Practices of Applying TRIZ/USIT in Japan
Toru Nakagawa (Osaka Gakuin University, Japan)
TRIZCON2004:  6th Annual Conference of the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies held at Seattle, WA, USA, on April 25-27, 2004. 
  [Posted here on May 13, 2004]
[Japanese translation by Nakagawa
, Posted on Aug. 26, 2004.]
For going back to Japanese  pages, press  buttons.

Preface (Toru Nakagawa, May 7, 2004)

This paper was presented at TRIZCON2004 two weeks ago in Seattle.   I am grateful for the Altshuller Institue for TRIZ Studies to have organized the conference and for allowing wider distribution of the conference papers in this Web site. 
      Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies (USA),  Web site:       Email:

One of the principal issues at TRIZCON2004 was 'how to introduce TRIZ into industries', and a number of presentations of success stories and discussions were made in relation to this issue as I reported in my Personal Report of TRIZCON2004  which is posted separately in this Web site at the same time.  Success stories were reported from UK, USA, and Korea (especially from Samsung group), while concern about much-slower-than-expected penetration of TRIZ was also the topic at the Panel Session. 

This paper presents the position in Japan, exactly responding to the question 'how to introduce TRIZ into industries' on the basis of practices.  It reviews various activites in Japan for studying/applying/promoting TRIZ since around 1996, and describes different stages and different strategies.  The unique position of Japan (and the present author) has been to avoid the initial (and still globally present) prevailing strategy, i.e. so to speak "Hurrying and Enforcing Strategy", so as to take the "Slow-but-Steady Strategy" and its current successor "Steady Strategy".  The heart of these latter strategies is to make TRIZ simpler, unified, and more effective to understand and apply in real industrial situations.  This has been done by (in addition to early conversions of TRIZ software tools into Japanese) the introduction of USIT as a simple and unified process for probelm solving in TRIZ, and Japanese translations of  Salamatov's textbook (to understand the best of Russian TRIZ) and of Mann's new textbook (to understand the best of current Systematic Creativity based on TRIZ).  Current situations and activities in Japanese industries are reviewed in the present paper by using their own publications (mostly published only in Japanese so far).  

(Top of the paper)
1.  Introduction
2.  Evolution of Understanding of TRIZ in Japan
3.  Introduction to USIT and its Practices
4.  Examples of Promoting/Applying  TRIZ/USIT in Japan
    4.1  Examples in Industries
    4.2  Examples in Academia and Education
5.  Concluding Remarks

As I wrote in the Concluding Remarks of this paper, "Japan has received much from international TRIZ community and has contributed some to it".   This paper intends to be an introduction of Japanese TRIZ community to the world.  I wish that people in Japanese TRIZ community will contribute much more in the near future. 
Top of this page Top  of the paper
1. Introduction  2. Evolution of Understanding TRIZ
3. Introduction to USIT
4.  Examples of  Promoting/ Applying TRIZ/USIT
Concluding Remarks
References Japanese page 

Nakagawa, TRIZCON2000: Approaches in Japan
Nakagawa, TRIZCON2002: USIT Procedure Nakagawa et al., ETRIA2002: Reorganizing TRIZ into USIT  Nakagawa et al.: USIT Solution Generation Methods Nakagawa: ETRIA 2003:  USIT Approach
4th Japan IM User Group Meeting
Personal Report of TRIZCON2004

Practices of Applying TRIZ/USIT in Japan

(Osaka Gakuin University, Japan)


Acceptance of TRIZ in Japan seems to be changing from its early stage of mixture of enthusiasm and skeptism around 1998 to more practical application trials with better understanding in current days.  TRIZ knowledge-base tools were once the symbol of introducing TRIZ in firms, but we now realize the capability of in-house application of TRIZ to real problems and of in-house training of TRIZ is the more important measure of penetration.

The present author proposed "Slow-but-Steady Strategy" for promoting TRIZ in Japan in 1999 in contrast to the then prevailing "Hurrying and Forcing Strategy".  However, on the basis of progress of TRIZ for these years, he is now advocating "Steady Strategy".  The key element for the strategy is to offer the TRIZ methodology in a way easy to access and effective to apply to real industrial problems.  USIT (Unified Structured Inventive Thinking) is shown to be a simple, unified, and powerful TRIZ-based process, which may be successfully mastered in 2-day training seminars.  

Practices in promoting and applying TRIZ/USIT in a number of Japanese industries and in some academia were reviewed here with reference to their own presentations.  These experiences show that TRIZ/USIT has been successfully used and trained in many cases and that the general situations around TRIZ in Japan have formed a sound basis for taking the "Steady Strategy" as the next step of promoting TRIZ.

1.  Introduction

Acceptance of TRIZ in Japan seems to be changing from its early stage of mixture of enthusiasm and skeptism around 1998 to more practical application trials with better understanding in current days.  TRIZ knowledge-base tools were once the symbol of introducing TRIZ in firms, but we now realize the capability of in-house application of TRIZ to real problems and of in-house training of TRIZ is more important measure of penetration.  In this measure, many Japanese pioneering industries seem to have reached a start of new stage of penetration of TRIZ. 

In 1999 the present author proposed the "Slow-but-Steady Strategy" (B) of introducing TRIZ into Japan [1] in contrast to the then prevailing strategy, so to speak "Hurrying and Forcing Strategy" (A).  However, since January 2003, the present author has been promoting "Steady Strategy" (C) for introducing TRIZ (by dropping the word "Slow") [2].  The reasoning is as follows:

In 1990s and until very recently, the prevailing strategy (A) of promoting TRIZ in the (Western) world seemed to be:

However, this strategy contained serious difficulties as follows until recently:

Thus the present author recommended the "Slow-but-Steady Strategy" (B) in 1999 [1] as:

General understanding of TRIZ and situations surrounding TRIZ have made progress for these several years, especially in the following points:

On the basis of these situations, the present author has been advocating in Japan the "Steady Strategy" (C) since January 2003 [2] as follows:
In the following sections, the reasoning about the strategy are discussed together with some cases of practices of TRIZ/USIT in Japan.

2.  Evolution of Understanding of TRIZ in Japan

Introduction of TRIZ into Japan [1] was started in 1996-1997 by publications of Japanese translation of Altshuller's books [3, 4] and by sales of software tools TechOptimizer (of Invention Machine, Inc) [5] and IWB (of Ideation International, Inc.) [6].  Introductory seminars were held a number of times by inviting US-based former-Russian TRIZ experts.  All these were quite new and sensational to some industrial engineers.  During this initial stage, 40 Inventive Principles and Contradiction Matrix were regarded as the highest of TRIZ achievements.  The two TRIZ software tools were converted into Japanese in 1999 and in 2000.  But many engineers who tried to use these tools met difficulties in properly positioning their own problems in the Contradiction Matrix, in applying the Principles to their own cases partly due to apparent oldness of the examples, and in representing their systems in the Functional Analysis diagrams in useful ways.

Even though the S-Field Modeling was demonstrated in Altshuller's textbooks and various introductory articles, its usage was difficult to master for most of the readers.  The full description of Inventive Standards was introduced only after the Japanese translation of Salamatov's textbook [8] in 2000.  The process with ARIZ and the usage of Physical Contradictions were recognized around the same time.  Only several people in Japan received in-person TRIZ training for a period longer than a week.  Most pioneers had to and actually did study TRIZ through publications and introductory seminars.  Thus it took a long time (probably of two, three years) for those pioneers to understand the way of thinking in TRIZ at the level capable to apply it to their own problems. 

In industries, voluntary pioneers in research labs, engineering divisions, intellectual property sections, etc. tried to study TRIZ first, use TRIZ software tools, organize some group of people with common interests, hold introductory seminars inviting TRIZ experts/consultants, and apply TRIZ to their real problems.  For doing all these 'extra-job' activities, they had to persuade their bosses who often knew nothing about TRIZ beforehand and who even were skeptical with the catchphrase of 'super-techniques for invention'.  Thus it took much time for those industrial pioneers to accomplish real results in problem solving and to obtain several to twenty colleagues who were interested in studying/applying TRIZ in their own work.  This was the era when the present author recommended the "Slow-but-Steady Strategy" in promoting TRIZ [1]

There were a number of activities which contributed much to promote TRIZ in Japan.  Nikkei BP [23] published a series of textbooks [3, 4, 8, 9] and many articles in monthly journal 'Nikkei Mechanical'.  Mitsubishi Research Institute [24] promoted Invention Machine's software tools and organized regular study-group meetings of users.  SANNO Institute for Management [25] made introductory seminars and consulting jobs in a number of firms.  The "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" [16] served as a TRIZ hub site in Japan with Japanese translation of selected papers over the world, case study articles by users, and articles written by the present author.  All these and many other activities in Japan and in the world gradually have made a general basis for the next stage of penetration of TRIZ in Japan. 

Probably one of the unique points in the understanding of TRIZ in Japan is its stress on the 'simple and unified way' of problem solving in TRIZ, especially in the form of USIT.  The present author learned USIT through Sickafus' textbook [17] and his 3-day training seminar, and have introduced it into Japan since 1999.  Since he has given many lectures, papers, and training seminars of USIT [1, 26, 27] and posted them all in the Web site, almost all people who are interested in TRIZ in Japan know somewhat about USIT.  Recent work by Nakagawa, Kosha, and Mihara [20, 28, 29] reorganized the whole body of TRIZ methods (including Inventive Principles, Inventive Standards, and Trends of Evolution) into simple five solution generation methods in USIT.  USIT has been applied in a number of Japanese industries, as shown in Section 4.

