TRIZ Paper:

Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms
Larry Ball (Honeywell, USA)
Keynote Lecture
Presented at The Third TRIZ Symposium in Japan,
Held at TOSHIBA Kenshu Center, Yokohama,
on Aug. 30 - Sept. 1, 2007
Annotated Lecture Slides (Larry Ball, Nov. 5, 2007)
[Posted Feb. 27, 2008]  Under the permission by the Authors.   

For going back to Japanese pages, press buttons..

Editor's Note (Toru Nakagawa, Feb. 24, 2008)

The paper posted here was originally presented last August at The Third TRIZ Symposium in Japan held by the Japan TRIZ CB.  I am now making a new HTML papge for posting additional new materials and for making links to related pages both in English and in Japanese.  Please note the annotated presentation slides newly written down by the Author, Lary Ball, for the Keynote Lecture.  It is an excellent lecture discussing several essencial issues in the understanding of the TRIZ methodology and providing with his new overall scheme of problem solving in place of ARIZ.

As you may notice already, Larry Ball's course material "Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms" was posted in the TRIZ Jornal in series from May 2005 to April 2006, and was fully translated into Japanese by Toshio Takahara and myself and was posted in this Web site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" in series from Jan. 2006 to Jul. 2007.  In the present page, materials related to Larry Ball's course book and his Keynote Lecture are posted or referred both in English and in Japanese in parallel as much as possible.  The contents are as follows:

[1] Extended Abstract of the Keynote Lecture:

In English:  Larry Ball, May 2007.  In HTML  and in PDF (in the Official page of Japan TRIZ CB)
In Japanese: translated by T. Nakagawa, Feb. 2008.  in HTML (posted: Feb. 27, 2008)

[2] Introduction by Toru Nakagawa to the Keynote Lecture:

In English:  Excerpt from Nakagawa's 'Personal Report of Third TRIZ Symposium in Japan 2007"   (originally posted on Nov. 18, 2007).  
In Japanese: Japanese translation by T. Nakagawa, Feb. 2008.  (posted: Feb. 27, 2008)

I have been writing a series of 'Personal Reports' for all the principal TRIZ conferences, including TRIZCONs, ETRIA TFCs, and Japan TRIZ Symposia for introducing/reviewing most of the presened papers.  I wrote a review of about 3 pages (with 6 figures) for introducing Larry Ball's Lecture.

[3] Slides presented at the Keynote Lecture:

In English:  Larry Ball, "Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms", 33 slides in PDF
In Japanese: translated by T. Takahara and T. Nakagawa, 33 slides in PDF

At the Symposium, the slides were projected on two screens in English and in Japanese in parallel during the presentation and were published in the Proceedings in the two language editions.  The slides were posted in PDF in the Official Pages of Japan TRIZ CB (posted: Oct. 8, 2007)

[4] Annotated presentation slides, newly written by Larry Ball:

In English:  Larry Ball, "Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms, with annotation", Nov. 5, 2007.  in PDF (posted: Feb. 27, 2008)
In Japanese: translated by T. Takahara and T. Nakagawa, Feb. 23, 2008. in PDF   (posted: Feb. 27, 2008)

On our request, the Author kindly wrote down his lecture and added 6 slides for explaining his concept of Functional IFR.  This annotated presentation is very helpful for us to understand author's way of thinking, main points of his improving/restructuring TRIZ, overall structure of his methodology, the whole process of problem solving, etc.  Since his Course Material is very extensive and rather difficult to understand its overall structure, the Keynote Lecture and its annotation are nice to understand the essence in a concice article.  This is indeed an excellent Keynote Lecture.  We are very grateful to Larry Ball for his kindness of providing the annotation for us all. 

Toshio Takahara translated the annotation into Japanese early last December, but I was so busy and could have finished the translation only last week.  Sorry for my delay.  I am very happy to post this excellent article.

[5] Example & Template of Cause Analysis:

In English:  Larry Ball: "Rake Leakage Problem", Aug. 2007, in PowerPoint  (Posted: Feb. 27, 2008)
                  Three-parts slides of the diagram, made by T. Nakagawa, Aug. 2007, in PDF
In Japanese: translated by T. Takahara and T. Nakagawa, Aug. 2007, in PowerPoint (Posted: Feb. 27, 2008)

An example of 'Function/Attribute Cause Analysis' for a case of Rake Leakage Problem.  The author intends to disclose the PowerPoint file to be used as an template by the readers.  Since it contains a big diagram, I made three-part slides for easier presentation for giving a lecture.

[6] Course Material: "Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms"

In English: Larry Ball, "Hierarchical TRIZ Algoriths", posted in series in the TRIZ Journal, May 2005 through Apr. 2006
                 Also available as a full set eBook.  See:    

In Japanese: translated by Toshio Takahara and Toru Nakagawa, posted in series in this Web site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan", Jan. 2006 to Jul. 2007. 
                Also available as a CD-R book from SKI.  See the announcement, (Nov. 1, 2007).

This is the original course material by the Author.  It is extensive with about 160 pages.  It contains extremely many illustrations of cases and enjoyable.  The Japanese translation was posted in series and is still freely available.  If you want to really study the course, the CD-R edition may be convenient and useful. 



Top of this page Abstract Nakagawa's introduction Slides in PDF Annotated Slides in PDF  Example of Cause Analysis Course Material Japan TRIZ Symposium 2007 (Nakagawa Personal Rept.) Japanese page


[1] Abstract

Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms

Larry Ball (Honeywell, USA)

Keynote Lecture Presented at The Third TRIZ Symposium in Japan,
Held at TOSHIBA Kenshu Center, Yokohama, on Aug. 30 - Sept. 1, 2007


This paper highlights some of the main topics covered in the book “Hierarchal TRIZ Algorithms”. It discusses the genesis of the tool groupings and their order of use. An alternative to ARIZ is presented which employs extensive causal analysis. As an aid to this method, five more Separation Principles are discussed along with sub-principles and an algorithm for more directed use. Finally, a general invitation to participate in a collaborate book is presented.

Extended Abstract

1. A rational for modifying classical innovation theory is presented along with a method for accomplishing it. This method involves decomposing traditional innovation tools and then reordering them into groups that solve like problems. A sequencing of these tool groups is referred to as a Hierarchy of Thinking which dictates that we must know or take certain things for granted in order to solve problems. We generally follow this hierarchy rather we like it or not and usually without knowing it. This gives a pattern which allows us to identify gaps, exceptions and new tools for improvement of innovation theory.

2. An alternative process to ARIZ is shown which involves an extensive method of Causal Analysis. This form of analysis illuminates the attributes of the objects, fields and functions which lead to the problem. It also illuminates the contradictions, alternative problems and the problem functions.

3. Following causal analysis, problematic functions may be idealized and/or the contradictions resolved. This overall method provides the same general results of ARIZ but in a more natural manner.

4. Several classes of contradictions are presented. It is noted that there is a certain reluctance of people to attempt some of these classes, which limits the solutions.

5. A discussion on Technical versus Physical Contradictions and why the discovery of the Technical Contradiction usually follows the discovery of the Physical Contradiction rather than the reverse. This mistake has held back the development of ARIZ, but is naturally bypassed in the foregoing Causal Analysis.

6. Five more Separation Principles are presented. A rational is given for why they are not sub-principles to Time, Space and Separation between the Parts and the Whole. Sub-principles are presented for each of the eight Separation Principles along with an algorithm to know when each principle or sub-principle might be employed.

7. Finally, an invitation is made in the continuing preparation and publishing of a collaborative book which continues to catalogue tools of innovation and present examples and sub-algorithms for use of these tools.

Presenter's Profile: Larry Ball

Larry’s current position at Honeywell is primarily TRIZ education and deployment. He was Educated at Brigham Young University (1980). He started work in the magnetic tape recording industry and then left to go to the aerospace industry and work in the areas of valve performance and control. He was introduced to TRIZ in 1992 and has since engaged in an earnest application in the development of new products with the application of TRIZ. Invention is his primary hobby. He has 15 aerospace patents and has written two books and begun a third collaborative book: Breakthrough Inventing with TRIZ, Hierarchal TRIZ Algorithms, and Hierarchal Invention Algorithms.


[2] Introduction & Review of the Presentation (Toru Nakagawa (OGU), Nov. 14, 2007)

Excerpt from Nakagawa's 'Personal Report of Japan TRIZ Symposium 2007' (posted on Nov. 18, 2007). 

The real highlights of the present Symposium were the two Keynote Lectures given by Larry Ball and by Simon Dewulf.  -- For some readers this sentence might be taken just as a formal and polite expression by a Japanese organizer.  But not like that.  Indeed the above sentence must be my first sentence in my 'Personal Report' in reviewing all the presentations in the Symposium.

Larry Ball (Honeywell, USA) [11] gave us the Keynote Lecture "Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms" in the second day morning for 80 minutes (including 20 minutes discussion).  As you might know, he posted an intensive course material of the same title in the TRIZ Journal in a series from May 2005 to April 2006.  In Japan, Toshio Takahara and myself translated the course material (of about 160 pages) into Japanese and reposted it  in "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" in a series from February to September, 2006 for the simplified parts and from January to July, 2007 for the detailed parts.  The Author's unique way of explaining TRIZ and a plenty of nice illustrations in the material have attracted a number of TRIZ people in Japan.  Thus I myself was most excited when we received Larry Ball's email message of accepting our invitation to the Keynote.  Having finished the posting of the whole course material in Japanese a month before the Symposium, we were looking forward to meeting him for the first time and to attending at his lecture.  His lecture was as follows (see his presentation slides in PDF  in the Official Page of Japan TRIZ CB):

Larry Ball argues first that TRIZ has so many tools partly overlapping and yet partly missing, and hence that we should better decompose them and regroup them into like tools so as to clarify the next generation of Innovation Theory.  Thus he is advocating "Hierarchical TRIZ algorithms". The naming with "Hierarchy" implies that the problem solving should follow a logical sequence of findings and decisions, where each decision selects a branch among a number of alternatives.  Thus solving a problem should clarify the tree-like structure of hierarchy of decisions.  His slide of 'Hierarchy of Decisions', i.e. principal process of problem solving, is shown below.  (Sorry but I do not have enough time nor space to explain the contents very rich in the slide.  The decision process should go from the top step by step down to the bottom.  The small illustrations in the right are examples or schematics, especially in the form of a functional relationship, of the step.) 

The main analysis tool used by the Author is the Causal Analysis.  He shows his Causal Analysis in two forms.  One is  simple form of (qualitative) functional dependence.  In the following slide, the problem of driving a pile into the ground (under the water?) is illustrated.  The current problem is that the driving speed is slow. The direct cause of the problem is listed up as 'Pile diameter is large', 'Driver mass is low', etc.  The problem is regarded as the dependent variable Y, while the causes as independent variables xi in the relationship Y = f (x1, x2, ...).  

The above slide further discusses how to consider the means for solving the problem.  First, to improve the driving speed, the pile diameter is tried to be small, the driver mass is chosen high, etc.  Then, however, it is realized that such (simple) means causes a different difficulty, e.g. breakage of the pile is high.  Now the Author explains that we have listed Physical contradictions (PCs) when we tried to make the pile diameter small instead of the current large size, and also that we have recognized the Technical Contradictions (TCs) when we find another kind of difficulty, e.g. pile breakage is high. 

In this relation, the Author asks you 'Which do you discover first: the Technical Contradiction or the Physical Contradiction?' (See the following slide). The natural order is like the one, (1)(2)(3)(4) in the slide, he says.  ARIZ, on the other hand, teaches us to identify a Technical Contradiction first and then to go ahead to discover the Physical Contradiction.  Larry Ball says the Causal Logic in ARIZ is incorrect.  *** This is a simple yet clear argument by the Author.

The second, more sophisticated form of representing the Causal Analysis is named 'Function/Attribute Centric Model' and is illustrated in the slide shown below.  The analysis starts at the bottom center, showing 'Main apparent problem'.  The symbol in the box is a 'Knob', standing for the Attribute or property of an object or event whose value can be qualitatively set 'high' or 'low'.  In case of the 'Rake Leakage Problem', the Author starts with the problem 'Debris leakage is High' in this box.  Then he finds two main reasons such as 'Leakage through is High' and 'Leakage Under is High'. The other type of boxes contains a simple Function model, representing a functional relationship between two objects where the relationship is distinguished to be useful/harmful/insufficient etc. in the ordinary way in TRIZ. 

As illustrated in this figure, the Author builds up the diagram to represent various observations in the Causal Analysis.   He also advises to use, in the background of the above diagram, some other ways of modeling the causal relationships which include:
    (a) Model centric causal analysis:  Using models and equations, e.g. a mechanical model shown in the above slide, to understand relationship of attributes to results.
    (b) Process centric causal analysis:  Breaking down interactions finer and finer in time.  Note that products are also processes, the Author writes.
    (c) Function centric causal analysis:  To show why objects are required and how they interact.
    (d) Attribute centric causal analysis: To show 'What causes attributes to be what they are' by breaking down finer and finer shoeing causes.

Nevertheless the Author has chosen the 'Function/Attribute Centric Model' in representing the Causal Analysis as shown in the above slide.  The reasons for this choice are, the Author says, that F/A Centric diagram helps you to idealize the functions, to identify many contradictions, and to identify alternative problems (i.e. possible different ways of solving the problem by shifting the aim).

Idealizing a functional relationship in the heart of the system is an important tool in the Author's 'Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms'.  This tool is named 'Functional IFR (Ideal Final Result)' and is illustrated in the following figure.  The four components of a functional relationship are advised to be idealized, i.e. to find better and ideal items and replace with them.  The terms of 'Product' and 'Tool' stand for any objects to be acted on and to act with, respectively.  The term 'Modification' is used by the Author for representing the function or action, with his intention of emphasizing that the 'Modification' should modify/change (or control) an attribute of the 'Product'.  It is also important that the Author mentions on 'Physical Phenomena' as one of the essential components for representing a functional relationship.  This helps the problem solver to think about possibilities of using different physical phenomena, or different principles and mechanisms.  As shown with the numbers in this slide, the Author advises to idealize the four components in the order: Product, Modification, Physical Phenomena, and Tool.  The Author has shown, in his Course Material, many tools (i.e. Inventive Principles, Trends, Effects, etc.) for idealizing these four components.

During the processes of Causal Analysis and Functional IFR, one can find a large number of contradictions, especially in the form of Physical Contradictions.  Therefore, the next step in the 'Hierarchical TRIZ Algorithms' is to solve the Contradictions by using the Separation Principles.  As is mentioned earlier, the Author has decomposed all the TRIZ tools and knowledge bases and regrouped them for various purposes.  Regrouping them for enhancing the Separation Principles has given an important results, named 'Contradiction Table'.  In the Keynote Lecture as well as in the Course Material, the Author shows a large number of illustrated examples of using separation for solving a contradiction.  Since I think the general structure of the Contradiction Table is important, I will show the simplified flowchart of the Contradiction Table in the following figure.  This flowchart is a simplified version of Larry Ball's flowchart, Page J12 of the Course Material (May 2005), without showing the detailed logics for branching and details of the separation principles.  The illustrations are taken from several slide in the present Keynote Lecture.

In addition to 'Separation in Space', 'Separation in Time', and 'Separation between Whole and Parts' (i.e. 'Separation by scale' in the above figure), which were found in Classical TRIZ, the Author has shown many different groups of separation principles, as shown in the above figure.  In the Course Material the Author has shown a large number of examples with charming illustrations; it is quite enjoyable to watch them. 

*** This Keynote Lecture was excellent in clarifying various important issues in TRIZ research and in showing a set of well systematized procedures and knowledge bases.  The Author has presented 33 slides in the Keynote Lecture   for introducing his whole thoughts and work, published in 160 pages of Course Materials.  My short review here with only 6 slides may be difficult for readers to understand well, but can be helpful for you to learn about what the Author argues and shows and for you to access his work in Web sites.  We wish Larry Ball write a full paper to explain his thoughts shown in the slides.  [(Nov. 14, 2007) Larry Ball has kindly sent us an extended PPT file with the presentation notes.  We are planning to post it in PDF in this Web site in English and in Japanese translation.  Thanks Larry so much!]

[3] Presentation Slides

Presentation Slides (in English)   (PDF, 953 KB, 33 slides, 2 slides/page)  Click Here. 


[4]  Annotated Slides (in place of a Full Paper)

Written by Larry Ball (Received on Nov. 5, 2007)

Annotated Slides (in English)   (PDF, 918 KB, 39 pages)  Click Here. 


[5]  Example & Template of Cause Analysis

Template (Rake Leakage Problem) (PPT, 2.0 MB, 1 slide)  Click Here. 

Example of Cause Analysis (Rake Leakage Problem) (PDF, 820 KB) Click Here

[6] Original Course Material

English version:  Posted in series in TRIZ Journal (May 2005 - Apr. 2006)

English eBook:  Available from  

Japanese edition: Translated by Toshio Takahara and Toru Nakagawa, posted in series in "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" (Jan. 2006 - Jul. 2007)

Japanese eBook (CD-R): Available from SKI.  See Announcement in Japanese   (PDF, 195 KB, 3 slides, 2 slides/page)



Top of this page Abstract Nakagawa's introduction Slides in PDF Annotated Slides in PDF  Example of Cause Analysis Course Material Japan TRIZ Symposium 2007 (Nakagawa Personal Rept.) Japanese page


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