allergy-friendly milk

Principle 3: Local Quality

Adjust item properties to fit user/application requirements.

  • Ergonomic keyboards
  • Pens with erasable ink

Principle 4: Asymmetry

Modify an object from a balanced state to an uneven state. Though contrary to nature, asymmetry adds value to a variety of products.

  • Water bottles (small spout for easy drinking, large base to hold water)
  • Pencil Grips

Principle 5: Merging, Consolidation, or Combining

Combine concepts, items, or systems with those of similar properties. Consequently, the objective becomes more lean.

  • Printers that can print in color and black and white
  • Roofers that put up Christmas lights during the winter season

Principle 6: Universality

Consolidate parts of an object into one singular function. With this in mind, the product receives a wider application of use.

  • A tablet compared to a laptop when you are on the go.
  • USB drivers verses CDs or floppy disks.

Principle 7: Nested Doll

Similar to Russian nesting dolls, objects fit inside each other. This allows for space consolidation.

  • A portable chess set:
  • Stackable chairs

Principle 8: Anti-Weight

Offset the weight of an object by combining it with things that provide lift. That is to say, the object has less weight.

  • Hot air balloons
  • Hydraulic car jacks

Principle 9: Preliminary Anti-action

Implement measures to control harmful actions or consequences DURING a necessary process.

  • Cars with vehicle blind spot monitors in order to avoid collisions when changing lanes

Principle 10: Preliminary Action

Perform the required change in ADVANCE. To clarify, the action occurs before a process begins.

  • Boxed furniture that contains pre-drilled holes for assembly
  • Cell phone notification when power is low, which prevents the phone from dying

Principle 11: Beforehand Cushioning

In cases where there is low consistency, provide a means for cushioning the worse-case scenarios.

File:HST engine emergency stop switch inside 43187 (26734553252).jpg

  • Sprinkler systems in case of fires
  • Emergency shut-off switches

Principle 12: Equipotentiality

Solutions that involve a change to an object’s environment enable the desired results compared to a direct change to the object.

  • Laundry chute – using gravity to bring your laundry downstairs

Principle 13: The Other Way Around

File:Burger King Drive Thru.JPG

Do it in reverse or opposite ways, such as drive-thru restaurants vs. sit-in diners.

Principle 14: Spheroidality – Curvature

Introduce a bend or shape to an object. In addition, this includes how the object moves.

  • Archways expand the inside of buildings, which allows more room and improved acoustics.
  • A drill gun’s motion compared to a hammer’s motion

Principle 15: Dynamics

Change an object or system in order to create optimal flow.

  • Pressure valves for gas and liquid control

Principle 16: Partial or Excessive Actions

If optimal performance cannot be achieved, aim for more or less to create the desired effect.

  • Using paint primer on an object before the actual painting process

Principle 17: Another Dimension

Take an object from one dimension or plan to two planes. This includes two dimensions to three, or vice versa.

  • Spiral staircase compared to normal stairs
  • A desk shipped pre-assembled versus assembled in advance.

Principle 18: Mechanical Vibration

Introduce vibration to an object. Though contrary to Six Sigma’s goal to reduce process variation, increased vibration is beneficial under the right circumstances

  • Electric toothbrush, which allows for better teeth cleaning compared to a normal toothbrush
  • Increased vibration in a foot massage leads to a better stronger massage

Principle 19: Periodic Action

Change a steady action to occur in intervals. This allows users to increase or decrease magnitude during the process.

  • Lights and sirens on a fire truck notify other cars to move
  • Spring-loaded nerf guns

Principle 20: Continuity of Useful Action

File:Lake Tawakoni Iron Bridge Dam in East Texas.jpg

Continuous flow of a process or object. This can also include eliminating idle objects.

  • Dams use falling water, thus generating electricity.
  • Crossfit exercise routines, which consequently create a more complete workout.

Principle 21: Skipping or Rushing Through

Conduct at-risk or harmful stages at high speeds in order to avoid extra damage.

  • Friction can heat up an object, which leads to warped material. Faster cutting speeds prevent more warping.

Principle 22: Blessing in Disguise – Harm into Benefit

Make the most out of harmful factors in order to create a positive effect.

  • Composting, such as tossing egg shells into a garden to improve soil quality
  • Rebuilding infrastructure after natural disasters

Principle 23: Feedback

Add performance data to a process or object. A Six Sigma example of feedback is Statistical Process Control .

  • Automated survey inquiries allow people to receive quick feedback from customers.
  • Audiovisuals on the TV so that viewers can know the TV volume

Principle 24: Intermediary/Mediator

Use an intermediary vehicle or process. In other words, using someone or something as a link between two processes.

  • Using email in order to distribute communication to a group of people
  • US Postal Services, which ships goods or letters between people
  • Food processors so that people without teeth can eat, too!

Principle 25: Self-Service

An object or process that services itself or provides auxiliary assistance.

  • Automated phone call screening so that callers are connected to the correct department.
  • Car wash stations that include self-vacuum stations so that customers can clean inside and outside of their car!

Principle 26: Copying

Use less expensive material that is more accessible to replace expensive and less available parts.

  • 3-D Printing
  • Replacing metal components with high durable plastic ones

Principle 27: Cheap Short-Living Objects

Replace expensive, quality objects with multiple cheaper objects. This leads to a compromise on certain quality aspects, but provides lower costs.

  • Glass plates and cups are nice until you need to wash them. However, paper plates and cups can be thrown away after use
  • Washable diapers are cheaper compared to disposable diapers, but single-use diapers are more easy to use

Principle 28: Mechanics Substitution

File:Car Keys 1.jpg

Replace a mechanical system with an electronic, sensory, or chemical system.

  • Dictation or saying words aloud to be typed compared to typing it out by hand
  • A car fob can unlock the viable faster than using the car key slot

Principle 29: Pneumatics and Hydraulics

Use gas or liquid parts instead of solid parts.

  • Hydraulic brakes compared to standard brakes
  • Gel-filled insoles in shoes provide better foot support compared to standard insoles

Principle 30: Flexible Shells and Thin Films

Use flexible materials that are more durable, lighter, and cost effective. 

  • Bullet-proof vests are made out of light-weight material called kevlar, which is better than heavy metal for firearm safety
  • Bubble wrap is great for shipping goods because of its extra cushioning

Principle 31: Porous Materials

Add holes (pores) to an object. This leads to a lighter and less dense object.

  • Homes that use fiberglass for insulation
  • Sponges to absorb moisture

Principle 32: Color Changes

Change the color of an object or the color around the object.

  • Camouflage, which allows users to blend in to their environment
  • Lighter colored homes reduce heat absorption from the sun.

Principle 33: Homogeneity

The interaction of two or more objects of the same material or purpose.

  • Blood transfusions only work if the user has the same blood type as the donor
  • Wooden dowels to join pieces of wood together

Principle 34: Rejecting, Discarding – Recovering, Regeneration

Reject or discard the object after completion or recover it after completion.

  • SpaceEx launch spacecraft and the rocket returns to the launch pad after ascent. As a result, the cost of space travel is reduced
  • Climbing the career ladder by changing jobs

Principle 35: Parameter Changes

Includes any input/output change such as temperature, durability, or pressure. Lots of things can fit in this bucket!

  • Move into a larger work space in order to increase output
  • Cakes batter baked at a lower temperature makes a better cake

Principle 36: Phase Transitions

Gradual changes to certain specs such as volume or pressure.

  • Switching gears in a vehicle, which reduces gas consumption
  • Move objects to cooler temperatures such as a fridge to decrease its heat

Principle 37: Thermal Expansions

File:Hobo stove convection 2.jpg

Use heat or pressure in order to achieve desired results.

  • Use heat to expand pipes so that they can connect. Cool pipes to cement them

Principle 38: Accelerated Oxidation

Replace common air with oxygen rich air.

  • Ventilators assist to treat patients that struggle to breath
  • Oxygen rich air is better fuel for fire, which can be applied during heat treatment

Principle 39: Inert Atmosphere

Negate moving or changing settings with less mobile or chemically inactive spaces

  • Fire extinguishers work to move oxygen way from the flames. This results in putting out the fire
  • Vacuum sealed bags are great space savers because the air is taken out of the object

Principle 40: Composite Materials

Unlike principle 5, composite materials combine different types of materials together.

  • The body of an aircrafts is made of metals, foam, plastics, kevlar, and more. The principle also applies to the insides of vehicles.

IASSC Green Belt Sample Question

Question: Which of the following ideas best follows the TRIZ principle of “The Other Way Around?”

(A) Using hydraulic technology over gas-powered equipment

(B) Utilizing a trash compactor to maximize tonnage per pickup

(C) Baking cookies at a higher temperature

(D) Escalators in an airport or mall

Unlock Additional Members-only Content!

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D: “The Other Way Around” (Principle 13) refers to the opposite way of doing something. Stairs requires people to move in a stationary environment whereas escalators create a moving environment while the people remain stationary.

Additional Resources

https://www.aitriz.org/articles/40p_triz.pdf – This is a great book extract for anyone who wants to practice TRIZ.

Comments (1)

MODIFIER program is based on ARIZ, TRIZ tools (algorithmized method of finding innovative solutions) essentially an electronic guide to the stages of the search workflow solutions of inventive problems. Designed for learning and mastering (by examples) data techniques, as well as for further independent work on the search innovative solutions (the language in one version is Russian, in the other – English). Added 4 more PROGRAMS. “MODIFIER” program (version 1.7): https://b-b.by/modules/tr/mco_eng.htm

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TRIZ: Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

  • The TRIZ method is an organized, systematic, and creative problem-solving framework. It was developed in 1946 by Soviet inventor and author Genrich Altshuller who studied 200,000 patents to determine if there were patterns in innovation .
  • Altshuller acknowledged that not every innovation was necessarily groundbreaking in scope or ambition. From the result of his research, he created five levels of innovation , with Level 1 innovations resulting from obvious or conventional solutions and Level 5 innovations resulting in new ideas that propelled technology forward.
  • The TRIZ method has been altered multiple times since it was released and may appear complicated. However, problem-solving teams can take comfort from the fact that others have most likely prevailed against similar problems in the past.

The TRIZ method is an organized, systematic, and creative problem-solving framework. The TRIZ method was developed in 1946 by Soviet inventor and author Genrich Altshuller who studied thousands of inventions across many industries to determine if there were any patterns in innovation and the problems encountered. 

Table of Contents

Understanding the TRIZ method

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch , translated as “The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” in English.

For this reason, the TRIZ method is sometimes referred to as the TIPS method.

From careful research of over 200,000 patents, Altshuller and his team discovered that 95% of problems faced by engineers in a specific industry had already been solved.

Instead, the list was used to provide a systematic methodology that would allow teams to focus their creativity and encourage innovation .

In essence, the TRIZ method is based on the simple hypothesis that somebody, somewhere in the world has solved the same problem already.

Creativity, according to Altshuller, meant finding that prior solution and then adapting it to the problem at hand.

The five levels of the TRIZ method

While Altshuller analyzed hundreds of thousands of patents, he acknowledged that not every innovation was necessarily groundbreaking in scope or ambition. 

After ten years of research between 1964 and 1974, he assigned each patent a value based on five levels of innovation :

Level 1 (32% of all patents)

These are innovations that utilize obvious or conventional solutions with well-established techniques.

Level 2 (45%)

The most common form where minor innovations are made that solve technical contradictions.

These are easily overcome when combining knowledge from different but related industries.

Level 3 (18%)

These are inventions that resolve a physical contradiction and require knowledge from non-related industries.

Elements of technical systems are either completely replaced or partly changed.

Level 4 (4%)

Or innovations where a new technical system is synthesized.

This means innovation is based on science and creative endeavor and not on technology.

Contradictions may be present in old, unrelated technical systems.

Level 5 (1%)

The rarest and most complex patents involved the discovery of new solutions and ideas that propel existing technology to new levels.

These are pioneering inventions that result in new systems and inspire subsequent innovation in the other four levels over time.

How the TRIZ method works

Since its release, the TRIZ method has been refined and altered by problem-solvers and scientists multiple times. But the problem-solving framework it espouses remains more or less the same:

Gather necessary information

Problem solvers must start by gathering the necessary information to solve the problem.

This includes reference materials, processes, materials, and tools.

Organize the information

Information related to the problem should also be collected, organized, and analyzed.

This may pertain to the practical experience of the problem, competitor solutions, and historical trial-and-error attempts.

Transform the information into a generic problem

Once the specific problem has been identified, the TRIZ method encourages the problem solvers to transform it into a generic problem.

Generic solutions can then be formulated and, with the tools at hand, the team can then create a specific solution that solves the specific problem.

Make sense of that

The last step in the TRIZ method appears to be rather complicated. But it is important for innovators to remember that most problems are not specific or unique to their particular circumstances.

Someone in the world at some point in time has faced the same issue and overcome it.

When to Use TRIZ:

TRIZ is a valuable problem-solving approach in a variety of scenarios:

1. Complex Technical Challenges:

TRIZ is particularly effective for solving complex engineering and technical problems, especially those involving conflicting requirements or constraints.

2. Innovation and Design:

When organizations seek to foster innovation in product design, TRIZ can help identify inventive solutions and drive creativity.

3. Product Development:

TRIZ can be applied at various stages of product development, from concept generation to troubleshooting and optimization.

4. Process Improvement:

It is useful for optimizing processes and operations, reducing inefficiencies, and eliminating bottlenecks.

5. Patent Analysis:

TRIZ can assist in analyzing patents and inventions to uncover the inventive principles and strategies used by others.

How to Use TRIZ:

Applying TRIZ effectively involves a systematic approach that leverages its principles and tools:

1. Define the Problem:

Clearly define the problem or challenge you are facing, including any contradictions or conflicts within the problem statement.

2. Identify Contradictions:

Identify the contradictions or conflicts inherent in the problem. These could be technical contradictions (e.g., increase strength vs. reduce weight) or physical contradictions (e.g., increase temperature vs. reduce temperature).

3. Apply Inventive Principles:

Consult the TRIZ inventive principles and tools to identify solutions that resolve the contradictions. These principles provide guidance on how to overcome specific challenges.

4. Ideate and Innovate:

Encourage creative thinking and brainstorming to generate potential solutions based on the inventive principles and insights gained from TRIZ analysis .

5. Evaluate and Select Solutions:

Evaluate the generated solutions for feasibility, effectiveness, and alignment with the ideal final result (IFR). Select the most promising solutions for further development.

6. Implement and Test:

Implement the chosen solutions and test them in practice. Monitor their effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.

Drawbacks and Limitations of TRIZ:

While TRIZ is a powerful methodology for inventive problem-solving, it is not without its drawbacks and limitations:

1. Complexity:

TRIZ can be complex and may require training and expertise to apply effectively, especially for novices.

2. Not a Panacea:

TRIZ may not be suitable for every problem. Some challenges may be better addressed through simpler problem-solving methods.

3. Cultural and Language Barriers:

TRIZ originated in Russia and has its own terminology, which can be a barrier for individuals from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

4. Resource-Intensive:

The extensive analysis and application of TRIZ principles can be resource-intensive, particularly in terms of time and expertise.

5. Not Suited for Non-Technical Problems:

TRIZ is primarily designed for technical and engineering problems and may not be well-suited for non-technical challenges.

What to Expect from Using TRIZ:

Using TRIZ can lead to several outcomes and benefits:

1. Creative Solutions:

TRIZ helps individuals and teams identify inventive solutions that may not be obvious through traditional problem-solving approaches.

2. Contradiction Resolution:

It offers a systematic way to address and resolve contradictions and conflicts within problems.

3. Innovation and Optimization:

TRIZ can drive innovation in product design, process improvement, and optimization efforts.

4. Structured Problem-Solving:

It provides a structured and systematic approach to problem-solving, making it easier to tackle complex challenges.

5. Knowledge Transfer:

TRIZ allows organizations to capture and transfer knowledge about inventive solutions across different projects and teams.

Complementary Frameworks to Enhance TRIZ:

TRIZ can be further enhanced when combined with complementary frameworks and techniques:

1. Lean Six Sigma:

Lean Six Sigma complements TRIZ by focusing on process improvement and waste reduction. Combining both approaches can lead to optimized processes with inventive solutions.

2. Design Thinking:

Design thinking complements TRIZ by emphasizing user-centered design, empathy, and iterative ideation. It encourages innovative solutions that meet user needs.

3. Brainstorming:

Brainstorming sessions can be used in conjunction with TRIZ to generate a wide range of ideas before applying TRIZ’s systematic analysis .

4. Root Cause Analysis:

Root cause analysis techniques help identify the underlying causes of problems, which can then be addressed using TRIZ’s inventive principles.

5. Simulation and Modeling:

Simulations and modeling tools can be used to test and validate TRIZ-based solutions before implementation.


The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) is a powerful and structured methodology for inventive problem-solving.

By leveraging the principles of TRIZ, individuals and teams can identify inventive solutions to complex technical challenges, foster innovation in product design, and optimize processes.

While TRIZ may have some limitations and complexities, its benefits in driving creativity, resolving contradictions, and providing a structured problem-solving approach make it a valuable tool for individuals and organizations seeking inventive solutions.

When combined with complementary frameworks and techniques, TRIZ becomes an even more potent force for innovation and creative problem-solving, allowing organizations to overcome technical challenges and achieve breakthroughs in their fields.

Case Studies

Product Design Improvement

Imagine a company that manufactures smartphones and wants to enhance the design of their devices to stand out in the market. They identify the problem as “Stagnant Smartphone Design.”

  • Gather Necessary Information : The team collects data on existing smartphone designs, materials, user feedback, and market trends.
  • Organize the Information : They analyze existing smartphone designs, including those of competitors, and categorize common design elements and user preferences.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem : The generic problem becomes “How to create a smartphone design that appeals to a wide range of users and differentiates from competitors.”
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution : The team utilizes TRIZ tools to generate innovative design concepts. They explore principles like “Use of Contradictions” to balance features like aesthetics and functionality.
  • Recognize Commonality : The team researches historical smartphone design breakthroughs and identifies elements that have successfully appealed to users in the past.

This process may lead to a novel smartphone design that incorporates innovative features, such as flexible displays, while addressing common user preferences.

Supply Chain Optimization

A logistics company faces challenges in optimizing its supply chain operations to reduce costs and improve efficiency. They define the problem as “Inefficient Supply Chain Operations.”

  • Gather Necessary Information : Data on current supply chain processes, transportation methods, warehousing, and inventory management are gathered.
  • Organize the Information : The team analyzes existing supply chain operations, identifies bottlenecks, and reviews industry best practices.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem : The generic problem becomes “How to create a highly efficient and cost-effective supply chain system.”
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution : TRIZ tools are applied to generate innovative solutions. Principles like “Trimming” are used to eliminate redundant steps in the supply chain.
  • Recognize Commonality : The team researches successful supply chain optimizations in other industries and adapts relevant strategies.

The result may be a streamlined supply chain system that reduces transportation costs, minimizes inventory waste, and enhances overall efficiency.

Energy-Efficient Building Design

An architectural firm aims to design environmentally friendly buildings with superior energy efficiency. They identify the problem as “Inefficient Building Energy Consumption.”

  • Gather Necessary Information : Data on existing building designs, construction materials, HVAC systems, and renewable energy technologies are collected.
  • Organize the Information : The team analyzes current building designs, identifies energy consumption patterns, and reviews sustainable building practices.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem : The generic problem becomes “How to design buildings that maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact.”
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution : TRIZ tools are used to generate innovative building design concepts. Principles like “Ideal Final Result” help in envisioning energy-neutral structures.
  • Recognize Commonality : The team studies environmentally friendly building designs worldwide and integrates successful strategies into their projects.

The outcome may be groundbreaking building designs that incorporate passive heating and cooling, energy-efficient materials, and renewable energy sources to achieve net-zero energy consumption.

Medical Device Innovation

A medical device manufacturer wants to develop a groundbreaking medical device to revolutionize patient care. They identify the problem as “Limited Innovation in Medical Devices.”

  • Gather Necessary Information : Data on current medical device technologies, patient needs, regulatory requirements, and clinical studies are gathered.
  • Organize the Information : The team reviews existing medical devices, identifies gaps in patient care, and studies medical technology advancements.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem : The generic problem becomes “How to create a transformative medical device that significantly improves patient outcomes.”
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution : TRIZ tools are applied to generate innovative medical device concepts. Principles like “Contradiction Resolution” help address challenges like miniaturization and enhanced functionality.
  • Recognize Commonality : The team studies pioneering medical device innovations and incorporates successful design elements into their project.

Key takeaways

  • TRIZ Method: The TRIZ method is a problem-solving framework developed by Genrich Altshuller in 1946. TRIZ stands for “Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch,” which translates to “The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.”
  • Origin and Purpose: Altshuller studied thousands of patents to identify patterns in innovation and problem-solving across various industries. He aimed to create a systematic methodology for problem-solving that encourages creativity and innovation .
  • Level 1: Obvious or conventional solutions using well-established techniques (32% of patents).
  • Level 2: Minor innovations overcoming technical contradictions by combining knowledge from related industries (45%).
  • Level 3: Inventions resolving physical contradictions using knowledge from non-related industries (18%).
  • Level 4: Innovations synthesizing new technical systems based on science and creativity (4%).
  • Level 5: Pioneering inventions that lead to new systems and inspire innovation in other levels (1%).
  • Gather Necessary Information: Collect relevant information about the problem, processes, materials, and tools.
  • Organize the Information: Analyze and organize information related to the problem, including practical experience, competitor solutions, and historical attempts.
  • Transform into a Generic Problem: Transform the specific problem into a generic form to formulate generic solutions.
  • Apply Tools and Create a Solution: Use available tools to create a specific solution that addresses the specific problem.
  • Recognize Commonality: Recognize that most problems have been faced by others in the past and have likely been overcome.
  • TRIZ is a systematic problem-solving framework developed by Genrich Altshuller.
  • It categorizes innovation into five levels based on the nature of the solution.
  • The TRIZ method involves gathering and organizing information, transforming the problem into a generic form, applying tools, and recognizing commonality with past solutions.
  • The method encourages problem-solvers to leverage existing solutions and patterns to creatively address new challenges.

The 40 TRIZ Principles

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Break-even Analysis


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An Overview of TRIZ Problem-Solving Methodology and its Applications

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TRIZ Consulting Group

The TRIZ Method

What is triz.

TRIZ is the Russian acronym that stands for what we know as the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving , and occasionally goes by the English acronym TIPS . TRIZ is a method kit – a collection of different methods of approach – for successfully and creatively working on problems . In particular, TRIZ helps in the analysis of technical problems and in finding solutions to them. While TRIZ continues to be most effective in the field of mechanical engineering , for which it was originally devised, it has now evolved to include applications for such diverse fields as electronics and electromechanics, process and production engineering, software architecture, and even business economics.

TRIZ Schema

TRIZ is particularly suited for systematically generating ideas in the design phase of a product and for working on technical questions that arise in this context.

Free initial consultation! Call now: +49 170 3588422

Classical triz.


Classical TRIZ describes the original TRIZ body of knowledge established by Genrikh Saulovich Altshuller and developed by him throughout his lifetime. The methods of classical TRIZ are based on the analysis of different patents and are mainly concerned with creating ideas. Classical TRIZ methods are considered to be:

  • Nine screen approach (system operator)
  • Smart little people model
  • STC operator
  • Engineering contradiction
  • Contradiction matrix (aka Altshuller Matrix)
  • 40 inventive principles
  • Physical contradiction
  • 4 principles of separation
  • Substance-field analysis
  • 76 inventive standards
  • Trends of engineering system evolution
  • ARIZ (Algorithm of Inventive Problem Solving)

Contemporary TRIZ


Contemporary TRIZ is a loosely-used term that describes classical TRIZ extended to include new methods . The new TRIZ methods can be methods that have been specially created for TRIZ or other analytical and creative thinking methods that have existed in parallel and have been adapted for TRIZ. The MATRIZ Level 5 certificate (TRIZ Master) qualification requirement of submitting a dissertation on a new method for TRIZ or an improvement to an existing one before a panel of existing TRIZ Masters has proved an effective way of extending the TRIZ method kit. It ensures that TRIZ can evolve to include new methods or significant improvements with each new TRIZ Master appointed. As with any dissertation or thesis, not all of these new discoveries are automatically universally accepted by the global TRIZ community. Only the best of these new methods are accepted by the majority of TRIZ schools and practitioners and become integral components of the contemporary TRIZ method kit.

The best-known methods are:

  • Function analysis for products and processes and its derivatives (incremental improvement, radical improvement, value analysis, patent circumvention, and stealing from the supersystem)
  • Cause-effect chains analysis
  • Catalog of effects
  • Feature transfer
  • Flow analysis
  • Extended trends of engineering system evolution


Like TRIZ , MATRIZ is a Russian abbreviation, and stands for “International TRIZ Association”. MATRIZ is an umbrella organization for local TRIZ associations. For some time now, various TRIZ associations have been attempting to establish a standard for TRIZ qualifications. Different consultants and associations offer different certificates of proficiency or simply certificates of course attendance that have no common basis for comparison. MATRIZ was the first important TRIZ association to present a concept for TRIZ education and certification according to set standards, comprising five TRIZ proficiency levels . This education and certification concept has been adopted as a quasi standard by large corporations such as Samsung, Intel, General Electric, LG, Hyundai, and Siemens.

This means that MATRIZ certificates of proficiency are the first internationally acknowledged TRIZ qualifications. Together with TRIZ-Campus and TRIZ-Online , TRIZ Consulting Group is working towards making these certificates available in the German-speaking countries, with the aim of establishing a benchmark for high-quality professional TRIZ qualifications here. Click here for an overview of the training courses we currently offer according to the MATRIZ concept. The content and schedule of each course is explained in detail.  

Book cover

TRIZ. Theory of Inventive Problem Solving pp 13–33 Cite as

Review of TRIZ

  • Vladimir Petrov 2  
  • First Online: 02 April 2019

1835 Accesses

Theory of inventive problem solving (TRIZ) is a science, which allows not only to identify and to solve creative problems in each field of knowledge, but also to develop creative (inventive) thinking and develop the features of a creative personality. It can often seem that the problem is based on some “ wild ” idea.

…TRIZ could be looked upon as a generalization of strong sides of creative experience of many generations of inventors: strong solutions are selected and analyzed, while weak and erroneous solutions are studied from critical viewpoint. Genrich Altshuller [G. Altshuller. Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. Review«TRIZ-88» (in Russian). URL: http://www.altshuller.ru/engineering16.asp ].

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Petrov, V. (2019). Review of TRIZ. In: TRIZ. Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-04254-7_2

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    Inventive Principles Principle 13. Inversion/'The other way round' Invert the action(s) used to solve the problem (e.g.instead of cooling an object, heat it). Bring the mountain to Mohammed, instead of bringing Mohammed to the mountain. Principle 21. Skipping Conduct a process , or certain stages (e.g.

  18. What is TRIZ

    admin — May 14, 2020. TRIZ, also known as the theory of inventive problem solving, is a technique that fosters invention for project teams who have become stuck while trying to solve a business challenge. It provides data on similar past projects that can help teams find a new path forward. TRIZ (pronounced "trees") started in Russia.

  19. (PDF) An Overview of TRIZ Problem-Solving Methodology and its

    TRIZ is a Russian word that stands for "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving" or TIPS, which is the equivalent phrase for TRIZ in Russian [3]. TRIZ was developed in 1946 by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the former USSR, and it is now being used widely throughout the world in solving complex inventive problems [4][5][6].

  20. The TRIZ Method

    What is TRIZ. TRIZ is the Russian acronym that stands for what we know as the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, and occasionally goes by the English acronym TIPS. TRIZ is a method kit - a collection of different methods of approach - for successfully and creatively working on problems. In particular, TRIZ helps in the analysis of technical problems and in finding solutions to them.

  21. Review of TRIZ

    Theory of inventive problem solving (TRIZ) is a science, which allows not only to identify and to solve creative problems in each field of knowledge, but also to develop creative (inventive) thinking and develop the features of a creative personality. It can often seem that the problem is based on some " wild " idea.

  22. The 7 pillars of TRIZ philosophies

    The theory of inventive problem solving (TRIZ, also known as TIPS) is a metho ogy system mainly used in structural design and optimization, which is oriented tow solving engineering problems [20 ...

  23. [PDF] The theory of inventive problem solving

    An introduction to the theory of inventive problem solving (TIPS); a series of powerful tools to direct the search for solutions to engineering problems, based on an extensive study of the world patent database of over 400,000 inventions from different engineering fields. This paper presents an introduction to the theory of inventive problem solving (TIPS); a series of powerful tools to direct ...