TRIZ Case Study: Japan TRIZ Symposium 2008 Presentation

Why Water Striders can stand and slide on the Water?: A Summer Homework by Son and Father with TRIZ
Taichiro Miyanishi (2nd Grader, Kenroku Junior High School, Kanazawa /Son), Katsuya Miyanishi ( /Father)
The Fourth TRIZ Symposium in Japan, Held by Japan TRIZ Society on Sept. 10-12, 2008 at Laforet Biwako, Moriyama, Shiga, Japan
Introduction by Toru Nakagawa (Osaka Gakuin Univ.), Oct. 26, 2008
[Posted on Apr. 21, 2009] 

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Editor's Note (Toru Nakagawa, Apr. 16, 2009)

This paper was presented at the Fourth TRIZ Symposium in Japan, 2008 , which was held last September by 'Japan TRIZ Society, NPO'.  The presentation was given in an Oral session on the first day afternoon.  It is an amazing and charming presentation produced by a 12 year boy and his father. 

This paper obtained the first place of Presentation Award "Best presentation for me" among Oral Japanese presentations.  Congratulations!!  The Award was given according to the voting by Japanese participants for Oral and Poster presentations, respectively .  Japan TRIZ Society decided to post the Awarded Presentations (up to the third place) publicly in its Official Web sites. 

The presentation slides in English are now posted in PDF in the Official Pages of  Japan TRIZ CB , while those in Japanese in the Official Pages of Japan TRIZ Society and of Japan TRIZ CB.  Full paper was not provided in this case.

In the present page, I post my introduction to this wonderful presentation for making it familiar to wider range of readers.  The introduction is an excerpt of my "Personal Report of Japan TRIZ Symposium 2008" posted on Oct. 26, 2008.  The introduction is now translated into Japanese and posted in my Japanese page of this site.

English page   (This page) Japanese page
Nakagwa's Introduction Nakagawa's Introduction
Slides in PDF  Slides in Japanese in PDF
  Japan TRIZ Soc. Official Web site

  Introduction to the Presentation by Taichiro and Katsuya Miyanishi

Excerpt from: 
Personal Report of The Fourth TRIZ Symposium in Japan, 2008
by Toru Nakagawa (Osaka Gakuin University), Oct. 26, 2008
Posted on Oct. 26, 2008 in "TRIZ Home Page in Japan"

Taichiro Miyanishi (2nd Grader, Kenroku Junior High School /Son), Katsuya Miyanishi ( /Father) [O-1 #10] gave an amazing, enjoyable Oral presentation with the title of "Why Water Striders can stand and slide on the Water?: A Summer Homework by Son and Father with TRIZ".  The Authors of this presentation is shown in the following slide.  The top author is a school boy of age 12-13, and the second author is his father, an engineer working for an IT company. 

The Father learned about TRIZ only half a year before this story started.  Let's read the whole story in their Abstract (2/3 parts) first:

Last summer, Son in the 1st grade of a junior high school said: "Why can the water striders stand and slide on the surface of water? I want to study about it as my summer homework." This was the start of the present work, carried out by Son and Father together. We will report our process of research on water striders worked together especially with guidance of TRIZ-thinking by father.

The following TRIZ tools were used: "Searching for mechanisms and setting up hypotheses": "NAZE-NAZE deployment (Root-cause analysis)" ,"Scene deployment", "Strength/weakness analysis", "Making conceptual prototypes for trial and verification", "Product Analysis", and "SFR (substance-field resources)".

Their approach, guided by the Father, is quite systematic and yet unique as shown in the following slide.  They did NOT go to the library first NOR observe the insect with a magnifying glass.  But they first tried to think of possible mechanisms as hypotheses , i.e. just like speculating the insect's inventions.  

The presentation slides are well organized and rich in contents.  Thus I have decided to show the Authors' logic by using quite a number of slides (extracted from 32) without inserting much explanation.  They first tried to list up many possible mechanisms, and then classified them into groups and formed a tree structure.  And they enhanced such ideas of possible mechanisms, by using associative thinking and imaginative scene thinking.  



Then they checked the ideas with respect to their strength and weakness, and selected candidate ideas for building up their own hypotheses.  They finally selected 4 ideas (of possible mechanism) as their hypotheses for the water striders to stand and slide on the water surface.



At this stage the Authors went to the Library to survey the facts known about water striders.  Among the 4 hypotheses which were built from their reasoning, three hypotheses were confirmed with these references.

They further went ahead to design and build prototypes by using materials close at hand in their home.  Their prototypes stood on the water as shown by the photos in the slide. 


The Authors summarize their study and made comments, as shown in the slides below.


Now as the conclusion, we would like to read the last 1/3 part of their Abstract and then the slide of Conclusion and Proposal.

This work received a favorable evaluation inside and outside the school. A-Fine-Work-Prize was won from Kanazawa Kids Science Center in the point of "Interest and scientific search to a familiar mystery". In the current era of children's "Losing interest in science" and "Spending much time in Web search", I wish children get familiar with TRIZ-thinking in the elementary and junior high school days. I wish they enjoy TRIZ-thinking, which cultivates their "Inquisitive mind" and "Ability to think voluntarily".

*** As you have read, this presentation is really wonderful.  Taichiro Miyanishi, of age 12-13, is the genuine top author of this presentation and worked on this project with much interests and joy.  Though he could not attend at the Symposium because of his school, he gave a short Video presentation in the conclusion part of the presentation.  The human relationship in the family is warm and productive; this is of course a basis of this work.  The full version of the presentation slides (both in Japanese and in English) will be posted in this Web site in a couple of months. [TN Apr. 16, 2009:  It actually took more than 6 months for this posting; I am sorry for the delay.]

*** The approach of this work is very interesting from the view point of educational method.  The easiest, hence not so deep, way is to read books (or search in the Internet); good teachers would not advise this way.  Probably the standard and good way is to observe the water strider closely, on the surface of water of a small stream and then on the surface of water in a tray on a table, and finally under the magnifying glass while holding the insect with tweezers.  This observation approach tries to find the specific means invented by the insects in the nature.  The present approach, on the other hand, tries to think of various methods by ourselves, or tries to invent many methods for the insects.  This trial has much stimulated the interests of the kid. 

*** Seeing this from another view, this work is not a problem solving.  The Authors use 'Naze Naze Tenkai' (or Root Cause Analysis).  But actually they are seeking not for causes but for possible methods.  Thus the process is not an analysis but an idea generation.  (Even though the Authors use functional analysis etc. in the slides which I skipped here,) the general approach is the direct idea generation enhanced with grouping, associative thinking, scene thinking, etc.  Such an approach seems productive in this case.


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