Applying TRIZ/USIT in Japan
|Toru Nakagawa (Osaka
Gakuin University, Japan)
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.]
going back to Japanese pages, press
Nakagawa, May 7, 2004)
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
of the conference papers in this Web site.
Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies
(USA), Web site: http://www.aitriz.org/
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
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
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).
I wrote in the Concluding Remarks of this paper, "Japan
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
Practices of Applying TRIZ/USIT in Japan
Gakuin University, Japan)
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
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.
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 
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") .
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:
- (A1) Introduce TRIZ as a whole in the
original Russian form (including S-Field Analysis, ARIZ, etc.) [3, 4], because they were
already proved useful in Russia.
- (A2) Use TRIZ software tools [5, 6]
for supporting/guiding problem solving processes, because the tools
provide useful knowledge bases of principles and examples and some
techniques accumulated in TRIZ, in the modern PC & networking
- (A3) Organize the TRIZ
promotion in a top-down manner as much as possible, by using external
consultants if necessary, because such promotion style has been proved
most effective so far in QC-related movements .
However, this strategy contained
serious difficulties as
follows until recently:
- The whole body of TRIZ was
not introduced/taught well and was difficult to study for most Western
engineers, primarily due to the language barriers from Russian in the
situations of unique/unfamiliar TRIZ philosophy and huge accumulation
of knowledge and methods.
- The way of thinking was
always difficult to teach/learn in short time, and some key TRIZ
techniques including S-Field Analysis and ARIZ were found difficult to
use without much training.
- TRIZ software tools were
expensive, and not effective in guiding the process and especially the
way of thinking in problem solving.
- Examples in TRIZ textbooks and in
software tools were rather old-fashioned, and real case studies had
rarely been published.
- It took much time to bring up
leaders and practitioners in TRIZ in each country and in each industry;
without such people inside and outside of firms any top-down promotion
did not work effectively.
Thus the present author recommended
the "Slow-but-Steady Strategy"
(B) in 1999  as:
- (B1) Start with
understandable parts of TRIZ and by using USIT as a simplified version
of TRIZ for the process of problem solving.
- (B2) Use TRIZ software tools as
knowledge bases of principles and examples and do not depend on them in
the process itself.
- (B3) Start studying and
applying TRIZ in a grass-root style with voluntary pioneers in
industries and try to prove the usefulness of TRIZ by themselves, with
obtaining support from TRIZ community of promoters and users.
General understanding of TRIZ and
situations surrounding TRIZ have made progress
for these several years, especially in the following points:
- Various aspects of TRIZ have been
published in textbooks in English by Russian Experts [8, 9, 10] and most
importantly by Darrell Mann .
- TRIZ Conferences in USA , in Europe , and also in Japan  have helped
communications and collaborations among TRIZ experts and users, and the
"TRIZ Journal"  and
many Web sites including the "TRIZ Home Page in Japan"  have served for
up-to-date publications and communications.
- The way of thinking in TRIZ
has been learned gradually by a number of people, and new processes of
problem solving have been formed without constraint by classical
TRIZ. They include USIT
, ASIT ,
and Breakthrough Thinking by Ball
, and our further extension of USIT in Japan .
- Darrell Mann and Simon DeWulf [21,22]
recently analyzed US Patents (1985-2002) fully by using refined
Altshuller's scheme and they renewed the most important parts of TRIZ
knowledge bases, including the Contradiction Matrix. This work
will much improve people's acceptance of TRIZ as a powerful method for
accessing to modern technologies in a systematic manner.
- TRIZ software tools have been
developed for lower prices, and they have been recognized to be
positioned primarily as the tools of knowledge bases.
- Leaders, experts, and
practitioners of TRIZ have been growing in number and in quality, in
various countries and in various industries/academia.
On the basis of these situations,
the present author has been advocating in Japan the "Steady Strategy" (C) since January
2003  as follows:
following sections, the
reasoning about the strategy are discussed together with some cases of
practices of TRIZ/USIT in Japan.
- (C1) Understand the essence
of TRIZ methodology/philosophy, and use USIT as a simple and unified
process of problem solving in TRIZ, with full steps of problem
definition, problem analysis, and solution generation.
- (C2) Use TRIZ software tools
as knowledge bases of principles and examples, for studying excellent
ideas in different fields and for supporting idea generation along the
- (C3) Encourage voluntary TRIZ
groups and authorize/enhance them to apply TRIZ in real industrial
problems, then they will be able to obtain and build up results by
practices. Such activities can be carried out steadily, deeply,
and widely on the basis of current general background surrounding TRIZ.
2. Evolution of
Understanding of TRIZ in Japan
of TRIZ into Japan 
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)  and IWB (of Ideation
International, Inc.) .
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 
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 .
There were a number of activities which contributed much
to promote TRIZ in Japan. Nikkei BP  published a series of
textbooks [3, 4, 8, 9]
and many articles in monthly journal 'Nikkei Mechanical'.
Mitsubishi Research Institute 
promoted Invention Machine's software tools and organized regular
study-group meetings of users. SANNO Institute for Management  made introductory
seminars and consulting jobs in a number of firms. The "TRIZ Home
Page in Japan" 
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 
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 ) and
ETRIACONs (held by European TRIZ Association, see ), in the "TRIZ Journal" , and in Japan IM User
Group Meetings (held by Mitsubishi Research Institute, see ),
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 , even though in Japanese
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"  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 .
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.
(Unified Structured Inventive Thinking) was developed by Ed Sickafus at
Ford Motor Company as fully described in his textbook  and more recently in
his e-book .
The main features of USIT are:
- The problem solving process
is clearly guided in three stages (i.e., Problem Definition, Problem
Analysis, and Solution Generation) with the aim of obtaining multiple
conceptual solutions to a technological problem.
- USIT guides problem solvers
to make a clear focus of a problem in the Problem Definition
Stage. Well-Defined Problems must have a Problem Statement (in a
line or two), a Sketch of the problem situation to illustrate the
mechanism of the unwanted effect, and Plausible Root Causes.
- USIT uses the concepts of Objects,
Attributes, and Functions for describing the system throughout the
- The present system is
analyzed with Functional Analysis (or Closed-World Diagram) and
Attribute Analysis (or Qualitative Change Graphs), both having clear
guidelines to follow.
- The Particles Method (i.e. an
extended version of Altshuller's Smart Little People's Modeling)
requests the problem solver to imagine the ideal solution result first,
and then imagine to ask Particles (i.e. imaginary substance/Field which
can do any action by having any properties) to achieve the ideal
solution. Possible actions which Particles might perform are
broken down in a tree structure, and then properties which Particles
might have for performing the actions are listed up.
- Space and Time
characteristics of the system are analyzed; this analysis often
stimulates solution concepts (in parallel to the idea generation with
TRIZ Space/Time Separation Principles), so Sickafus regards this
process as a solution generation method, with the name of
- For generating multiple
solutions, the following five types of operators are repeatedly used:
Pluralization of Objects, Dimensional Change in Attributes,
Distribution of Functions, Transduction (i.e. linking of functions),
and Generification (i.e. generalization).
- USIT tries to invoke new
aspects to view the problem by stimulating people's thinking ability,
without depending on handbooks and software tools.
USIT was adopted in Japan and was
further refined as described
in a series of papers by the present author [1, 26-29, 20]:
- Solution Generation Operators
are categorized into five types as: Pluralization of Objects,
Dimensional Change in Attributes, Distribution of Functions,
Combination of Solution Pairs, and Generalization of Solutions.
- All the methods in TRIZ
(including Inventive Principles, Inventive Standards, Trends of
Evolution, and Separation Principles) were shuffled and reorganized
into the above five types of Solution Generation Operators. Thus
USIT has a hierarchical system of Solution Generation Operators (of 5
types having 32 subcategories in total). Each subcategory of
Operator has clear and easy-to-apply guideline descriptions.
Practices of the USIT 3-day Training Seminar were reported in
detail in .
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 .
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
Program of Two-Day USIT Training Seminar 
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
Examples in Industries
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
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.
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.
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 
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,
Motors Co. 
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 .
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  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 
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.
(Japan Railway)-East 
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 .
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 
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 ,
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'
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.
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" 
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 . They
have been using USIT in the original Sickafus' version.
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" 
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.
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 .
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
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
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 
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
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.
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).
 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).
 Genrich S.
Altshuller: "The Innovation Algorithm", Technical Innovation Center,
Worchester, MA, USA (1999) (E); Japanese translation from Russian 1st
edition, Nikkei BP (1997) (J).
 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).
 Invention Machine,
Inc., URL: http://www.invention-machine.com/
International Inc., URL: http://www.ideationtriz.com/
 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).
 Yuri Salamatov:
"TRIZ: The Right Solution at The Right Time", Insytec, The Netherland,
(1999) (E); Japanese translation, Nikkei BP, (2000)
 Boris Zlotin and
Zusman: "Tools of Classical TRIZ", Ideation International Inc.,
Southfield, MI, USA, (1999) (E); Japanese translation, Nikkei BP (2000)
 Semyon D. Savransky:
"Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ Methodology of
Inventive Problem Solving", CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, (2000) (E).
 Darrell Mann:
"Hands-On Systematic Innovation", CREAX Press, Ieper, Belgium, (2002)
(E); Japanese edition, SKI, Tokyo, to be published in April 2004 (J).
 Toru Nakagawa,
'Personal Report of TRIZCON2003', TRIZ HP Japan, Apr. 2003 (E).
 Toru Nakagawa,
'Personal Report of ETRIA World Conference: TRIZ Future 2003', TRIZ HP
Japan, Dec. 2003 (E).
 Yoshihisa Konishi
and Taichi Ono, '4th Japan Invention Machine User Group Meeting', MRI,
http://www.internetclub.ne.jp/IM/ , Sept. 2003 (J); TRIZ Journal, Nov.
2003; (with brief introduction to the nature of UGM by T. Nakagawa)
TRIZ HP Japan, Dec. 2003 (E).
 "TRIZ Journal",
Editors Ellen Domb and Michael Slocum, http://www.triz-journal. com/
 "TRIZ Home Page in
Japan", Editor: Toru Nakagawa. http://www.osaka-gu.ac.jp/php/
nakagawa/TRIZ/eTRIZ/ (in English),
http://www.osaka-gu.ac.jp/php/nakagawa/TRIZ/ (in Japanese).
(Note: These are abbreviated here as "TRIZ HP Japan".)
 Ed. N. Sickafus:
"Unified Structured Inventive Thinking: How to Invent", NTELLECK,
Grosse Ile, MI, USA, (1997).
 Roni Horowitz:
TRIZ to ASIT in 4 Steps', TRIZ Journal, Aug. 2001 (E); TRIZ HP Japan,
Sept. 2001 (J). URL: http://www.start2think.com/ (E).
 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).
 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).
 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).
 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).
 Nikkei BP, "TRIZ ON
LINE", http://nmc.nikkeibp.co.jp/triz/indexs.html (J)
 Mitsubishi Research
Institute, Invention Technology Team: ITD/TRIZ Project,
http://www.internetclub.ne.jp/IM/eIM/eindex. html (E).
 SANNO Institute of
Management, TRIZ Project, http://www.hj.sanno.ac.jp/triz/ (J).
 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).
 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).
 Toru Nakagawa,
Hideaki Kosha, and Yuji Mihara: 'USIT Solution Generation Methods:
Simplified System by the Reorganization of TRIZ Solution Generation
Methods', Appendix to Ref. , ETRIA World Conference "TRIZ Future
2002" held at Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 6-8, 2002; TRIZ HP Japan Nov.
2002 (E); Sept. 2002 (J).
 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).
 Ed Sickafus:
"Unified Structured Inventive Thinking -- An Overview", (2003),
 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).
 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
 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).
 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).
 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.
 Hideaki Kosha:
'USIT Activities in Fuji Photo Film Co.', Letters to the Editor, TRIZ
HP Japan, Oct. 2003 (J).
 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).
 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
 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).
 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).
 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).
 Kochi Prefecture
Mechatronics Research Circle, http://www.kochi-kg.go.jp/mechatro/ (J)
 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).
 Masayuki Nakao,
Yotaro Hatamura, and Kazutaka Hattori: "Knowledge Management for
Designing: Creative Design Principle and TRIZ", Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun,
Tokyo, Dec. 1999. (J)
 Keishi Kawamo and
Masao Suda, Eds.: "Methodologies for Creative Engineering Design: New
Principles for Manufacturing", Yokendo, Tokyo, Mar. 2003 (J).
 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).
 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).
 '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.,
 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:
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
-- E-mail: email@example.com
on Aug. 26, 2004. Access point: Editor: