TRIZ Technical Report
Software Tools for TRIZ 
-- Mechanism, Usage, and Methodology Learning --  Invention Machine's TechOptimizer Pro Version 2.5
Toru Nakagawa   (Osaka Gakuin Univ.)
   June 7, 1998 (in Japanese)
Originally written in Japanese as an internal manual in Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12, 1998.
First Published in the ITD/TRIZ home page of Mitsubishi Research Institute on July 3, 1998.
Published in this "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" on Nov. 2, 1998 (in Japanese).
English translation by Toru Nakagawa and published here on Feb. 25, 1999.

Preface for the English version (Toru Nakagawa, Feb. 25, 1999)

This technical report was originally written in Japanese as a hand-made manual of TechOptimizer
Pro V2.51 for promoting TRIZ in Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.  Then it was re-edited in the HTML
form and published in the WWW page of Mitsubishi Research Institute, and later in the Japanese
page of this "TRIZ Home Page in Japan".  This report intends to be a self-training manual for the
novice users of TechOptimizer, who often know little about TRIZ but are already trained in some
field of engineering.  By using the software tool step by step, or rather by reading the materials
in the software, the users can learn a lot about the TRIZ methodology.  As a consequence of this
intention, users are guided to use various modules/functions of the tool in the almost reverse order
officially given in the training seminars  by Invention Machine Corporation.
(Please refer to the present author's "Introduction to TRIZ" as well.)

In this report, more than 20 figures are shown in the form of actual displays of the tool.  The
present author wishes to thank Invention Machine Corporation and Mitsubishi Research Institute
for thier permissions.  These figures are indispensable for making this technical report vivid and
understandable even for the people who do not have an access to the software tool.

By now, TechOptimizer Pro is marketed with Version 3.0 (and Version 3.0J in Japanese) having
some new functions and extended databases.  I am going to update this technical report
in the near future.  Nonetheless, I believe the English translation of this technical report would be
helpful for many people in the world who are trying to introduce the TRIZ methodology (and its
software tool) in their practice in industry.

Preface (Toru Nakgawa, June 7, 1998)

The software tool described in this technical note is Invention Machine Corporation's
"TechOptimizer Professional Edition Version 2.5" (i.e. microelectronics-enhanced
version).  The present author, during his former work at Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd,
introduced and used this software for the evaluation purpose, learned its mechanism by
himself, and wrote a home-made manual of it for novice users to learn the usage of the
tool and its background methodology (Jan. 29 and Feb. 12, 1998).  The manual has been
edited into the present technical report in an HTML format.

The author appreciates it much that Mitsubishi Research Institute (as the general agency
in Japan for Invention Machine Corporation) has kindly allowed to cite here over 20
displays of the software tool in its actual usage.  Illustrations of these displays have made
this note vivid and useful even for those who do not have the tool yet to understand the
usage and effectiveness of the tool.

TechOptimizer Pro V2.5 is the most up-to-date (at the time of January 1998) among the
TRIZ methodology tools that are currently commercially available.  This software installs
a wide range of databases compiled through the analyses of science and technology
references and patents, and implements the TRIZ methodology to retrieve the databases.
However, the user manual and the training materials offered by IMC describe the
operation methods and the usage of the tool in their standard way which seems suitable
only for well-trained people; thus they do not fit well to the needs of novice users who
want to learn the TRIZ methodology itself through the use of the tool.

The present technical report, on the other hand, describes the software tool from the view
point of novice users.  How are the software tool and its databases organized?  How does
it work?  How can we learn its usage?  How we should use it? etc.  Consequently, this
report demonstrates a new  way of learning the TRIZ methodology itself in its depth and
width by using the software tool "TechOptimizer".

1.  Overview of the structure of TechOptimizer Pro V2.5

TechOptimizer is composed of five modules.  Invention Machine Corporation usually
shows them in the following order, along the "procedure of problem solving".
TechOptimizer Module:  Problem analysis, trimming, problem definition
Principle Module:  Examples of techniques, examples of contradiction solving
Prediction Module: Examples of application trials for problem solving
Effects Module:  Explanation of technical principles
Feature Transfer Module: Transfering features from one system to another

For novice users, however, it is difficult to learn TechOptimizer and the TRIZ
methodology in this order.  Users often get frustrated at the first step of using
TechOptimizer Module.  This is becasue the users cannot see merits of using
TechOptimizer and cannot utilize their own technical expertise and problem solving
approaches which they have already mastered.

The present report is based on the understanding that this software tool has installed the
technology knowledgebases of the world in a systematic way based on  the TRIZ'
philosophy, and that the retrieval scheme in TRIZ naturally matches the needs of users
for their technical problem solving.  As the consequence, this report presents the software
tool and its usage in a manner to expand the users' ordinary problem solving approaches
towards higher TRIZ approaches and hence to guide the users to get familiar with the
TRIZ methodlogy while learning the software tool.  The outline of this report is as

  2.  To learn the trends in technology evolution (Prediction Module: Part 1. Trends)
  3.  To learn the system of science and technology from a practical viewpoint  (Effects
          Module: Part 1. Effects and Examples)
  4.  To learn various methods for implementing technological goals  (Effects Module:
          Part2. Functions)
  5.  Various methods for improving the user's system  (Prediction Module: Patr 2.
         Method tree)
  6.  To learn the 40 "Principles of Invention"  (Principles Module: Part1. Principles and
  7.  To obtain suggestions of principles of invention for solving user's contradiction
          (Principle Module)
  8.  To describe the outline of the user's system in a problem  (TechOptimizer Module,
          Part 1, Basic part)
  9.  To functionally analyze the user's system (TechOptimizer Module: Part 2. Functional
  10.  To examine the functional analysis of the user's system  (TechOptimizer Module:
            Part 3. Trimming; and Feature Transfer Module)
  11.  To record the process of problem solving and the ideas obtained  (Recording and
             reporting function)
  12.  Conclusion
1. Overview 2. Trends in Tech. Evolution 3. System of Science & Technology 4. Implementing 
Tech. Goals
5. Improving User's System 6. 40 Principles 
of Invention
7. Solving Contradiction 8.  Describing User's System 9.  Functional Analysis 10.  Trimming & 
Feature Transfer
11. Recording 
& Reporting
12. Conclusion

  2.  To learn the trends in technology evolution
            (Prediction Module: Part 1. Trends)

To the users who start using this software tool or want to learn it, the present author
advises first to learn the displays of the trends of technical system evolution implemented
in the [Prediction Module].

[Operation:  Start the [TechOptimizer Pro], go to [Prediction Module], and then click the
icon of the [Trends] database.  The index to the database is displayed (see Fig. 2.1) .
Then you can read the 20 trends one by one by clicking the icon in this index.]

Fig. 2.1  Display of the index of the [Trends] installed in [Prediction Module]

On contrary to the implemented order of the 20 trends, users are advised to read the last
display first; i.e. No. 20: the [Substance] display, shown in Fig. 2.2.  As the states of
substances, we usually think of the "three states", i.e. solid, liquid, and gas, which are
taught as idealized concepts.   TRIZ, however, lists up many more states, including
powdery, porous, and foam, from the practical viewpoints for technology development.
The description in the display is helpful for us to recall transformations among the states
of substances and also substances with typical or peculiar characteristics.

Fig. 2.2  Display of [Trends] No. 20 in [Prediction Module]:  [Substances]

Next you are recommended to read the display No. 19, i.e. [Fields/Forces/Interactions]
(see Fig. 2.3).  This display summarizes mechanical forces in various forms,
electrical/magnetic/electro-magnetic fields and interactions, thermal interactions, etc.
The term "Fields" in TRIZ represents the whole body of forces, fields, and interactions as
listed in this display.  (For example, in the "Su-Field Analysis" of TRIZ, a user's
technical system is analyzed and formulated simply in a scheme containing two objects,
i.e. substances, and an interaction, i.e. "Field", between them. )

Fig. 2.3  Display of [Trends] No. 19 in [Prediction Module]:  [Fields/Forces/Interactions]

The No. 18 display of [Trends], i.e. [Fields, forces, interaction transformations], as
shown in Fig. 2.4, is also a very interesting summary.  Concerning the fields, forces, and
interactions mentioned above, this display summarizes the generation, conversion,
structue change, and accumulation of them.  In the column of "conversion", it shows that
the "Fields" of the five main categories (i.e. mechanical, electrical, magnetic, thermal,
and optical "Fields") can be interconvertible by use of some proper setting-ups of
"substances".  Also it shows that we can structurely change these "Fields", in various
ways (including increasing/decreasing, reflecting, refracting, defracting,
standing/traveling wave, etc.), by using optical cases for illustration.  All these "Fields"
can be accumulated in various forms, including kinematic energy, electrical energy,
chemical energy, etc.  This display (Fig. 2.4) gives us excellent and insightful viewpoints
to review and reorganize our knowledge of science and technology for the purpose of
effectively using them in practice.

Fig. 2.4  Display of [Trends] No. 18 in [Prediction Module]:  [Fields, forces, interaction transformations]

On the basis of such understanding of the TRIZ philosophy, users are advised to read the
displays of the [Trends] No. 1 through No. 17 one by one.  As an example, here we cite
the [Trend] No. 2, i.e. [Segmentation of the working member], in Fig. 2.5.  This display
shows that the working part of a technical system is segmented into smaller ones as one
general trend in the evolution of technical systems.  A monolithic part is segmented into
smaller parts, into powder/paste/gel, into gas, and finally into parts using a "Field".  This
trend is illustared by the example of the evolution of ball bearing; from a metal ball
bearing, into gas bearing, and finally into a magnetic bearing system.  For an non-expert
of this field like the present author, the example here is somewhat too nice to be
practical, but experts of the field regard this as natural and already established
technologies.  By clicking the icon of each evolution step  in the display, one can read
short explanation of the step at the bottom of the display.  These trends are extracted
from the anayses of a large number of patents, and formulated into a pattern which has
appeared many times in varous fields and various systems.  It is advised to users that you
should consider your own system in terms of these trends and to locate it in the trends of
general evolution.  The full list of the trends is shown in Fig. 2.1.

Fig. 2.5  Display of [Trends] No. 2 in [Prediction Module]:  [Segmentation of the working member]

Other functions of [Prediction Module] are discribed in Section 5.
Top of this page 1. Overview 2-1 Index of Trends 2-2 Substances 2-3 Fields 2-4 Conversion
of Fields
2-5 Trends of segmentation Next page

1. Overview 2. Trends in Tech. Evolution 3. System of Science & Technology 4. Implementing 
Tech. Goals
5. Improving User's System 6. 40 Principles 
of Invention
7. Solving Contradiction 8.  Describing User's System 9.  Functional Analysis 10.  Trimming & 
Feature Transfer
11. Recording 
& Reporting
12. Conclusion

Home Page Software Tools Papers and Tech. Reports Top of this Tech. Report Japanese page Japanese 
Home Page

Last updated on Feb. 25, 1999.     Access point:  Editor: