Introduction to TRIZ  (TRIZ Papers) 
TRIZ: Theory of Inventive Problem Solving  -- Understanding and Introducing It --
Toru Nakagawa   (Osaka Gakuin University)
May 17, 1998 (in Japanese)
Published in the Bulletin of Cultural and Natural Sciences in Osaka Gakuin University, No. 37, September 1998, pp. 1-12. (in Japanese)
Published in the home page of Mitsubishi Research Institute on May 29, 1998
Published in this "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" on Nov. 1, 1998 (in Japanese)
English translation by Toru Nakagawa and published here on Feb. 18, 1999.

Preface for the English version (Toru Nakagawa, Feb. 18, 1999)

This paper was originary written in Japanese last May and published soon on a WWW page
of MRI even before the formal printing for the purpose of introducing TRIZ in Japan.
It has been welcomed by people who are seriously trying to introduce TRIZ and its software
tools in their industry practice in Japan.  Thus, this paper has become the basis of all my
later activities which lead to the opening of "TRIZ Home Page in Japan".  It is my pleasure
to publish it in English here for readers world wide.   Some comments in the paper, especially
on "current situations",  are already old but are translated without updating, because readers
may now find "current" situations in various other places including those in "TRIZ Home
Page in Japan".
I wish to thank Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., where I was working for 18 years until March 1998;
all the materials described in this paper have its basis on my experience of  the trial of
introducing TRIZ at the industry labs during my last year there.
Top Introduction  Historry Philosophy & scheme Software tools Introducing into industry Education & research References


"Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ)" has been developed and systematized
since 1946 in ex-USSR and has become known to the western countries after the end of
the Cold War as a new methodology for technological innovation.  It is based on the
philosophy: "Improvements, innovations, and evolutions of  technologies share some
common aspects across their fields and their eras.  Thus, by extracting such shared
essences out of a large number of excellent cases, and by making them easy to retrieve
after classification, we may reuse them for facilitating new development of technologies.
Especially, excellent cases of technology innovation can be understood in a number of
patterns of breaking through the contradictions in the problem; such patterns provide
us hints for our own creative innovation."

The followings have already been established as a methodology system and applied
in real parctice:
(a)  Trends of evolution of technical systems
(b)  Inverted database of science and technology which are retrievable from technical
goals to various candidates of technical means
(c)  40 "Principles of Invention"
(d)  "Contradiction Solving Matrix":  corresponding to each element of a problem matrix
of 39 improving aspects versus 39 worsening aspects, top four most-frequently-used
Principles of Invention are quoted on the basis of an ellaborate analysis of world patents

Recently in USA, the TRIZ methodology has been implemented in software tools and
rapidly become known to industries.  In Japan, TRIZ has been introduced and promoted
in a significant scale since last year.

The present paper describes an overview of TRIZ and points out the possible large
impact of TRIZ on the future of world's technologies, industries, and education.
It discusses how to introduce TRIZ to the practice of industries, and also discusses
the necessity of introducing the TRIZ philosophy in education.

1.  Introduction

As the global competition of technologies is becoming severe more and more, there is
a great demand of creative ability in technology development.   How can we generate
creative ideas and innovative technologies?  How can we obtain higher ability in our
own creativity?  These are serious problems.  So far, however, the experienced
processes of having reached creative ideas have been described simply as
"enlightenment" by scientists at some uninteded moments after intensive thinking or as
"by-products" of trial-and-error processes of experiments.   Since these processes
depend on luck, they give us only spiritual advices.

Lately, however, it became known to the western countries that a method formed in
ex-USSR and called TRIZ, pronounced as /tri:z/, have had given much clearer
solutions to these problems.  TRIZ is the English spelling of Russian abbreviation of
"Theory of Inventive Problem Solving".  It claims that creative ability can be increased
by extracting, systematizing, and learning the essences of real cases of creative
technological innovations, and it actually have developed such a system.  TRIZ
already has a history of 50 years of research and wide-ranged application practices in
Russia; it became known to the western countries after the end of the Cold War, and
has started new phases of development for these few years.  The methodology has
reorganized the whole system of science and technology from a practical, yet having
deep insight, stand point for achieving desired technological goals.  It will give, in the
near future, a great impact on the technology and industry of the world, and will urge
serious reconsideration of the ways of education of science and technology.

The present author heard about TRIZ at the end of last May, 1997, for the first time in
a lecture given in Tokyo by Dr. Mats Nordlund of MIT, and for these twelve months he
has been endeavoring to study and introduce TRIZ, especially in Fujitsu Laboratories,
where he was a staff until the end of March 1998.  In the present paper, TRIZ is
introduced to novice readers by describing how to understand it and introduce it in
industrial practice.

2.  History of TRIZ and its current situations

2.1  History of TRIZ

In 1946, Genrich Altshuller, who was at the age of 20 and engaged in patent reviewing,
recognized typical thinking patterns in inventions and obtained the fundamental
initial idea of the TRIZ theory.  He sent a proposal to Stalin, but was rather sent to a
camp in Ciberia, where he continued developing his ideas.  Being released after 5
years, he published his work of TRIZ, and opened a number of TRIZ schools at various
locations in USSR.  His activities were prohibited again since 1974, but were allowed
open in the years of the Perestroika.  During these 50 years of development, a few
thousands of researchers/engineers have got involved in the study and development of
TRIZ, to analyse patents of the world, i.e. 2.5 million patents in total as sometimes
being claimed, in its technological semantics and to establish the system of the TRIZ

Since 1980s, especially after the end of the Cold War, a number of ex-USSR TRIZ
specialists emmigrated to the western countries and brought in TRIZ.  Sweden, USA,
and Israel were active in receiving them.  Particularly in the United States, some
companies have started developing software tools of TRIZ, many consultant firms their
activities of promoting TRIZ, and manufacturing companies their trial introduction of
it.  In Japan, introduction/promotion activities have been started in a significant scale
only since 1997.

2.2  Textbooks, References, and WWW information on TRIZ

Textbooks of TRIZ are very limited in languages other than Russian.  In English,
published are two Altshuller's textbooks [1,2], an introductory textbook [3], and a
training material [4], and maybe some others.  Under this situation, one should note
information offered through WWW [5-8].  In particular, a monthly electric journal,
named "The TRIZ Journal"[5], was established in 1996 and has been publishing every
month about five papers and articles, including case studies.  In conferences in the
field of quality control, TRIZ sessions have started;  it is announced that the first
international conference of TRIZ will be held in coming November 1998 in USA.

Introduction of TRIZ in Japanese was recently initiated by the article [9] in the April
1996 issue of a monthly journal, "Nikkei Mechanical".  Near the end of 1997, three
introductory TRIZ textbooks [10-12] were published in Japanese.  Among these, [11]
is the easiest to read.  This is a Japanese translation of the textbook [1], which
Altshuller wrote about TRIZ ideas readable even for highschool students
(technological examples are dated only up to 1960s).  Reading [10] next is
recommended.  It explains the overview of TRIZ in a more detailed and systematic
way.  Some parts of it are easy to read, but some others are difficult mostly because the
materials are condensed too much.  In the TRIZ theory, there are some core parts
which are unfamiliar and rather contradictory to the common sense, just like Zen
communications; this point is related to the fact that one can achieve any breakthrough
only after breaking one's own conventional ways of thinking.

Textbook [12] by Hatamura et al is introductory but rather unique in containing
appropriate criticisms of TRIZ.  The part explaining TRIZ in [12] is a Japanese
translation of the textbook by Fey and Rivin [3], which is written in a style similar to
[10].  Their demonstration examples, however, are rather old (mostly describing the
technologies used before 1970), and there are a number of patent cases which were
apparently recorded as new ideas without engineering/commercial examinations.
Hatamura and his group discuss and criticize these points in detail.  Besides, Hatamura
et al describe their own "Creative Designing Principles", which has some aspects
similar to TRIZ but has been built up independently.  Since [12] contains all these
related but conflicting parts together, it seems very difficult for TRIZ novices to
understand the book, or at least to realize the merits of TRIZ.  After studying TRIZ for
some time, one should read this [12] again to fully understand its messages.

2.3  Current situations of TRIZ software tools

Some TRIZ specialists of ex-USSR moved to USA and started implementing the TRIZ
methodology into software tools; Invention Machine Corporation [13] is the leading
company.  IMC has developed and is marketing software packages, TechOptimizer
and IM Phenomenon, which work smoothly on PCs with practical usefulness.  Ideation
International, Inc. [14] has also implemented their TRIZ training course into a
software package.  In Japan, Mitsubishi Research Institute [15] has been working as
the general agency for IMC, forming a consortium to making a Japanese version of the
software tool, and taking the leadership for introducing TRIZ to Japan.

3.  Philosophy and Scheme of TRIZ

Since TRIZ has already formed a large system of methodology, it is difficult to
introduce its whole aspects.  Essence of its philosophy and scheme may be understood
as follows:

3.1  Technology-oriented:  concrete and yet abstract thinking

TRIZ deals with a very wide range of science and technology.  Its philosophy is not
based on academic approaches like "science" nor "engineering", but rather on a
practical approach of "technology". By fully utilizing the well-established system of
science and technology, we want to solve problems in technology and create
innovative technologies; that's the goal for us to use the TRIZ methodology.

For this purpose, the way of thinking in TRIZ is concrete, practical, and widely
spreaded.  For example, the states of substances listed up in TRIZ include not only the
typical three states (i.e. gas, liquid, and solid) but also a large number of in-between
and compound states (such as aerosol, foam, powder, porous, and void (i.e. vacuum)
states) and the states having special characteristics in thermal, electric, magnetic, and
optical aspects.  TRIZ takes  all these states of substances into consideration in its
problem solving.  In opposite to the substances, TRIZ considers physical fields, forces,
and interactions (these are sometimes called simply as "Fields" in TRIZ); they include
mechanical, electrical, magnetic, thermal, and optical "Fields", as the main

To handle all these wide variety of substances and "Fields" in a well classified,
ordered, generic, and unified way, TRIZ fully uses abstract thinking.  For example, in
handling the five main "Fields" mentioned above, TRIZ discusses inter-conversion of
the "Fields" by using some characteristic substance system, "structuring" of the
"Fields" (i.e. increasing/decreasing, reflection, transmission, refraction, difraction,
etc. of the "Fields"), accumulation of the "Fields" (e.g. accumulation of mechanical
energies), etc.   Such introduction of  concreteness and abstractness at the same time
has made the TRIZ methodology unique and extraordinary.  This feature of TRIZ is
evident in all the following subsections.

3.2  Trends of evolution of technical systems

One of the insights by Altshuller is that all technical systems (or artifact systems) have
a number of trends of evolution which are common across the fields and eras.

One of such trends is that one part, such as a functional part, in a system evolves into
two parts, then into multiple parts, into many parts, and finally into one part at a
higher level.  An example of this type of evolution can be seen in the speaker system of
a radio; a single speaker equipment evolved into a stereo system of two speakers, then
a surrounding sound system of multiple speakers, and finally into a 3D sound system.
Similarly, a gun with one bullet evolved into a double channel gun with two bullets,
then a revolver pistol with several bullets, and finally into a machine gun with a large
number of bullets in a belt.

Another common trend is the segementation of a working part of a system; a solid
working part of a system (e.g. a metal ball in a ball bearing) evolved to divided solid
parts (e.g. balls in a two-row ball bearing), then to many smaller parts (e.g. a micro-
ball bearing), further to molecular scale parts (e.g. a gas bearing), and finally to the
extreme of the parts using non-substance, i.e. a "Field" (e.g. a magnetic bearing

Adding further the trends of increasing flexibility, dynamization of time
characteristics, etc., over a dozen of such trends of system's evolution have been
recognized.  TRIZ teaches us these common trends in technical system evolution at a
highly abstract level, together with illustrations of concrete practical examples.  It
guides us to think along these courses of trends and to find futuristic technical
innovations right now.

3.3  Inverted database of science and technology for finding means from goals

"Technology-orientedness" means that we want to achieve some technical goal by
solving technical problems in front of us.  Engineers wish to solve some problem or
want to achieve some goal.  They are struggling to find how to achive it; namely they
are seeking for any means to achieve a goal.  If the goal is achievable by some means
which they know well and use often, the problem is easy.  If the goal is inreachable by
currently available means, or if a new task is given, engineers want to find new or
higher-level means.  They often meet problems which can not be solved by their
personal knowlege nor even  by the technologies currently known to their field of

The system of science and technology should certainly be expected to give them the
guiding principles for solving such technical problems; nevertheless, it is not easy for
the engineers to effectively use it at the present situations.  One fundamental reason for
this difficulty is that the principles and theories in science and technology are stated in
the basic scheme that "setting up a situation then comes the result", and their practical
applications are also shown in the scheme of "from means to effects".  Statements in
these schemes have been accumulated in huge scales in each field of finely divided
areas of sciences and technologies.  For an engineer to find some suitable means to
achive his goal, he has to learn the relevant fields of science and technology, and has
to apply the knowledge to find any means (or rather a set of means) which can achieve
his goal; thus during the process of his search he has to invert the knowledge scheme
into "from a goal to means".  Consequently, any engineer can think of means in
relatively narrow fields of science and technology, and does not know whether the
means he has found is appropriate for the solution in a wider scope.  Thus technology
innovation has been requiring difficult re-search work in trial-and-error.

For improving this situation, TRIZ has been building up an inverted database of whole
science and technology, so as to be able to retrieve in a scheme of "from a goal to
means 1, means 2, ...".  The TRIZ approach was built not at a level of retrieval
function of indeces to encyclopedias and to conventional scientific/technological
databases, but at a level of much essential reorganization of the
scientific/technological information.  TRIZ has first classified various technical goals
into a hierarchical system.  The goal categories at the top level are:
substances (as object):  obtaining, holding, protecting, eliminating, 
moving, separating,
measuring properties of, and changing properties of.
 "Fields" (as object): generating, accumulating, absorbing, 
changing in space arrangement of,
measuring properties of, and changing properties of.

Representations of goals are further classified into lower level categories, such as
"changing surface properties of a substance" and "separating a component in liquid
mixture"; 283 categories are listed as goals.  For each category of goal, applicable
principles of science and technology and their practical examples have been compiled
in an already-sorted scheme for easy access.

By using this inverted database, an engineer can easily find many technical means
which he hardly think of from his own knowledge and speciality, and can use them as
hints for his poblem solving.  Not being limited by conventional thinking in one's
speciality, but flexibly introducing knowledge and technologies of other fileds is a
most important key for opening the door to technical innovations.

3.4  "40 Principles of invention"

Altshuller has extracted 40 "Principles of invention" through his semantic analysis of
patents world-wide.  Some example of them are:
Principle of invention, No. 1:  Segmentation  (dividing an object, assembling of parts, 
     and segmentation to the extreme)
 Principle of invention, No. 2:  Extraction  (taking our harmful parts, and 
      extracting useful parts)
Principle of invention, No. 4: Asymmetry (making an object asymmetric)
Principle of invention, No. 40: Compound materials

These principles were extracted and formalized by Altshuller with his sense; they form
one of the essence in TRIZ.

Among the principles of invention, some are seemingly natural and in common sense,
but some others are unexpected.   The principle of "Asymmetry" is an example of
unexpected antitheses.  Principles in science and technology often advise us to make
symmetry of objects higher for better functioning; on the contrary, this principle in
TRIZ points out that making objects asymmetic can be the key to a breakthrough.  The
primary barrier against technology innovation is the psycological inertia (e.g.,
preference to higher symmetry which is deeply installed in one's mind); this is the
insight in TRIZ.  Principles of invention are stated in abstract terms in order to be
applicable to problem solving accross fields and eras.  The most basic way for
understanding TRIZ is to read the explanations and practical application examples of
the 40 principles of invention, thouroughly to understand its implications.  These
principles of invention demonstrate their real usefulness in the "Contradiction Solving
Matrix", as discussed in the next subsection.

3.5  Solving technical contradictions: "Contradiction Solving Matrix"

It is often the situation in technical problems that if one tries to improve an aspect of
the system, one causes to worsen another aspect.  Most typical solution in this kind of
situation is to regard the problem as a trade-off between the two (or more) aspects and
to take a compromise which chooses some acceptable but not satisfactory point in both
aspects.  A more sophisticated solution may be obtained by the "optimization"
technique.  Optimization requests the engineer to clarify the constraints of the given
problem, to set up an objective function as the criterion for evaluating solutions, and to
find out some means which makes the value of the objective function highest under the
given constraints.  Mathematical models and techniques are used in expressing the
solution models in a form of function containing various parameters and in finding the
model which gives highest value (in a practical sense) of the objective function.  Even
though the "optimization" technique is highly sophisticated with these mathematical
representations, it often has fatal pit-holes in the setting up of the constraint conditions
and in the representation of model functions as feasible solutions.  These
representations usually reflect the current technical system and the optimization
searches a solution within such a current framework; thus optimization rarely proposes
real breakthroughs.

TRIZ, on the other hand, regards such a technical problem as "technical
contradiction".  It tries to make the contradiction even clearer, and to find a break-
through solution by really breaking the barrier posed by the contradiction.   Not
detouring but eliminating the contradiction is the key to new technical innovation; this
is the fundamental standpoint of TRIZ.  Such technical innovations have been realized
many times in the history of science and technology.  TRIZ has paid special attention
to patents as the records of such technical innovations.  By analyzing a huge number of
patents, TRIZ has extracted typical solutions to "technical contradiction" problems,
and has formalized in the following way:

First, for expressing technical problems, one is urged to describe which aspect of the
current system he wants to improve and which other aspect becomes worse by such an
improvement and causes an contradictory situation.  To describe these aspects, TRIZ
uses 39 standardized aspects, including weight of movable object, loss of energy, easy
to use, reliability, etc.  The matrix thus formed by 39 improving aspects and 39
worsening aspects is regarded as the ground for representing technical contradictions.
Altshuller and his followers have analyzed the cases of technology innovation recorded
in the patents; they classified the problem of each case on the 39 x 39 matrix and
expressed the essence of the patent solution in terms of the 40 principles of invention.
Accumulation of these analyses of patents has lead to find frequently-used principles of
invention for each section of the matrix; top four principles have been listed for each
section.  The table of frequently-used principles of invention on the 39x39 matrix, thus
obtained from such an ellaborate work, is called "Contradiction Matrix" or
"Contradiction Solving Matrix".  This forms a part of core results uniquely obtained in
the TRIZ methodology.

Engineers who want to solve their own technical problems are advised first to describe
the problem in the scheme of improving aspect versus worsening aspect on the
Contradiction Solving Matrix.  Then the Matrix readily shows the engineer up-to-four
principles of invention which were most frequently used in inventively solving such a
type of  problems.  Engineers thus can use the principles and their application
examples as valuable suggestions for solving their own problems.

The "Contradiction Solving Matrix" has offered us a method of "re-using" cases of
innovations and breakthroughs achieved by preceeding pioneers, for the purpose of
solving our current problems.  Simple accumulation of those cases in the innovators'
own words (i.e. original patent documents) does not allow easy retrieval or re-use for
solving new problems.  TRIZ has enforced, in describing the problems and their
solutions, to use a fixed framework of such a set of abstract terminology, i.e.
contradictions among the 39 aspects for the problems and the 40 principles for
solutions.  This enforcement has allowed to represent and classify a huge number of
patents in a standard way, and has resulted in a very condensed set of know-hows in a
form easy to reuse.

3.6  Standard menthods for improving systems

For innovatively improving a technical system, TRIZ advises engineers to functionally
analyze the system and to focus the attention onto the essencial part of the system.
The essencial part is represented in either of the following two simple schemes:

   (a)  Object 1  ---- (Action) ---->  Object 2
   (b)  Object -----> Property to be measured

For each of these simplified systems, standard methods of problem solving have been
classified and shown in abstract schemes.  At the top level, the standard methods are:
For solving (a):  Methods by use of interactions with additives 
      (either substances or "Fields") 
   Methods of generating/eliminating/multiplying "Fields"
For solving (b):  Methods of using marks for measurment
   Methods for detouring

These methods are further classified into 76 standard methods in total.  The standard
methods are explained with shematic figures and many examples.

3.7  Algorithm for solving inventive problems (ARIZ)

TRIZ has developed many more techniques for problem solving.  They include:

    Consideration of Final Ideal Result:  To consider an extreme ideal system satisfying
the objective, to think of barriers prohibiting the realization of it, and to clarify the
technical contradictions.

   Substance-Field Analysis (or Su-Field Analysis):  To represent the function of the
current object system in a symplified scheme of "substances" and "Fields", and to
consider ways of system improvement by using transformations of the scheme
representation.  (Related to the method discussed in the subsection 3.6.)

   Physical Contradiction and its solution:  The problem of the technical system may
further be analyzed to reach a logical dilemma (or called "Physical Contradiction" in
TRIZ), such as "seen" and yet "not seen".   For these "Physical Contradictions", TRIZ
has already found a number of standard ways of solution; they typically include spatial
separation and time separation of the contradictory states.

Furthermore, containing all the methods described above in sections 3.1 through 3.7,
an overall method for problem solving in TRIZ has been presented and named "ARIZ"
(i.e. "Algorithm for Inventive Problem Solving").  It is a complex method having
many iterative steps.  ARIZ has several versions which have been modified and
transformed little by little during its history of development.  The present author is
wondering whether these ARIZ algorithms are indeed effective and whether such
complex systematization and formalization is appropriate for real applications;  thus
the author will not discuss here on them any further.

3.8  Summary of the TRIZ methodology of problem solving

Summarizing the above discussion of problem solving methods in TRIZ, the overall
structure of the TRIZ methodology can be illustrated by the scheme shown in Fig. 1.

The upper row in the figure shows the world of information formed by the whole
system of science and technology in the traditional way.  The world accumulates a
huge amount of information (or databases) of the principles, expressed in the scheme
of "from settings to effects",  in a wide range of fields of science and technology.  It
also accumulates a huge volume of individual records of technical
improvement/innovation, which are described in the scheme of "from a problem to a
solution"; they typically include patent databases and paper reference databases.

The bottom row, on the other hand, represents the world of an individual engineer
facing his own technical problem.  The engineer has his specific problem which he
wants to solve.  The first task for him is to describe his system in the problem and to
clarify the problem itself.  Then he wants to find appropriate solutions for his problem;
how can he proceed?

For this situation, TRIZ has offered several important methods as the keys to the
problem solving, as shown in the middle row of Fig. 1.  They include:
  -  recognition of the trends of technology evolution,
  -  inverse retrieval of technological means from goals,
  -  expressing the problem as the contradiction between two aspects and obtaining
       principles of invention as hints by using "Contradiction Solving Matrix", and
  -  principles of invention and practical examples of their applications.
TRIZ also offers methods to support the engineer to make his own problem clearer and
to guide him to the world of the TRIZ methodology.  By offering all these methods,
TRIZ encourages the engineers to solve their own technical problems by fully utilizing
the information of the world of science and technology.

4.  Software Tools for TRIZ

4.1 Invention Machine's TechOptimizer

The present author have used and mastered a software tool, TechOptimizer
Professional Edition Version 2.51 developed by Invention Machine Corporation.  This
software works smoothly under Windows95 on a notebook PC, and implements all the
features of TRIZ discussed in the subsections 3.1 through 3.6.  Its component modules
are listed below with brief description of their functions:
Prediction Module: trends of evolution of technical systems (see sections 3.1 and 3.2), 
standard methods for improving a system (see section 3.6)
Effects Module: inverted database of principles (or "effects" in TRIZ) in science and 
technology and their application examples (see section 3.3)
Principles Module: principles of invention and their application examples (see section 3.4),
 Contradiction Solving Matrix (see section 3.5)
TechOptimizer Module: functional analysis of a system, 
management of problem solving process, and reporting
Feature Transfer Module:  tranferring features between systems

This software implements principles and application examples in a wide range of field
in science and technology; they include: geometrical, mechanical,  thermal, optical
and electoro-magnetic wave, electrical, magnetic and electro-magnetic, substances
and materials, interaction between substances and "Fields", chemical, and elemental
particles.  The examples of technical application mostly describe those in old days
before 1970, but in the field of micro-electronics a large number of examples of up-to-
date techniques have been newly added to the Version 2.51.  Oldness of the examples
in TRIZ documents has been criticized very often; in commercial software tools,
however, the examples have recently been and is now being made up-to-date
ellaborately.  (IMC's new software, i.e. IM Phenomenon, should also be noted in this

TechOptimizer works so smoothly that users do not need to wait in retrieving various
information.  Each principle, effect, or example contains a color illustration and is
explained in a plain and concise way.  (The software now uses English language; a
Japanese version is scheduled to be on sale at the end of this year 1998 [15].)  Users
may feel the contents of the databases unsatisfactory in the fields of their own
speciality, but can learn very much from those in the fields beyond their speciality.

4.2  Experiences of trials and applications

The present author learned this software tool by himself for about a month, trying
various functions and reading the contents of databases, and then tried to apply it to
solve a real problem.  One problem was chosen from several real problems suggested
by a number of research groups for their possible trials.  "How to cool a heat-
generating component connected with a hinge" was the problem.  This was not in the
field of the author's speciality.  Actually working on the problem on the tool for full
one day, I found good and widely applicable solutions, which I suppose would contain
some patentable ideas.  And after spending half a day for writing, I handed a proposal
report to the manager of the relevant research group.  In this actual experience, the
TRIZ software contributed to me especially in the following three ways:
   -  it guides me to the essence of the problem through the functional analysis of the
   -  it teaches me the principles and application examples of the heat-pipe cooling
       method (which I was not so familiar) through the databases, and
  -  it stimulated me to reach a solution by reading a large number of principles and
       examples even though most of them are not so much relevant to the present problem.
Through this actual experience of application, I definitely realized that the TRIZ
software tool, i.e. TechOptimizer, was indeed useful in real applications and that the
TRIZ methodology was offering us a solid base for technical problem solving.

5.  Introducing TRIZ into industry

As discussed so far, TRIZ offers us a new and important methodology for technology
development and technological innovation.  However, if we try to introduce it into
industry, we meet much difficulties mostly because TRIZ is hardly known yet in
Japan.  Questions and skepticisms which we often meet in the actual fields in industries
are listed below, together with some advices for overcoming them.

(a)  Though being upraised as "super-invention method", isn't it just a propaganda
      without any real usefulness? ---

TRIZ is not a trick.  For resolving this kind of skepticisms, we need to show such
people introductory articles and basic textbooks and to achieve steady penitration of
basic ideas of TRIZ.

(b)  Isn't an technique developed in USSR during the days of the Cold War too old to
      be of any use today?! --

The fundamental idea of TRIZ is important and useful as a framework of methodology.
Since no practical means have been established in the western countries for improving
technical creativeness, the TRIZ methodology is fresh and unique.  It is important even
now to understand and introduce the essence of TRIZ.

(c)  If the databases do not contain the descriptions and examples of up-to-date
      techniques in our own speciality  field, they will not be useful for ourselves.  --

The main purpose of using TRIZ is not learning new technologies but obtaining or
generating new ideas for solving our own technical problems.  Examples in other
fields, especially basic and typical examples, are valuable for this purpose.  It is of
course desirable and necessary to make the technology explanations up-to-date in the
whole area ; this improvement should be achieved not only by the developers of TRIZ
software tools but also by the user industries.

(d)  We have rarely seen reports of successful applications of TRIZ to real problems.
      Has TRIZ been verified? --

Since the experiences of TRIZ are still short in the western countries, and since the
firms do not like to publicize their proprietary technical innovations, good case-studies
are reported very rarely.  Nonetheless, there appeared some reports in TRIZ user
meetings and conferences.  For example, the case-study paper reported by Ford Mortor
Company [16] is excellent to learn.  In this case, they eliminated the noise (i.e.,
squeeking and buzzing noises) at the moldings (or sealing) of the windshield glass of
an automobile.  This problem remained unsolvable for several years, and was finally
solved by applying TRIZ.  This paper describes in detail  the overview of the project
and the thinking processes for the problem solving.

(e)  Does TRIZ work without a software tool? --

Understanding the essence of TRIZ is more important than using a software tool.  If
you master the ideas of TRIZ, you can actively use it without a software tool and
without being restricted to the formal process.  A software tool is of course helpful and
effective, as discussed in section 4.2.

(f)  Even though a software tool is installed in our company environment, we do not
      have time to learn how to use it effectively. --

It is more appropriate to train people to understand the essence of the TRIZ
methodology first.  Good textbooks and manuals of the tools are necessary.  And, from
a more practical view, the existence of pioneer(s) in the same company is most helpful
for reducing this kind of barrier.

(g)  In the daily development activities, we are too busy to introduce new technical
      methodology.  --

It is important and necessary to bring up a few core members in a company, as
pioneers for introducing new technology.  These members should challenge to solve
some suitably selected real problems with TRIZ; such an experience of success is most
convincing in the company.

(h)  Is TRIZ useful in research laboratories or in manufacturing departments? --

It can be and should be used at any place where people want to solve technical
problems.  TRIZ can be useful at various phases of R&D including
  - initial planning stage of a technical project,
  - design generation stage,
  - the stage of problem solving for fixing any technical trouble,
  - patent application preparation stage for making the patent wider and stronger.
For these different stages, TRIZ should be used with some proper adjustment in

(i)  Is TRIZ really helpful? --

Yes, helpful!  The people who ask this kind of question after lengthy discussions,
however, will not believe TRIZ unless they really experience it by themselves.  The
present author listened and read about TRIZ to understand it, and actually tried to
apply it, and now believes in the effectiveness of TRIZ.  If you feel some interest in
TRIZ, why don't you listen and read about TRIZ, and try to apply it by yourself?  The
firms should set up proper trial environments.

Reviewing the questions and difficulties discussed above, the present author notices
that they are not the problems for individual persons or companies who are going to
introduce TRIZ.  We should solve them in a wider scope.

The TRIZ methodology offers a powerful method and guiding principles for the
technology innovations in the future.  The movement of introducing and promoting
TRIZ will give as great an impact on the technology and industry as the quality control
movement have given so far for these several decades.  A part of big industries in USA
already have a few years of  experiences of introducing TRIZ, and have begun to
generate successful applications.  (In Ford Motor Company, for example, its quality
control team have the experiences of four years of using TRIZ, and by forming a
project team joint with object technology specialists have solved real problems [16].)
Now, in Japan, we should also bring up pioneers, make textbooks, make good software
tools, form good real application projects, make successful real cases, and set up open
forums of information exchange; as an overall effect of all these endeavors we should
make the general understanding of TRIZ higher.

6.  Education/Research and TRIZ

TRIZ is also going to give an important impact on the education and research in
science and technology.  The target of education of science must not only for
students/pupils to understand what they are taught but rather for them to observe the
world, think and generate ideas, and do experiments and trials for themselves.  The
education should guide them to use science and technology for solving problems
around them, for challenging new tasks, and for creating something new by
overcoming contradictions.  The "technology-oriented" philosophy of TRIZ is indeed
suitable for the students and pupils to build up such attitude and to master such ways of

One point of warning should be worthwhile in applying TRIZ.  It is not an intention of
TRIZ to apply tables and software tools of TRIZ for problem solving in a 'mechanical'
way.  If one regards the results of TRIZ achieved so far in the history as solid,
unchangeable doctorines, the problem solving with TRIZ would never be creative and
would turn into thoughtless, non-creative work.  One should understand the real
essence of TRIZ, and then use it with liberated, flexible, and creative mind.  The real
aim of learning TRIZ is to study the cases of creative technology developments in the
history and to train oneself to be able to think by oneself in creative ways on such a

Further research tasks of TRIZ should include the followings:

(a)  To extend the application fields of TRIZ into the fields related to information,
       biology, and social activities such as services.
(b)  To re-examine the frameworks and classification categories in TRIZ, especially in
       relation to the above extension of application field.
(c)  To implement wider range of TRIZ methods in software tools,
(d)  By comparing and combining TRIZ with various problem solving methods and
      designing methods, to make it an even more effective methodology.
(e)  To establish a leading philosophy for the movement of introducing and promoting
      TRIZ for technology innovation.

In the current situations of increasingly hard competition in technology development in
the global scale, these research tasks should be important; the future of technology and
industry will depend on how people utilize and extend TRIZ.


[ 1]  "And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared:  TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem
        Solving", G. Altshuller (H. Altov), Children's Literature, USSR (1984),
        English translation by Lev Shulyak, Technical Innovation Center, Inc., USA
        (1994), p. 171.
[ 2]  "Creativity as an Exact Science:  The Theory of the Solution of Inventive Problems",
        Genrich Altshller, (English translation by Anthony Williams) American Suppplier
        Institute, 1988.
[ 3]  "The Science of Innovation: A Managerial Overview of the TRIZ",
        Victor Fey and Eugene Rivin, The TRIZ Group, Michigan (1997), p. 82.
[ 4]  "An Introduction to TRIZ: The Russian Theory of Inventive Problem Solving",
        Stan Kaplan, Ideation International (1996), p 44.
[ 5]  The TRIZ Journal   
[ 6]  American Supplier Inst.
[ 7]  TRIZ Empire Home Page,
[ 8]  The TRIZ Experts Home Page,
[ 9]   Reality of Super-Technique for Invention: "TRIZ".  (I) Creativeness everybody
       can derive, (II) Solving a problem all together, G. Mazur, Nikkei Mechanical, April 1,
       1996, No. 477, pp. 38-47; April 15, 1996, No. 478, pp.47-54.
[10]  "Overview of TRIZ Principles and Concepts", Super-Technique for Invention,
       TRIZ Series No. 1, Introduction Part, (originally written by G. Altshuller, "Algorithms
       of Invention", 1969), Japanese translation by Keiichi Endo and Takao Takada, Nikkei
       BP, Dec. 1997.
[11]   "Overview of TRIZ Principles and Concepts", Super-Technique for Invention,
       TRIZ Series No. 2, Entrance Part, (originally written by G. Altshuller, "And Suddenly
       the Inventor Appeared", English translation by L. Shulyak), Japanese translation by
       Mitsubishi Research Institute, published by Nikkei BP, Oct. 1997.
[12]  "An Introduction to TRIZ", Yotaro Hatamura et. al., Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun,
       Tokyo, Dec. 1997. (Translated from and commentated on "The Science of
       Innovation" by V.R. Fey and E.I.Rivin.)
[13]  Invention Machine Corp.
[14]  Ideation International Inc.
[15]  Mitsubishi Research Institue, IM Project
[16]  Windshield/Backlight Molding  --  Squeak and "Buzz" Project TRIZ Case Study
        Michael Lynch, Benjamin Saltsman, Colin Young  (Ford Motor Company)
       American Supplier Institute Total Product Development Symposium,
          Nov. 5, 1997, at Dearborn, Michigan, USA.
        The TRIZ Journal, Dec. 1997

Top Introduction  Historry Philosophy & scheme Software tools Introducing into industry Education & research References

Top page of Introduction What is TRIZ?      Introduction: TRIZ-- Understanding & Introducing It 

Home Page New Information Introduction to TRIZ TRIZ References TRIZ Links
TRIZ News & Activities TRIZ Software Tools TRIZ Papers and Tech Reports TRIZ Forum Home Page

Last updated on Feb. 18, 1999.     Access point:  Editor: