Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Key Question to be answered by Classical TRIZ

Once I've seen list of 300 of creativity methods and it was not complete. Many people belive that the more methods you know the better... Should we learn all of those 300 methods and do the same?
What for?
How long it will take and how much will be the cost?

If we need to show many methods we can take any component of TRIZ and present it as separate methods like some one did with Altshuller’s Schema of Powerful Thinking that originally has 4 dimension and infinite amount of windows. However someone cut it till nine screens and two dimensions only. Some other cut it even more - to 5 windows. I've seen even just 3 in one dimension.
Using this cutting method and taking into account that original schema have infinite we can produce infinite amount of N-Window methods. Just take one Schema from Classical TRIZ that was not a tool for problem solving but to understand the Goals of Classical TRIZ education.

By the way, Classical TRIZ is not a method for solving non typical (creative) problems but it is a theory of creating methods on solving problems whenever we need them. This side of Classical TRZ not so well known yet even in Russian TRIZ community. We can create as many methods as we need and then we will have infinite list of Tools. Then what we will do with this list? How can we make a right choice of an appropriate tool among this infinite list or their combination?
I just use one of tools of Classical TRIZ which is component of ARIZ – Exaggeration Technique, It is usually used as a tool to investigate problematic situation. But it can be used as a problem solving tool as well or as a part of other tool.

Approximately that is how appear a Key Question posed by Genrich Altshuller in 1946 when he started to develop problem solving technique that later evolve into Algorithm of Innovation – ARIZ and finally ended with the Theory of solving non typical (inventive, creative) problems - TRIZ. Each applied theory started with certain key question to be answered by the new theory.
So what was and still is the Key Question to be answered by classical TRIZ?
Altshuller formulated it approximately like this: How the one can develop a satisfactory solution without lot of useless trials and errors while not degrade quality of the solution?

Please pay attention for several point :
1. Not search for satisfactory solution but step by step develop it.
2. Exaggeration was used to clarify problem. Ideally we do not need many solutions we need just appropriate solution for the given situation. If we generate lot of them it means we do not understand the problematic situation yet. Above all it is well known now that quality of a satisfactory solution does not depend on the amount of solutions that were generated along problem solving process. However, stereotype (superstition?) about need of large amount of ideas still survive. TRIZ was struggle for developing satisfactory solutions with less trials and errors.
3. The problem was posed by Altshuller in the shape of Contradiction-IFR. These Siamese twins can not survive in TRIZ without each other. BTW Each type of contradiction now used in the world as a separate creativity tool….
4. Sometimes we need several solutions. It happens when for certain reason we or our customers do not want to disclose some important information on the problematic situation and we have to generate several ones and explain which solution is good for what situations. Then customers do them choice by themselves without TRIZ experts.
5. Those who still need many ideas still can use Classical TRIZ to generate lot of ideas. But it is step back from what Altshuller has already achieved in Classical TRIZ.

So, Why Altshuller poses the problem this way?

If we came back to the initial point of infinite amount of creativity tools (and we can do this as I shown above with help of Classical TRIZ) we will have at least three big problems:
1. How can one make a choice of the appropriate tool for the given problem?
2. Imagine we can apply all of the tools and obtain infinite amount of solution. Then how can we make a right choice between infinite amount of those conceptual solutions and evaluate all of them? How long it will take? Infinite of cause. Do you have infinite supply of time to produce ideas and make decision?
3. Last but not least. How long time one will need to learn all of that methods? Infinite time….
Those problems drive evolution of Classical TRIZ form technique to algorithm, form algorithm (ARIZ) to the theory on making problem solving tools whenever we need them (Classical TRIZ). In turn Classical TRIZ and those problems give life to several more theories proposed by Altshuller for his followers: The Theory of Engineering System Development (TRTS modern leader is Youry Salamatov); The Theory of Creative Personality Development (TRTL – modern leader is Igor Vertkin); The General Theory of Powerful Thinking (OTSM – modern Leader Nikolai Khomenko). All of those new branches of Classical TRIZ were proposed by Altshuller himself as well as some initial background ideas. He also and supervised those research at the beginning. If some one here is interesting to understand how Classical TRIZ answers the Key Question we can talk about this here or whenever else.

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