TRIZ Paper 
"Breakthrough Thinking" User's Manual
Larry K. Ball (Honeywell, USA), 
TRIZ Journal, March 2003 Issue.
Japanese translation by Toru Nakagawa (Osaka Gakuin Univ.), Mar. 1, 2003.  [Posted in the Japanese page under the permission of the Author, on Mar. 5, 2003]
Editor's Note (for the Japanese version) by Toru Nakagawa:
[Posted here in English translation on Mar. 5, 2003.]
Message and Profile by Larry Ball, on Mar. 4, 2003.  [Posted: Mar. 5, 2003]
For going back to Japanese  pages, press  buttons.

Editor's Note for the publication  in Japanese translation in this "TRIZ Home Page in Japan"
    (Toru Nakagawa, Mar. 1, 2003)  [Translated into English on Mar. 3, 2003.]

The original course material written by Larry Ball were posted in the TRIZ Journal just a year ago.  The course document of "Breakthrough Thinking" is as large as 6 MB in the PDF format, and its "User's Manual" describing the basic philosophy and usage of the course material is 1.8 MB.  Here I am posting the Japanese translation of the "User's Manual".

I failed in recognizing this paper last March.  At the ETRIA Conference "TRIZ Future 2002" last November, Dr. Ellen Domb referred this to me just after my presentation of our paper of "Reorganizing TRIZ into Simple USIT".  I downloaded the documents after the Conference and was amazed with its volume and detailed illustrations.  At the beginning, however, even though I read the pages repeatedly I could not understand well what the documents are saying.  The whole system of TRIZ methodology has been reorganized in a unique way, and a full process for problem solving was presented in a particular manner.  The author has been studying TRIZ for these 10 years and has been teaching and applying TRIZ at Honeywell by using these course documents which has been revised several tens of times, he says.

I made up my mind and wrote an email to the author on January 2nd to ask a permission of translating the documents into Japanese.  Mr. Larry Ball gave me the permission readily and sent me the whole original files in PowerPoint.  They are new versions revised further after publishing in the TRIZ Journal (especially at the initial steps of the process), he says.  The User's Manual I translated here into Japanese is not the latest version but rather the old one appearing in the TRIZ Journal together with the course document itself.  Since I will not be available to translate the course document for many months, Japanese readers will have to read it in English in the TRIZ Journal, I suppose.

In the Japanese version, I inserted some notes in [ ].  Especially, the subsection titles are extended slightly in [ ] to clarify the processes for problem solving.  I also attached the section numbers in a hierarchical manner, under the author's permission.  In the original paper the section structure is shown only with the style of the headings and with the indentations.  The hierarhical numbering system in the Japanese version has revealed the structure of the problem solving process more clearly, I believe.  The Introduction section is named Section 0, so as to name the principal six steps as Section 1 through Section 6.

We can learn a lot in this paper:

(1) The whole theories and methods of TRIZ have been reorganized with a unique viewpoint into a new system.
(2) Using plain terminology and making many smaller steps (instead of major jumps in thinking), the problem solving process proceeds step by step towards the goal.
(3) The problem solving process is presented as one sequence of six principal steps, straightforward with some branching in the middle.
(4) The system of problem is shown in diagrams with particular focus on its functionality, and the solutions are also tried to be made visual as much as possible.
(5) The property/attribute aspects of the system are analyzed well to effectively contribute to solutions.
(6) For all the substeps in the problem solving process, a variety of solution methods are well demonstrated with examples and their illustrations.
(7) Especially, a large variety of solution methods are illustrated for solving Physical Contradictions.
(8) As the whole, the process seems to be effective in generating a large number of creative solutions.
(9) The methodology has been developed and applied in Honeywell, USA, for these 10 years.
This methodology of "Breakthrough Thinking" shares many viewpoints in common with USIT, which was developed by Ed Sickafus and further extended in this Web site.  Nevertheless, it is much different from USIT in many other points.  I feel that we will understand the more significance of this "Breakthrough Thinking" when we study it the deeper.

After all, it is a big surprize for me that such an outstanding work as "Breakthrough Thinking" has appeared in public only after ten years of research and practice.  The depth and breadth of penetration of TRIZ into US industries has not been reported publicly.  Considering the excellence in research in US, especially in industries, maybe this work should be regarded just one example among many other non-disclosed excellent works.  Now that over 10 years have already passed since TRIZ systematically exposed to US industries, we wish that studies and practices of TRIZ would be published much more from US industries in the very near future.

We wish to express sincere thanks to the author and relevant organizations for their permission of our translation and posting of this paper in Japanese:

The author:   Mr. Larry K. Ball  (Honeywell, USA),    Email:   <>
Affiliate:       Honeywell International Inc. (USA)     Web site:
Original publication:   TRIZ Journal    (Editors:  Ellen Domb & Michel Slocum)
Sponsor of the TRIZ Journal:   Mitsubishi Research Institute.
[Note (Mar. 5, 2003):  On my request, the Author kindly sent us the following message.  This message tells a lot to us learners/practitioners of TRIZ.  Grateful to Mr. Larry Ball for his permission of posting his message here. ]


Author's Message and Profile  (Larry Ball, Mar. 4, 2003)

Dear Mr. Toru Nakagawa and Hugo Sanchez,

I am always a little surprised when people tell me that what I have written is different from what other TRIZ people write.  From my own point of view, it is just applied TRIZ.  I do not wish to separate my work in any way from mainstream TRIZ or to set myself up as an authority.

Here is my background.  I graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 and received my masters in 1981 from the same school.  After school I immediately began working in the electronics industry on computer peripherals.  In 1985 I came to Honeywell to work as an analytical engineer.  Most of my duties are involved with R&D and performing static and dynamic analysis of pneumatic products that our company makes. Since I am an active inventor within my company, I also have many opportunities to use TRIZ in R&D efforts.  Since 1994 I have taught many courses.  The demand for TRIZ training has rapidly increased since the acceptance of TRIZ in mainstream DFSS.

My first exposure to TRIZ came in 1991 when I read "Creativity as an Exact Science".  Following that reading I have committed myself to an intense study and use of TRIZ.  Although I was already an active inventor, I wanted to improve.  As I studied, I realized that there were many schools of thought.  I copied the version of ARIZ from "Creativity as an Exact Science" and committed to using it.  As I attended training, read and received new insights, I incorporated these into the algorithm.  Every article I read became absorbed into this algorithm.

In about 1996, I expanded the algorithm into a lengthy handbook in the hope that others would use it.  My hopes were dashed when people found it too unwieldy.  One of my students encouraged me to create a so-called "cheat-sheet" or shortened version of the handbook, but one that had built-in examples and colorful visual devices to help students remember.  In essence it was a request to go back to a shorter algorithm but make it more interesting.  I followed this advice.  It turned out to be a good idea because new ideas were more easily absorbed.  It was also easier to rearrange the steps when necessary.  (I have found this to be necessary on many occasions as I have been influenced by the writings of others).

In March 2002 I published my first work in the TRIZ-Journal.  Since that time, I have received a number of correspondences giving suggestions for improvements.  These suggestions have given me reason for much contemplation and have resulted in useful changes.  I hope to publish a revision to the March 2002 article soon.

Larry Ball

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