TRIZ Review:  TRIZ/USIT Guide
Brief Guide to Nakagawa's TRIZ/USIT Articles
  Toru Nakagawa (Osaka Gakuin University, Japan), 
  January 21, 2003
 [Posted on Feb. 18, 2003] 
 [Japanese translation on Jan. 25, 2003 and posted on Feb. 18, 2003]
 [Spanish translation by Hugo Sanchez and 
     posted in "TRIZ Nicaragua" site on Feb. 5, 2003]
buttons guides you to the Japanese pages.

Preface (Toru Nakagawa, Jan. 21, 2003)

On January 3rd I received an email message from Mr. Hugo Sanchez, a consultant and a director in a government institute, INPYME, of Nicaragua.  He says he wants to introduce my USIT works in Spanish.  According to some communications, he has decided to translate most of my principal articles on TRIZ/USIT in my Web site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" and to post the Spanish versions in the "TRIZ XXI" Web site (URL: , Editor: Jose M. Vicente Gomila (Spain)) and in his newly established site "TRIZ Nicaragua" (URL:

Mr. Sanchez' idea is to introduce TRIZ in Spanish in an easy and comprehensible manner for his country, Nicaragua, Central America, and Spanish-speaking world.  For this purpose, he already posted the Spanish translation of "Breakthrough Thinking" by Larry Ball, and is going to post the works on ASIT by Roni Horowitz and on USIT by Ed Sickafus as well as on TRIZ/USIT by Toru Nakagawa. All these works are common in their approaches to simplify the TRIZ methodology to make it easier to learn and yet more effective to apply to real problem solving.  In Israel, SIT was developed in 1980s by simplyfying TRIZ, and ASIT is its current version.  In 1995 Ed Sickafus developed USIT at Ford Motor Co. by adopting SIT and adding new concepts and framework, and Nakagawa has been extending USIT since 1999.  Larry Ball has been working independently at Honeywell for these ten years to unify TRIZ into a 'linear procedure' in his "Breakthrough Thinking".

 Mr. Sanchez' plan is amazing indeed, and I am delighted to have my articles translated into Spanish.  So I am writing this Brief Guide to those articles of mine for new readers of the site in Spanish as well as my site in Japanese and in English.

[PS (Nakagawa, Feb. 18, 2003):  Mr. Sanchez has started the TRIZ Project in collaboration with the University of Commercial Science (UCC) at Managua, Nicaragua (Rector: Dr. Bergman).  In his WWW site, this Brief Guide of mine has been posted in Spanish already and a number of articles and activities are comng.   BTW:  The Manual of "Breakthrough Thinking" by Larry Ball (published in TRIZ Journal in its March 2002 Issue) will be posted in Japanese translation in a couple of weeks.]

[PPS (Nakagawa, Mar. 30, 2008):  I recently received a message from Mr. Sanchez after a long period of no response.  He writes he suffored an open heart surgery 4 years ago and is now rather fine.  I now understand why the Web site in Nicaragua suddenly stopped its activities.  I wish Mr. Sanchez good recovery, health and happiness.]


This is a brief guide to Toru Nakagawa's articles on TRIZ/USIT posted in "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" (both in Japanese and in English) and most of which are going to be posted in Spanish translation by Hugo Sanchez.  Since I wrote them one by one for these four, five years, they are somewhat large in number and reflect the evolution of my own understanding of TRIZ/USIT.  Thus I am going to introduce them to you, my new readers, by mentioning their positions and suggesting you some paths along which I think it appropriate for you to follow.  While the references are listed at the bottom (with their full titles, dates of writing, sources, hyperlinks, etc.), I will mention them in some short forms and reference numbers.

Figure 1 illustrates the positions of the articles listed in the reference below.  It is advisable to read them from the top to the bottom, in the order of the reference number with possible skipping of some articles according to your interests.  This order mostly, but not exactly, reflects the dates of my writing, which are shown in ( ) in the figure and also next to the author name(s) in the Reference.  The left and right columns in the figure designate the relevance predoninantly to TRIZ and to USIT, respectively.  Especially the right-most column lists four USIT Case Studies.

To be brief, I would like to advise you as follows:

If you are and if you want to then you are advised to read
a novice read only one  [1]
read easy ones [1] [3] [4] [5]
familiar with TRIZ read only one [8]
read a few to learn USIT [8] [10] [12] 
much interested in USIT learn USIT closely but not much of TRIZ at moment [1] [3] [4] [5] [9] [10] [12] [14]
an expert in TRIZ study USIT closely [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
much interested in TRIZ/USIT learn everything useful for creative problem solving all, [1] through [14] in this order.

Ref. [1] (Introduction to TRIZ/USIT) is advised to be read first of all, for understanding the overall view of TRIZ and USIT and for understanding Nakagawa's viewpoints in a generall way.  This was written in August 2001 to introduce TRIZ to novices by reflecting Nakagawa's understanding after his study of TRIZ for four years.  This article is brief, i.e. in 4 printed pages. The article gives the overview of TRIZ, summarises the essence of TRIZ, then discusses the necessity of easier and yet more effective procedure for creative problem solving, and finally introduces USIT briefly as such a procedure.

Ref. [2] (Let's Learn TRIZ!) is an introduction to TRIZ written earlier in Jul. 1999.  This gives you closer understanding of TRIZ principles, knowledges, procedures, and how to introduce TRIZ/USIT in industries.

Ref. [3] (USIT) is an introductory and detailed article on USIT published for the first time in a compact form (instead of nearly 500-page textbook of USIT written by the developer, Ed Sickafus).  It describes the concept, procedure, examples, and usage of USIT.  This article was written in Sept. 1999 on the basis of my understanding of Sickafus' textbook and my experiences at Sickafus' 3-day Training Seminar held in March 1999 for the first time outside Ford.

Ref. [4] (USIT Case Study (1) Droplet) and Ref. [5](USIT Case Study (2) Foam Sheet)  are the reports of the cases I made at the USIT Training Seminar instructed by Ed Sickafus.  During the 3-day seminar, 4 teams of 10 trainees solved 8 real problems brought in by themselves.  Ref. [4] reports the case I made by using the Closed-World method for the problem analysis.  The case developed the methods for detecting a small amount of water leaking out of a gate valve.  In Ref. [5], a problem of increasing the foam ratio of the porous polymer sheet in its manufacturing process was solved.  This is a very good example of analyzing a problem with the Particles Method (i.e. refined version of Altshuller's Smart Little People's Modelling).  These two case studies are cited repeatedly in my later articles.  So you may be interested in reading these references in their original forms written in Jun. 1999.

Ref. [6] (Approaches of TRIZ in Japan) was written in Feb. 2000 as a paper presented at TRIZCON2000.  This is like a manifest of my approach to TRIZ in Japan.  Approaches to introducing TRIZ in Japan by several groups are briefly reviewed.  My understanding of TRIZ and of the necessity of easier procedures for solving problems with TRIZ is discussed.  Then USIT was briefly introduced as such an easy procedure.  And finally, I recommended the "Slow-but-Steady Strategy" for introducing TRIZ into industries at the then current stage of understanding TRIZ itself.

Ref. [7] (Staircase Design - TRIZ/USIT Case Study) was written in Aug. 2000 as a record of my actual thinking process.  When I was working to translate Salamatov's TRIZ textbook, I met an excercise problem of refining an emergency escape device in case of fire of a high-rise building.  I thought that staircases should be designed in a manner available safely even in case of fire.  I came up with a simple solution idea and wrote it down in a patent format after a week.  All the processes of my thinking on this problem was written down ten days later.  I realized that I was using TRIZ and USIT in an informal and yet very effective manner.  Various ways of thinking which led me to overcome barriers are described.  This is a unique case study of recording one's own thinking process for a real problem.  This was reported in TRIZCON2001.

Ref. [8] (Essence of TRIZ with Easier USIT) was written in May 2001 and presented in ETRIA2001.  This article includes my statement of 'Essence of TRIZ in 50 Words' and a brief explanation of it.  The statement was first shown in one of my slides for the presentation of Ref. [7] at TRIZCON2001.  The procedure of USIT was also described reflecting my experiences of teaching it.  In writing these papers I became more and more convinced with the necessity of teaching and understanding TRIZ in its essence and the necessity of an easier and effective procedure of applying such TRIZ essence to solving real problems creatively.

During this period of time, I was struggling to understand better the solution generation methods in USIT.  For me, USIT methods in the Problem Definition and Problem Analysis stages were clear but USIT methods in the Solution Generation stage are still not clear enough and take much time for masteing them, and thus are not easy to teach and apply.  So I studied Sickafus' textbook example of 'Picture Hanging Kit Problem' again and made a series of slides and wrote an article for explaining them to engineers.  Thus, Ref. [9] (Picture Hanging Kit Problem) was written in Jul. 2001.  This textbook problem was originally developed by Sickafus when he demonstrated USIT to a class of highschool science students.  Writing the article [9] was fruitful for me to better understand Sickafus' procedure and methods at the Solution Generation stage.  Especially I found that a solution idea can be obtained from four different solution generation methods in USIT and that the Sickafus' framework of solution generation methods can be regrouped using USIT's basic concepts.

As you see, I wrote Ref. [1] (Introduction to TRIZ/USIT) at this period of time after writing [8] and [9].

Ref. [10] (Experiences of USIT Procedure)was written in Dec. 2001 and presented at TRIZCON2002.  This article is a detailed description of the USIT method and of my experiences of teaching and applying USIT in my 3-day USIT Training Seminars in Japan.  By that time I had given many lectures and one-day seminars on USIT and had conducted 3-day USIT Training Seminars for six times.  How to organize and conduct such a training seminar with participants coming from different companies is decsribed.   Every detail of USIT methods, instructions to be given during the process, and experiences of problem solving, etc. are described here.  Solution Generation methods in USIT are now called Object Pluralization, Attribute Dimensionality, Function Distribution, Solution Combination, and Solution Generalization Methods.  Ed Sickafus contributed some discussions to this article, as you see in Ref. [10].  Thus, Ref. [10] is the most comprehensive article at moment of the overall procedure of USIT.

Ref. [11] (Reorganizing TRIZ into USIT) was written in Sept. 2002 together with Hideaki Kosha and Yuji Mihara of Fuji Photo Film Co. and presented at ETRIA2002.  In this work, all the TRIZ methods for the Solution Generation stage (including Inventive Principles, Inventive Standards, Trends of Technical Evolution, Separation Principle, Trimming, and Self-X Principle) were mapped one-to-many onto the five USIT Solution Generation methods, and were regrouped in a hierarchical way.  The USIT Solution Generation Methods are now hierarchically systematized with 5 methods containing 32 submethods in total.  The reasoning of the reorganization of TRIZ into a simpler and unified system of USIT is discussed.

Ref. [12] (USIT Solution Generation Methods - Full Version) was written in Sept. 2002 as the Appendix to Ref. [11] for the presentation in ETRIA2002.  This is a detailed description of the USIT Solution Generation Methods which form a system of operators.  They are operations of Pluralization onto Objects, Dimensional change onto Attributes, Distribution onto Functions, and Combination and Generalization onto Solution elements. The 32 submethods are given with brief guidelines, illustrations, and further detailed descriptions for using them.  On the basis of TRIZ know-hows, the USIT methods are much enriched and yet keep their clear concepts as operators.  References to TRIZ submethods are also shown.  This document is supposed to be the current best practice of the Solution Generation Methods of TRIZ/USIT.

Ref. [13] (USIT Solution Generation Methods - Extended Version) was written in Sept. 2002.  This is the extended version of Ref. [12].  References to TRIZ submethods are described here in detail.  Thus this article is useful to understand how the huge body of TRIZ Solution Generation Methods are actually reorganized into USIT in a systemetic way.  People who are already familiar with TRIZ can learn a lot from this document. This article will be posted in English in near future.

Ref. [14] (Usage of USIT) is an article newly written in Jan. 2003 and submitted for presentation at TRIZCON2003.  On the basis of Refs. [11-13], this article discusses that the traditional TRIZ is faced with a contradiction of penetration difficulty because of its own complexity and that it is going to follow the law of evolution by its "simplification and unification".  Thus, USIT is not just a simplified TRIZ but rather a new generation of TRIZ in its simple and unified form.  The usage of the Solution Generation Methods in Ref. [12] is illustrated in detail with the example of the 'Picture Hanging Kit Problem' (Ref. [9]), with much wider and systematized new solutions.

In my Web site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan", there are a large number of other articles written by Nakagawa and a number of  contributers from Japan and across the world.  The Web site is edited by Nakagawa and is updated often but not regularly.  Please visit it every month or two.  Your comments and contributions are always welcome either in English or in Japanese (to Nakagawa); or in Spanish to Mr. Hugo Sanchez.


[1]  'Introduction to TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving): A Technological Philosophy for Creative Problem Solving', Toru Nakagawa, (Aug. 2001, (J)), presented at The 23rd Annual Symposium of Japan Creativity Society, held at Toyo University, Tokyo, on Nov. 3-4, 2001 (J); TRIZ HP Japan (J), Nov. 2001; TRIZ HP Japan (E),  Jan. 2002

[2]  'Lets Learn 'TRIZ'! -- A Methodology for Creative Problem Solving', Toru Nakagawa, (Jul. 1999, (J)), Plant Engineers, Vol. 31, No. 8 (Aug. 1999),  pp. 30-39 (J); TRIZ HP Japan (J), Sept. 1999; TRIZ HP Japan (E), Oct. 1999; "JIPM-TPM", Nov. 1999 (E)

[3] 'USIT - Creative Problem Solving Procedure with Simplified TRIZ', Toru Nakagawa, (Sept. 1999, (J)), Journal of Japan Society for Design Engineering, Vol. 35, No. 4, Apr. 2000, pp. 111-118. (J); TRIZ HP Japan (J & E), Apr. 2000.

[4]  'USIT Case Study (1) Detection of Small Water Leakage from a Gate Valve', Toru Nakagawa,(Jun. 1999 (J)), TRIZ HP Japan (J), Jul. 1999 ; TRIZ HP Japan (E), Aug. 1999 

[5]  'USIT Case Study (2) Increase the Foam Ratio in Forming a Porous Sheet from Gas-Solved Molten Polymer', Toru Nakagawa, (Jun. 1999 (J)), TRIZ HP Japan (J), Jul. 1999; TRIZ HP Japan (E), Aug. 1999 

[6] 'Approaches to Application of TRIZ in Japan', Toru Nakagawa, (Feb. 2000 (E)), TRIZCON2000: The Second Annual AI TRIZ Conference, Apr. 30 - May 2, 2000, Nashua, NH, USA, pp. 21-35. ; TRIZ HP Japan (E), May 2000; TRIZ HP Japan (J),  Feb. 2001 .

[7]'Staircase Design of High-rise Buildings Preparing against Fire - TRIZ/USIT Case Study', Toru Nakagawa, (Aug. 2000 (J) and revised Dec. 2000 (E)), presented at TRIZCON2001: The 3rd Annual AI TRIZ Conference, March 25-27, 2001, Woodland Hills, CA (E); TRIZ HP Japan (E & J), Apr. 2001.

[8] 'Learning and Applying the Essence of TRIZ with Easier USIT Procedure', Toru Nakagawa, (May 2001 (E)), ETRIA World Conference: TRIZ Future 2001, Nov. 7-9, 2001, Bath, UK, pp. 151-164; TRIZ HP Japan (J), Aug. 2001; TRIZ HP Japan (E), Nov. 2001.

[9]  'Commentary on "The Picture Hanging Kit Problem"', Toru Nakagawa and Ed Sickafus, (Jul. 2001, (J)), TRIZ HP Japan (J & E), Aug. 2001.

[10]  'Experiences of Teaching and Applying the Essence of TRIZ with Easier USIT Procedure', Toru Nakagawa, (Dec. 2001, (E)), TRIZCON2002, held on Apr. 28-30, St. Louise, Misouri, USA (E); TRIZ HP Japan (J), Jan. 2002; TRIZ HP Japan (E), May 2002.

[11]  'Reorganizing TRIZ Solution Generation Methods into Simple Five in USIT', Toru Nakagawa, Hideaki Kosha, and Yuji Mihara, (Sept. 2002, (E)), Presented at ETRIA World Conference "TRIZ Future 2002" held at Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 6-8, 2002; TRIZ HP Japan (J), Sept. 2002; TRIZ HP Japan (E), Nov. 2002.

[12]  'USIT Solution Generation Methods (Full Version) -  Simplified System by the Reorganization of TRIZ Solution Generation Methods', Toru Nakagawa, Hideaki Kosha, and Yuji Mihara, (Sept. 2002, (E)), Appendix to the paper presented at ETRIA World Conference "TRIZ Future 2002" held at Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 6-8, 2002; TRIZ HP Japan (J), Sept. 2002; TRIZ HP Japan (E), Nov. 2002.

[13]  'USIT Solution Generation Methods (Extended Version) -  Simplified System by the Reorganization of TRIZ Solution Generation Methods', Toru Nakagawa, Hideaki Kosha, and Yuji Mihara, (Sept. 2002, (J)),  TRIZ HP Japan (J), Sept. 2002; TRIZ HP Japan (E), to be posted.

[14]  'Usage of USIT Solution Generation Methods: A Simple and Unified System of TRIZ', Toru Nakagawa, Hideaki Kosha, and Yuji Mihara, (Jan. 2003, (E)), submitted for presentation at TRIZCON2003, to be held on Mar. 16-18, 2003, at Philadelphia, PA, USA (E); TRIZ HP Japan (J), to be posted in Jan. 2003; TRIZ HP Japan (E), to be posted in Mar. 2003  .


   Language marks:  (J):  Japanese , (E): English , (Sp): Spanish 
    "TRIZ HP Japan" =  "TRIZ Home Page in Japan", Editor: Toru Nakagawa, URL:
        http://www. (in English), php/nakagawa/TRIZ/ (in Japanese).
    "TRIZ XXI"    Editor: Jose M. Vicente Gomila (Spain),  URL:
    "TRIZ Nicaragua" , Editor: Hugo Sanchez,  URL:
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Last updated on Mar. 30, 2008.     Access point:  Editor: