TRIZ in the World: History, Current Status, and Issues of Concern
|Posted: Aug. 14, 2020
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Editor's Note (Toru Nakagawa, Aug. 13, 2020)
This overview paper by Valeri Souchkov was originally presented in Nov. 2016 at a conference in Russia and was posted in his website, as shown above. I read the paper in Mar. 2018 with much interest, and happened to read it again recently. Recognizing its importance, I have translated it into Japanese and posted the Japanese version in my Website on Aug. 10, 2020.
Valeri Souchkov is a TRIZ Master, originally from Belarus, and based in the Netherlands. He provides consulting, training, education and dissemination activities on TRIZ and systematic innovation all over the world. His background and activities can be found throughout this paper. He was one of the cofounders of Invention Machine Lab. (later Invention Machine Corp.) established in Minsk, Belarus in 1989. He came to the Netherlands in 1993 and did collaborative research with universities, created a TRIZ research network in Europe, and was involved in TRIZ education at universities. While training and consulting with TRIZ, he encountered various problems and hence developed various methods to extend TRIZ to apply to the issues, particularly in business and management fields.
I often learned from Mr. Valeri Souchkov, as you see his works in Japanese translation and in English in the following articles in this "TRIZ Home Page in Japan".
 Four Views on TRIZ (Souchkov, TRIZ Journal, 1999) (Mar. 1999),
 Salamatov's TRIZ Textbook: Japanese Edition and Q&A's on the English Edition (Toru Nakagawa and Valeri Souchkov) (Nov., 2000)
 A Brief History of TRIZ (Souchkov, ICG T & C HP, May 2008) (Nov. 2008)
 Breakthrough Thinking with TRIZ for Business and Management: An Overview (Souchkov, ICG T & C HP, 2007, 2014) (Nov. 2016)
 TRIZ in the World: History, Current Status, and Issues of Concern (Souchkov, ICG T & C HP, Nov. 2016) (Aug. 2020)
With these relationships, he has joined WTSP as one of the Global Co-editors. For example see:
 WTSP Appeal: An Appeal for Building Catalogs of TRIZ-related Sites in the World (T. Nakagawa, D. Mann, M. Orloff, S. Dewulf, S. Litvin, V. Souchkov, Jun. 2018) (Jun. 2018)
In his web site , a 15-minute video "A short introduction to TRIZ and xTRIZ by Valeri Souchkov" is posted. The basics of TRIZ and his extensions (xTRIZ ) are explained in a way easy to understand.
In the present page, Table of Contents and the Introduction section only are posted. Please refer the original English text in his website. At the bottom of this page I write my comments in Editor's Note PS .
Table of Contents: TRIZ in the World: History, Curent Status, and Issues of Concern
1. History of TRIZ Distribution Beyond Countries of Former USSR
1.1. Stages of TRIZ Expansion
1.1.1. First stage: software products
1.1.2. Second stage: interest of academic environment
1.1.3. Third stage: interest of professional community, foundation of companies, offering TRIZ services
1.1.4. Fourth stage: development of TRIZ networks and associations
1.2. Geography of TRIZ Expansion
2. Current Status
2.1. TRIZ in Industry
2.2. TRIZ and Education
2.2.1. Academic education
2.2.2. Professional education
2.2.3. Distance learning
2.3. TRIZ and Science
2.4. TRIZ in Non-technical Fields
3. Top Challenges Today
3.1 Reasons, related to TRIZ positioning at the market, TRIZ market and market segments:
3.2 Reasons, directly related to TRIZ:
3.3 Reasons, related to TRIZ integration into a modern business environment:
TRIZ in the World: History, Current Status, and Issues of Concern
Valeri Souchkov (ICG Training & Consulting, The Netherlands)
This paper was originally presented as a keynote lecture and published in the Proceedings of the 8th International Conference “TRIZ: Application Practices and Development Issues” on November 11-12, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. (Kudryavtsev A., Ed.: ISBN 978-5-906845-80-8, in Russian)
The year of 2016 was celebrated as first, the 60th anniversary of foundation of TRIZ since the first paper on TRIZ “About Psychology of Inventive Thinking” was published by Genrich Altshuller [Altshuller 1956]. Second, 25 years ago TRIZ started its journey beyond the countries of former USSR where it was created.
In this paper, I attempted to summarize key factors which produced impact on the of evolution of TRIZ during these 25 years of worldwide expansion as well as its consequences which brought TRIZ and its global community to where they are now. On the one hand, it is quite a long period of time, and a lot of things have been achieved. On the other hand, TRIZ is a complicated knowledge- and information-intensive discipline that requires significant time and effort to be developed, understood, and implemented.
Note that this paper does not discuss internal details of TRIZ, it focuses on how TRIZ has been interacting with its supersystem.
In the first part of this article, I tried to give an overview of this 25-year period through the lens of personal experience. The limited format of the paper does not allow one to mention and describe all the important facts and list all the names. Therefore, I focused mostly on main issues and critical aspects that created today’s situation.
The second part of this paper focuses on the analysis of the current status of integrating TRIZ into business, science, and education. It also summarizes relevant issues related to TRIZ development, distribution and adoption that were identified during multiple talks and discussions with my colleagues, business partners, and customers about further improvement and development of TRIZ. Some ideas on how to overcome current challenges are mentioned.
Editor's Note PS (Short comments, Toru Nakagawa, Aug. 9, 2020)
There are many points we can learn from this Valeri Souchkov's paper. I read it in Mar. 2018 with much interest and read it again recently and translated it into Japanese. Here are my comments I wrote this time.
(1) I understand the four stages of global distribution of TRIZ described here. TRIZ came into Japan mainly through USA in the latter half of the 1990s. Introduction of the software products (i.e., First stage) remarkably through the consortium of 100 Japanese big companies led by Mitsubishi Research Institute and the subsequent Third stage ( the rise of TRIZ consulting companies and the use of TRIZ by big companies) were the main focus. The Second stage (i.e., scientific/academic interests/research, typically in Europe) was weak in Japan. The establishment and activities of the Japan TRIZ Society may be properly positioned as the Fourth stage in the global scale. We think the nation-wide unity of the TRIZ community was strong in Japan in comparison with other countries in the world.
(2) This paper remarks especially on South Korea's attitude and strategy in introducing TRIZ. Such remarks are natural because it has come clear in 2016 (and at present) that big Korean companies, especially Samsung, have made big jumps in their positions in the world economy and that TRIZ was introduced and deployed company wide by the top-down style and contributed to the companies' innovative activities. We in Japan had various opportunities to hear about and learn such activities of TRIZ introduction in South Korean companies. However, Japan did not fully understand the importance of such movement in South Korea and was "overtaken" in the history. In my series of introductory articles on TRIZ (published in monthly "InterLab" Journal), I wrote such history in " History of TRIZ (3) Acceptance and Penetration in Japan and Korea" (April 2006) . In Japan TRIZ Symposium, which had the policy of 'primarily Japanese national and partially (but as much as possible) international' from 2005 to 2012, every year we had a number of presentations and participants from various countries, especially South Korea, and had good communications and mutual influences.
I would like to record my thoughts here on the comparison of South Korea and Japan in relation to TRIZ acceptance,
(2a) The first factor for the successful introduction of TRIZ in South Korea is that several Korean companies directly invited TRIZ experts (including several TRIZ masters) from Russia and Belarus since 1998-99 and hired them as regular employees. Such TRIZ experts worked together with Korean employees (forming specialized task forces) to solve real problems in the company. In the US and Europe, Russian TRIZ specialists mainly provided outside consulting and training. In Japan we mainly received teaching and training by Russian and American experts, and tried to learn as much as possible among the Japanese. In Japan there was/is (almost) no culture of hiring foreign experts as full-time employees.
(2b) The second factor of South Korea's success is that when the initial results were achieved with TRIZ, the top manager of the research institute (later the president of the company) was convinced of the usefulness of TRIZ and directed to introduce TRIZ in the whole company. Thus the the training and practices of TRIZ were promoted quickly. On the other hand in Japan, senior engineers (i.e., middle managers) took the leadership in most cases, and only in Hitachi and Panasonic Communications the top management seem to have supported the introduction of TRIZ to some extent. Persuading the top management and understanding/decision by the top management were weak (not only in TRIZ but also in many other methodologies).
(2c) The third factor of Korea's success is organizing a TRIZ task force (having a core of TRIZ experts from Russia/Belarus), creating online training materials, conducting in-house training to a large number of employees, and applying TRIZ to their real problems. Thus in parallel to developing human resources company-wide, they have achieved innovative solutions in many projects. Such a systematic, company-wide approach has never been carried out in Japan (in terms of TRIZ).
(3) The author writes at first in the disclaimer: "Note that this paper does not discuss internal details of TRIZ, it focuses on how TRIZ has been interacting with its supersystem." We should also note that it does not discuss about the TRIZ situations in the Russian region (probably because the audience knew well) and in USA (probably because it is not the author's working fields.) The author does not mention about the issues in relation to classical TRIZ and the organization of MATRIZ.
(4) In relation to (3) above, we should discuss, I think, about "While TRIZ interacts with its supersystem, what kind of demands/requirements we are facing with concerning to TRIZ itself (or Classical TRIZ as its core), what kind of changes (or triggers to change) we are making, and in which direction we are going to evolve?" The author of this paper discusses about 'incorporation of external methods', and extension of application range of TRIZ and development of methods for such new application fields. In addition to them, however, we should discuss, I think, about the review/reflection of TRIZ itself, and about revisions and new developments within the themes of Classical TRIZ.
(4a) The most important contribution in the latter aspect is Darrell Mann's (CREAX at that time) complete update of TRIZ knowledge bases by carrying out the analyses of US patents and science & technology information sources. In particular, Contradiction Matrix 2003/2010 was created as a complete update of Contradiction Matrix built by Altshuller in 1960s and early 70s. The new Matrix is much easier to use and more reliable in the output recommendation of inventive principles. However, due to the “traditionalism of TRIZ” among TRIZ experts, most TRIZ textbooks still publish the Altshuller version of Contradiction Matrix. Many TRIZ experts advocating Laws of Evolution of Technological Systems do not accept the idea of Evolution of TRIZ,
(4b) The biggest issue for disseminating TRIZ has been to convey "TRIZ way of thinking" as much as possible (even in a short time), as often mentioned in this paper. To do so, we should convey essence of TRIZ and TRIZ way of thinking rather than a huge knowledge base, many tools (methods), and how to operate software. And hence we need to clarify the essence of TRIZ itself in advance. Expression of essence at the level of theory and expression of essence at the level of methods are necessary.
(4c) What I regret most of this Souchkov's paper is that the approach to capture and re-express the Essence of TRIZ is neglected by saying "Most approaches of simplifying TRIZ try to simplify TRIZ into a single easy tool (method) and apply it to every problem." We need to understand and explain the essence of many theories of TRIZ (having huge knowledge bases), and we need to integrate about 20 TRIZ methods and position them in a new framework (paradigm). I have been working to explore and systematize Essence of TRIZ in Japan.
(4d) My first understanding of TRIZ was understanding the roles of the knowledge bases of TRIZ. Then I learned Dr. Sickafus's USIT to understand the outline of a smooth, compact process of creative problem solving. Then we disassembled all the main solution generation techniques of TRIZ and re-integrated them in the viewpoint of USIT to create the USIT Operator System. Furthermore, by representing the USIT process in a data flow diagram, I obtained the Six-Box Scheme and found it 'A New Paradigm of Creative Problem Solving in General' (i.e. not only of TRIZ). These findings have clarified and developed TRIZ concepts further, instead of simplification of TRIZ.
(4e) USIT meets a question: "How far has USIT been established? accepted? has a track record? still being used actively?" This question was raised not only by Souchkov but also by Darrell Mann.
The objective data that can answer this question may be found in "Dr. Ed N. Sickafus Memorial Archives" accessible in my web site. It has a web page "(2) Historical Indexes to (A) Papers, (B) Case Studies, and (C) Communications On USIT and Its Further Extension by Dr. Ed Sickafus and His Followers Especially in Japan". Dr. Sickafus himself retired from Ford Motor Co. in 2000 after publishing a USIT textbook and giving conference presentations on his USIT achievements at Ford. He was active in operating the USIT website and NewsLetters, and published a book and several international conference presentations before passing away in Nov. 2018. There were few presentations from Ford or overseas researchers. In Japan, there are many continuous presentations and activities by Nakagawa, and in addition, there are more than a dozen conference presentations of USIT case studies by corporate users (from Omron, Fuji Film, Fuji Xerox, Ricoh, Nissan Motors, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Works, Toshiba, Sony, Sekisui House, etc.).
(4f) Nakagawa posted the entire USIT documents in 2015, which consist of the USIT manual , the USIT operator system , Collection of USIT case studies , and USIT references . The case studies in the Collection are obtained in the seminar classes or in students' thesis works at Osaka Gakuin University or created in the public USIT training classes together with corporate engineers. They handle with daily-life problems easy to understand and describes the full USIT process actually carried out in the classes and complemented to illustrate the steps in the Manual.
Since I have no career in the designing/manufacturing fields in industries, I conducted only trainings in TRIZ/USIT without doing any consulting work in companies. Over a dozen presentations of USIT case studies given by industry people in 2001-2011 were applied and implemented by practitioners who received training from Nakagawa. Since I retired from the university in 2012 and quitted the Board Member of Japan TRIZ Society by the end of 2012, I have not conducted TRIZ/USIT training in Japan since then. I am worrying that presentations on USIT have been declining recently.
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