Case study reports published in conferences like TRIZCONs (held by Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies, see [12]) and ETRIACONs (held by European TRIZ Association, see [13]), in the "TRIZ Journal" [15], and in Japan IM User Group Meetings (held by Mitsubishi Research Institute, see [14]), etc. have contributed much for the TRIZ community to understand how to think in TRIZ.  Thus several Japanese industries have recently started to publish their own cases of TRIZ promotion and applications [14], even though in Japanese at moment.

One recent, big impact on our understanding of TRIZ in Japan is (and will further be) Darrell Mann's new textbook "Hands-On Systematic Innovation" [11] and CREAX' work of updating the whole TRIZ knowledge bases on the basis of their new patent research [21, 22].  A team of about 20 voluntary members from different companies have been working together for translating the textbook into Japanese, and they have learned much from it about deeper and more flexible way of thinking in TRIZ.  The significance of CREAX' patent research is well understood and the updated Contradiction Matrix (i.e. Matrix 2003) has been examined to apply in practices. 

On the bases of these recent progress, the present author has been advocating "Steady Strategy" of introducing TRIZ since January 2003 [2]

3.  Introduction to USIT and Its Practices

Before discussing about the practices of TRIZ in Japan, it should be appropriate here to briefly introduce you to USIT and its practices by the present author.

USIT (Unified Structured Inventive Thinking) was developed by Ed Sickafus at Ford Motor Company as fully described in his textbook [17] and more recently in his e-book [30].  The main features of USIT are:

USIT was adopted in Japan and was further refined as described in a series of papers by the present author [1, 26-29, 20]:

Practices of the USIT 3-day Training Seminar were reported in detail in [27].  8-15 participants coming from different industries worked together successfully to solve 2-4 real industrial problems in their parallel group practices along the USIT process.  Recently, in the in-house situations essentially the same USIT Training Seminars have been carried out in two days [2].  The reduction of the training period is made possible by the in-company organizer's activities for selecting problems and participants beforehand, by the general background knowledge more or less common among the participants, and also by improved guiding skill of the Instructor (i.e. the present author).  Figure 1 shows the time schedule.  Typically, 15 to 25 participants are trained at the same time solving three real problems; almost all of them may be novices in TRIZ/USIT, while a few others are promoters/practitioners of TRIZ/USIT.  This style of training is very effective in three fold: participants actually solve three real problems in depth, they understand what is TRIZ/USIT and how to solve problems in USIT, and the promoters of the company learn how to conduct USIT training seminars. 

Figure 1.  Program of Two-Day USIT Training Seminar [2]

4.  Examples of Promoting/Applying TRIZ/USIT in Japan

In the following, some of the cases of promoting and applying TRIZ/USIT in Japanese industries and academia are reviewed briefly by using published articles.  It should be noted of course that there can be many other good/important cases which are not mentioned here because of no publications or simply no space of description here.

4.1  Examples in Industries

Fuji Xerox Corp. [31, 32] has been most active to publicly report their TRIZ activities and case studies.  In 1997-1998 they started learning TRIZ by organizing a voluntary TRIZ Study Group, buying several set of software tools, and attending seminars.  The activity was enhanced in 2000 by reorganizing the TRIZ Study Group company-wide to report/discuss case studies regularly and to make in-house consulting activities.  Besides a number of chances of introductory seminars, 5 people took Advanced TRIZ Courses, and one attended at 3-day USIT Training Seminar.  TRIZ software tools have been installed in the network. 

TRIZ have been used mostly in R&D divisions.  About ten projects for each year in 2001 and 2002 used TRIZ/USIT.  Most popular methods have been 40 Principles and Effects Database, but with better understanding of TRIZ the weight of usage seems to have shifted to USIT for these two, three years.  Cases of solving technical problems have been publicized; they include: to measure the thickness of a paper in the paper tray of a copier, to improve the anti-moisture capability of the paper tray, and to solve the darkening problem in rare-gas fluorescence lamps.  It should also be noted that they applied TRIZ in management-type problems, such as to establish a new institution of "carrier advisers".  The guiding principles in this case involve the TRIZ concepts of Self-X, Ideal Final Results, and Resources.

Ricoh Corp. [33, 34] has introduced TRIZ in a similar way, starting a voluntary study group with software tools in 1997.  The TRIZ Study Group of pioneering engineers was authorized in 1999 with the promotion by QC-related office.  The group became active in 2001 when they started in-house TRIZ Training Seminars regularly.  They developed the course curriculum and textbooks for themselves and served as the instructors.  In the Japan IM User Group Meeting in 2003, they reported a case study of improving a part of "echo-packaging".  This result was obtained by an engineer who applied TRIZ to his actual job immediately after studying at the in-house TRIZ Beginner Course.

Fuji Photo Film Co. has also been active to introduce TRIZ/USIT as briefly described in [35, 29].  After early pioneering activities by Mr. Key Nakamura during 1996-1998, Mr. Hideaki Kosha in a production engineering division and Mr. Yuji Mihara in a research laboratory volunteered in 1998 to promote TRIZ.  They have organized short lectures of TRIZ and USIT by outside leaders.  It is remarkable that they soon found USIT most useful and have chosen it as their core strategy of promoting TRIZ.  For promoting TRIZ they organized regular TRIZ (and USIT) courses for beginners, as well as those on software usage and practices (mostly given by external consultants).  The two promoters also worked for consulting a number of real projects by using USIT.  They became coauthors with Nakagawa of the papers on the reorganization of TRIZ methods into USIT and on their usage [20, 28, 29]

Their main efforts are to guide engineers to get familiar with TRIZ/USIT and to have motivations and skills to apply TRIZ/USIT to their own problems.  Kosha [36] recently mentioned that they have come in three stages so far.  At the first stage, when engineers were introduced to USIT they were interested in it but only a tenth or less of them actually tried to apply it later (and some others were even skeptical to it).  Then some engineers came to the promoters to get guidance for their own difficult problems and worked to solve them with USIT.  In this second stage even repeating users were not yet confident enough for applying USIT for themselves.  Then at the third stage, some repeating users have started to apply USIT to their problems for themselves and started to bring up USIT instructors in their own divisions.  Fuji Photo Film have experienced about 40 USIT projects so far and have just reached the beginning of the third stage, Kosha says. 

Nissan Motors Co. [37] also introduced software tools in 1996 in its English edition but experienced difficult time for about four years.  In 2000 a core group was formed in the Intellectual Property Rights division and started to promote TRIZ actively.  The IP people studied TRIZ and used it while they consult with researchers and engineers on improving the patent description and on discussing unsolved difficulties.  In this manner the TRIZ group obtained more and more people in the IP division and trained them to be 'TRIZ key persons', counting 16 TRIZ key persons currently.  A mid-term plan of the IP division is to train all the IP division members to be capable to apply TRIZ in their daily jobs in 5 years.  Since the IP division supports the R&D activities in the whole company, the usefulness of TRIZ will certainly get known company-wide. 

A patent specialist in Nissan was assigned in 2002 as a new member of the TRIZ group.  He was initially skeptical with TRIZ and thinking it ineffective and useless, but in a few months of study and communications in the MRI Users Group he found the power of TRIZ real, and became an active promoter of TRIZ in his company [37]. 

Nissan [37] has experiences of all the three TRIZ approaches, i.e. IM & MRI's software tools, SANNO's basic TRIZ courses, and USIT.  They are going to use them in a complementary manner.  They held in-house USIT Training Seminars three times for these two years.  The first and the second were held with the leadership of the IP division for training key persons in the IP division together with laboratory researchers.  The third seminar, on the other hand, was held with the leadership of an engineering division to train their engineers in USIT through the practices of solving their real problems.

Hitachi [38] made a more systematic approach since 1997 in its company-wide committee activities.  In 1999, Hitachi started a company wide promotion of "HiSpeed21" (Hitachi Innovation Program toward Super Process with Excellent Engineering & Digital Technologies for 21st Century).  QFD, TRIZ, and Taguchi Method as well as CAD/CAE/CAM were promoted in this movement.  During these four years, total of 36,000 engineers and researchers were trained on QFD, TRIZ or Taguchi Method (even though TRIZ was least among the three).  In 2003, the movement has been extended further as HiSpeed/Next.

Dr. Tosihiro Hayashi [38] says that QFD, TRIZ, and Taguchi Method have the roles in appropriately accounting the market and customer needs, in creating new technological concepts, and in evaluating and implementing robust quality in the market, respectively.  And the three methods have the nature in common that they are independent of specific technical fields, request to think about the core essence of the problem, and accelerate the transformation of personal knowledge into organizational knowledge.  Hitachi's approach seems to be most systematic and in a top-down style.  Though they seem to have experiences of the three TRIZ approaches in different divisions, they have not published any case studies yet.

JR (Japan Railway)-East [39] recently reported their case study of applying TRIZ to the development of future design of toilet space in their bullet train 'Shinkansen'.  JR-East introduced TRIZ in 2001 with the consulting by SANNO Institute.  They integrated their VE approach with TRIZ-DE.  Users' requests were collected through inquiries and a specifically-arranged free-talk meeting only by ladies.  By use of the 9-Window Method and knowledge bases of Technology Trends in TRIZ, scenarios of future of 'clean, comfortable and refreshing' toilet spaces in the Shinkansen trains were obtained.  Such scenarios were further developed into a hierarchical description of functions in the VE scheme.  The resultant mock-up model looks fine and elegant.  This case study has clearly shown the capability of TRIZ in the development of new products.   

The most powerful and successful case came from Panasonic Communications Co., a group company of Matsushita [40].  Mr. Kazuya Yamaguchi, the manager of Development Process Innovation Group, learned TRIZ and promoted it with all his power since 2001.  He learned both QFD and Taguchi Method earlier and implemented them already at that time.  Once he understood and was convinced with the effectiveness of TRIZ, he let his team work with TRIZ intensively under the support by external consultants.  In two years, 500 engineers were given the TRIZ Basic Course, and 150 engineers now can apply TRIZ to their jobs, and especially 15 members of his division work with TRIZ in full time for leading the problem solving projects in various divisions of the company.  Mr. Yamaguchi has been fighting against managers who wouldn't move forward and behave reluctant to innovative ways.  One-day training of managers in TRIZ is one of his means.  The top management of Matsushita has been convinced of the effectiveness of TRIZ, and is expected to start a new movement in the near future, he says. 

The case study [40] reported on the project of reducing the package size of an electrically-recordable white board into a half.  By using extensive functional analysis and Contradiction Matrix, a large number of solution concepts were generated in various aspects of the problem.  Making the main board foldable into four parts is the main solution concept.  After applying TRIZ, the product was designed and manufactured with much care (with the help of Taguchi Method, for example).  Thus the new model of the product has been halved in the packaging volume and reduced by 10 % in the production cost.  They are currently sold 1.5 times in number. 

The number of TRIZ consultants in Japan seem to be small at moment.  Staff members of MRI and SANNO and dealers of TRIZ software tools were the initial sources.  Some but still few people who have been working in VE, TQC, etc. seem to become interested in teaching and consulting in TRIZ.  Recently a number of people who had been pioneering promoters of TRIZ in industries have retired from their companies early or at the company-set age (around 55-60) and became TRIZ consultants with rich expertise in technology. 

Mr. Hiroto Hayashi [41], a consultant specialized in TRIZ and innovative thinking, has reported his method of functional analysis and of revealing the plausible root causes of a problem.  He advocated to reveal a large number of root causes and to generate a large number of solution concepts corresponding to them. 

There are also some grass-root promoters in government/community centers.  For example, a young researcher at Kochi Prefectural Industrial Technology Center organizes 'Mechatronics Research Circle' [42] together with local industrial people.  The Circle has given introductory TRIZ seminars six times for these five years by inviting TRIZ leaders of different approaches, and has been trying to apply TRIZ to the industrial problems of Circle members.

4.2  Examples in Academia and Education

In academia, at The University of Tokyo, Professor Yotaro Hatamura (currently at Kogakuin University) and Professor Masayuki Nakao introduced TRIZ in early days and published two textbooks [43, 44] in TRIZ related area.  They are mostly interested in creative design methodology and its practices.  Hence their textbooks introduce TRIZ and discuss on it from the perspectives of Axiomatic Design and Knowledge Management in design.

Professor Keishi Kawamo of Shibaura Institute of Technology teaches mechanical engineering at graduate level and recently published a textbook "Methodologies for Creative Engineering Design" [45] as the coeditor.  This textbook covers P&B, VE, QFD, TRIZ, USIT, and Taguchi methods, with much weight on TRIZ.  Professor Haruhiko Iizuka of Kanto Gakuin University also teaches at mechanical engineering department.  He and his Master Course students have reported their case studies every time in Japan IM User Group Meeting for these four years [46].  They have been using USIT in the original Sickafus' version.

The present author teaches undergraduate students at Faculty of Informatics of a non-government university.  The lecture notes of a series of 13 lectures on "Methodologies for Creative Problem Solving" [47] were published in his Web site.  This is a regular non-mandatory class for sophomer students, who only have basic training in information science/technology and do not have any specialty training in engineering and any experiences in industry.  But it still covers how to think creatively in science and technology, especially with the philosophy and tools of TRIZ/USIT.  Some case studies achieved by undergraduate students will be posted in the Web site in the near future.

Professional/academic societies in Japan are rather slow in recognizing TRIZ (or rather, we are slow in having TRIZ recognized by them).  Among them, Japan Society for Design Engineering published special issues of their journal on "The Basics of Design by Means of TRIZ" in Mar.-Apr., 2000 [48].  Eight invited articles were published.  There seem to be some interests in and interactions with TRIZ in the societies of VE, QFD, Mechanical Engineering, Creativity, etc. 

In this situation, Japan Invention Machine Users Group Meeting [14] has been held annually since 2000 by Mitsubishi Research Institute and has served as the most important conferences for presenting TRIZ-related works and for communicating among TRIZ users.  The presentations and communications are quite frank in these UGMs, because most of the participants also have chances to discuss together in monthly or bi-monthly Study Groups of IM Users organized by MRI.  A large number of case study reports have been presented in the Japan IM UGM and later posted in the Web, as you see in the Reference list below.

In Japan we do not have a unified association of TRIZ (such as Japan Association of TRIZ) yet and we should start to think of such a possibility in near future. 

TRIZ-based education for high-school students and younger children has not been tried yet in Japan.  Natalia Rubina's booklets of TRIZ courses for elementary school children at 1-3 year [49] were published in English in "TRIZ Home Page in Japan", but have not been tried to use for children education yet.  It will take several more years for school teachers to understand TRIZ itself and try practices of teaching creativity with some basis on TRIZ philosophy. 

5.  Concluding Remarks

As you see in many cases of industries mentioned above, the initial stage of promotion of TRIZ in Japan had experienced mixture of sensation and skepticism, difficulties in the software-tool predominant approaches, slow-but-steady grass-root efforts by pioneering engineers, and gradual recognition by organizations on the basis of growing capabilities of applying TRIZ to real problems.  The general background information about TRIZ (especially, how TRIZ can be applied and how much competitors are using it) forms the basis for easier promotion of TRIZ.  Japan has received much from international TRIZ community and has contributed some to it. 

Recently there have appeared a few industrial cases where TRIZ are promoted somewhat top-down along the line of organizations.  In all such cases, middle managers are the key persons.  They studied TRIZ for themselves at the high level of understanding and self-confidence, organized various activities under their control, and persuaded/fought to obtain approval from their top management.  (This kind of efforts are made by the key persons working in the grass-root style, too.  Only the difference is how much approval/support/authorization can be obtained from their bosses or top managers.)  So the cases are not the 'top-down' style in the US/European/Korean sense and often called the 'middle-top-down' style, which is known to be particularly suitable in Japanese industries.  The higher the position of the key person in the middle, the more effective/ powerful/successful in the promotion (of TRIZ or any other).  When this type of promotion/penetration occurs in some big companies, other industries will often follow.  In this sense, TRIZ in Japan has reached the beginning of new stage where "Steady Strategy" is suitable. 

In order to make the new stage successful, it is most important to offer the TRIZ methodology in a way easy to access and effective to apply to real problems in industries.  Thus good textbooks/introductory articles, easy process of problem solving (i.e. way of thinking), and handy software tools of knowledge bases are the essential set of (new generation) TRIZ.  These are the core elements we should supply and we should use in the proposed "Steady Strategy" of promoting TRIZ.

References 1)

[1] Toru Nakagawa: 'Approaches to Application of TRIZ in Japan', TRIZCON2000, held at Nashua, NH, USA on Apr. 30 - May 2, 2000; TRIZ HP Japan, May 2000 (E); Feb. 2001 (J).

[2] Toru Nakagawa, 'USIT Approach in Japan for Simpler and Powerful Process of Creative Problem Solving in TRIZ', ETRIA World Conference "TRIZ Fture 2003" held at Aachen, Germany, on Nov. 12-14, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Dec. 2003 (E)

[3] Genrich S. Altshuller: "The Innovation Algorithm", Technical Innovation Center, Worchester, MA, USA (1999) (E); Japanese translation from Russian 1st edition, Nikkei BP (1997) (J).

[4] Genrich S. Altshuller: "And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared", English translation by Lev Shulyak, Technical Innovation Center, Inc., USA (1994) (E); Japanese translation, Nikkei BP (1997) (J).

[5] Invention Machine, Inc., URL:

[6] Ideation International Inc., URL:

[7] Don Clausing: 'The Role of TRIZ in Technology Development', TRIZCON2001 held at Woodland Hills, CA, USA, on Mar. 25-27, 2001; TRIZ HP Japan, Jun. 2001 (J)

[8] Yuri Salamatov: "TRIZ: The Right Solution at The Right Time", Insytec, The Netherland, (1999) (E); Japanese translation, Nikkei BP, (2000) (J).   

[9] Boris Zlotin and Alla Zusman: "Tools of Classical TRIZ", Ideation International Inc., Southfield, MI, USA, (1999) (E); Japanese translation, Nikkei BP (2000) (J).

[10] Semyon D. Savransky: "Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ Methodology of Inventive Problem Solving", CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, (2000) (E).

[11] Darrell Mann: "Hands-On Systematic Innovation", CREAX Press, Ieper, Belgium, (2002) (E); Japanese edition, SKI, Tokyo, to be published in April 2004 (J).

[12] Toru Nakagawa, 'Personal Report of TRIZCON2003', TRIZ HP Japan, Apr. 2003 (E)

[13] Toru Nakagawa, 'Personal Report of ETRIA World Conference: TRIZ Future 2003', TRIZ HP Japan, Dec. 2003 (E)

[14] Yoshihisa Konishi and Taichi Ono, '4th Japan Invention Machine User Group Meeting', MRI, , Sept. 2003 (J); TRIZ Journal, Nov. 2003; (with brief introduction to the nature of UGM by T. Nakagawa) TRIZ HP Japan, Dec. 2003 (E)

[15] "TRIZ Journal", Editors Ellen Domb and Michael Slocum, http://www.triz-journal. com/

[16] "TRIZ Home Page in Japan", Editor: Toru Nakagawa. nakagawa/TRIZ/eTRIZ/ (in English)
, (in Japanese).  (Note: These are abbreviated here as "TRIZ HP Japan".)

[17] Ed. N. Sickafus: "Unified Structured Inventive Thinking: How to Invent", NTELLECK, Grosse Ile, MI, USA, (1997).

[18] Roni Horowitz: 'From TRIZ to ASIT in 4 Steps', TRIZ Journal, Aug. 2001 (E); TRIZ HP Japan, Sept. 2001 (J)
. URL: (E).

[19] Larry Ball: 'Breakthrough Thinking: A Linear Sequencing of TRIZ Tools', TRIZ Journal, Mar. 2002; TRIZ HP Japan, Mar. 2003 (J)
; 2nd Edition, TRIZ Journal Jan. 2004 (E).

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

[21] Darrell Mann and Simon DeWulf, 'Updating TRIZ: 1985-2002 Patent Research Findings', TRIZCON2003 held at Philadelphia on Mar. 16-18, 2003; TRIZ Journal, May 2002 (E); TRIZ HP Japan, Apr. 2003 (E
& J).

[22] Darrell Mann and Simon DeWulf, 'Updating the Contradiction Matrix', TRIZCON2003 held at Philadelphia on Mar. 16-18, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Apr. 2003 (E
& J).

[23] Nikkei BP, "TRIZ ON LINE", (J)

[24] Mitsubishi Research Institute, Invention Technology Team: ITD/TRIZ Project, (J); html (E).

[25] SANNO Institute of Management, TRIZ Project, (J).

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

[27] Toru Nakagawa: 'Experiences of Teaching and Applying the Essence of TRIZ with Easier USIT Procedure', TRIZCON2002: Fourth Annual Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies International Conference, Apr. 30- May 2, 2002, St.Louis, MO, USA; TRIZ HP Japan, May 2002 (E)
; Jan. 2002 (J).

[28] Toru Nakagawa, Hideaki Kosha, and Yuji Mihara: 'USIT Solution Generation Methods: Simplified System by the Reorganization of TRIZ Solution Generation Methods', Appendix to Ref. [20], ETRIA World Conference "TRIZ Future 2002" held at Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 6-8, 2002; TRIZ HP Japan Nov. 2002 (E)
; Sept. 2002 (J).

[29] Toru Nakagawa, Hideaki Kosha, and Yuji Mihara: 'Usage of USIT Solution Genration Methods: A Simple and Unified System of TRIZ', TRIZCON2003, held at Philadelphia, USA, on Mar. 16-18, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Apr. 2003(E)
; Jan. 2003 (J).

[30] Ed Sickafus: "Unified Structured Inventive Thinking -- An Overview", (2003),

[31] Shigeru Kasuya and Yoshiya Imoto: 'TRIZ in Fuji Xerox Corp.: Promotion Activities and Four Case Studies", 2nd Japan IM User Group Meeting, held at Moriyama, on Sept. 13-14, 2001; TRIZ HP Japan, Mar. 2002 (J)

[32] Shigeru Kasuya and Katsumi Sakamaki: 'TRIZ in Fuji Xerox Corp.: New Perspectives of TRIZ Promotion and Three Case Studies', 4th Japan IM User Group Meeting, held at Nanki-Shirahama, on Sept. 10-12, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Nov. 2003 (J)

[33] Kunitoshi Sugiyama, Kazuo Gotoh, Hisao Yasuda, Hideo Saito, and Minoru Suzuki: 'TRIZ in Ricoh: Implementation of TRIZ and A Case Study', 3rd Japan IM User Group Meeting, held at Shuzenji, on Aug. 28-30, 2002; TRIZ HP Japan, Oct. 2002 (J)

[34] Kazuo Gotoh and Sakae Ishikawa: 'TRIZ Case Study in Ricoh: Improving the Recycling of Echo-Packages', 4th IM User Group Meeting, held at Nanki-Shirahama, on Sept. 10-12, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Nov. 2003 (J)

[35] Yuji Mihara: 'Deployment of TRIZ in Fuji Photo Film Co.', 2nd Japan IM User Group Meeting, held at Moriyama, on Sept. 13-14, 2001; TRIZ HP Japan, Nov. 2001 (J)

[36] Hideaki Kosha: 'USIT Activities in Fuji Photo Film Co.', Letters to the Editor, TRIZ HP Japan, Oct. 2003 (J)

[37] Takahisa Hirade and Akira Mochizuki: 'Current Status of Promoting TRIZ in Nissan Motors Co.', 4th IM User Group Meeting, held at Nanki-Shirahama, on Sept. 10-12, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Nov. 2003 (J)

[38] Toshihiro Hayashi: 'On Development and Design Process Engineering Methods for Empowering Manufacturing', 2003 Symposium of University Teachers in Electrical Departments, held at Akita, on Jul. 24, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Mar. 2004 (J)

[39] Keiji Inoue, Masao Matsuno, Yuichi Hamamoto, and Shuji Tanaka: 'Value Improvement Method in JR-East: Integrated Use of TRIZ-DE and VE for the Development of Future Toilet Space in Bullet Trains', 36th VE National Conference in Japan, held at Tokyo on Nov. 6-7, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Jan. 2004 (J)

[40] Kazuya Yamaguchi and Narumi Nagase: 'Promotion of TRIZ in Panasonic Communications Co. and A Case Study for Product Development', 4th IM User Group Meeting, held at Nanki-Shirahama, on Sept. 10-12, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Nov. 2003 (J)

[41] Hiroto Hayashi: 'There Is No Useless TRIZ!', 4th IM User Group Meeting, held at Nanki-Shirahama, on Sept. 10-12, 2003; TRIZ HP Japan, Oct. 2003 (J)

[42] Kochi Prefecture Mechatronics Research Circle, (J)

[43] Yotaro Hatamura et. al.: "An Introduction to TRIZ", Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Tokyo, Dec. 1997. (Japanese translation from and comments on "The Science of Innovation" by V.R. Fey and E.I. Rivin) (J).

[44] Masayuki Nakao, Yotaro Hatamura, and Kazutaka Hattori: "Knowledge Management for Designing: Creative Design Principle and TRIZ", Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Tokyo, Dec. 1999. (J)

[45] Keishi Kawamo and Masao Suda, Eds.: "Methodologies for Creative Engineering Design: New Principles for Manufacturing", Yokendo, Tokyo, Mar. 2003 (J).

[46] Haruhiko Iizuka and Morio Fujii: "Approach to TRIZ/USIT Related Research and Education at the University", 4th IM User Group Meeting, held at Nanki-Shirahama, on Sept. 10-12, 2003 (J). 

[47] Toru Nakagawa: 'Methodologies for Creative Problem Solving (A Series of 13 lectures)', Lectures at Osaka Gakuin University, Oct. 2001 to Jan. 2002; TRIZ HP Japan, Feb. to Jul. 2002 (J)
; (Preface only) Jul. 2002 (E).

[48] 'Special Issue: The Basics of Design by Means of TRIZ', in Design Engineering (Journal of Japan Society for Design Engineering), Vol. 35, No. 3-4, Mar.-Apr., 2000 (J). 

[49] Natalia Rubina: "Course of Creative Imagination Development (CID) Based on TRIZ: Methodical Guide-Books and Children Workbooks for Three Grades", 1998-1999, English translation by Irina Dolina, TRIZ HP Japan, Jan. 2001- Feb. 2002 (E)
; (Preface only) Jan. 2001 (J)

Note 1)  (E): written in English, and (J): written in Japanese.

About the author:

Toru NAKAGAWA:  Professor of Informatics at Osaka Gakuin University.  Since he was first exposed to TRIZ in May 1997, he endeavored to introduce it into Fujitsu Labs for which he was working.  After moving to the University in April 1998, he has been working for introducing TRIZ into Japanese industries and academia.  In November 1998 he founded the public WWW site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" and serves as the Editor.  He is currently working to present TRIZ in a simple, unified and yet powerful way for solving real industrial problems and for teaching students.
 -- He graduated the University of Tokyo in chemistry in 1963, studied at its doctoral course (receiving D. Sc. degree in 1969), became Assistant in Department of Chemistry, the University of Tokyo in 1967; he did research in physical chemistry, particularly experiments and analyses in the field of high-resolution molecular spectroscopy.  He joined Fujitsu Limited in 1980 as a researcher in information science at IIAS-SIS and worked for quality improvement of software development.  Later he served as a managing staff in IIAS-SIS and then in R&D Planning and Coordination Office in Fujitsu Labs.
 -- E-mail:


Top of this page Top  of the paper
1. Introduction  2. Evolution of Understanding TRIZ
3. Introduction to USIT
4.  Examples of  Promoting/ Applying TRIZ/USIT
Concluding Remarks
References Japanese page 

Nakagawa, TRIZCON2000: Approaches in Japan
Nakagawa, TRIZCON2002: USIT Procedure Nakagawa et al., ETRIA2002: Reorganizing TRIZ into USIT  Nakagawa et al.: USIT Solution Generation Methods Nakagawa: ETRIA 2003:  USIT Approach
4th Japan IM User Group Meeting
Personal Report of TRIZCON2004

General index New Information Introduction to TRIZ TRIZ References TRIZ Links TRIZ News & Activities TRIZ Software Tools TRIZ Papers and Tech Reports TRIZ Forum General index
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 Aug. 26, 2004.     Access point:  Editor: