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Book Review: Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ Methodology of Inventive Problem Solving

| On 02, Dec 2000

Ellen Domb

Title: Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ Methodology of Inventive Problem Solving

Author: Semyon D. Savransky, TRIZ_SDS@hotmail.com

Publisher: CRC Press LLC

ISBN: 0-8493-2255-3 Cost: $59.95 Pages: 394 Style: Hardback

Available from: Bookstores, on-line resources (Amazon and Barnes and Noble both have it), from the publisher, http://www.crcpress.com, and in a special $150 edition with additional material from Dr. Savransky’s web site, http://www.trizexperts.net.

Semyon Savransky’s new book Engineering of Creativity is a very welcome addition to the literature of TRIZ in English. It is a comprehensive book, beginning with a review of how people solve problems, why early methods have been unsatisfactory, what TRIZ is, how TRIZ works, how to use the TRIZ collections of data (problem solving principles, standard solutions, patterns of evolution) and how to bring all this information together and organize it to solve problems. It is also a scholarly book, with references to sources ranging from the ancient Greek Demokrit to Norbert Weiner to Charles Darwin. The extensive references to works in Russian are frustrating now, but in the next few years when translation engines become available, they will be of great value to those who want to read the TRIZ foundation literature.

Engineering of Creativity can be used several ways. It can be read straight through like a textbook, working out answers to each of the problems as the reader encounters them. Or, individual sections can be read separately as references for specific subjects. The examples used to illustrate each method are drawn from a variety of technical disciplines, so it is possible to read each section independently of the others. Because of the variety of examples, each reader should be able to find ones that relate to his own knowledge and help him understand the concepts.

People who have struggled with understanding TRIZ from the limited resources available in English will be grateful for the work Savransky has put into clarifying the historical context of each of the tools of TRIZ, and showing how the tools developed. His comprehensive explanations of the theory behind each method as well as the practical “how to” descriptions of each method fill a great gap in the existing English literature. Those in a hurry to just learn the “how to” can skip these sections, and return to them later!

Savransky’s goal of creating a standard vocabulary for TRIZ is the one area where the book falls short. Introducing the term “technique” and defining it as the collective noun for both technical systems and technological processes, and then talking about the environment of a technique, brings confusion, not clarity to an already complex situation. The use of abbreviations for frequently used terms (CSP is “correct statement of problem”) causes some difficulty for the reader, if there is a time delay between first encountering a term, and seeing it again in later chapters. With these exceptions, the book uses standard American English engineering terminology, and is quite easy to read. Fortunately, the missing articles and strained sentence structure characteristic of some of the Russian translations of TRIZ are limited to the title and to a few of the notes.

Dr. Savransky has done an excellent job of organizing the history, heuristics, theory, and methods of TRIZ in ways that will give his readers new insights. I look forward to getting readers’ opinions of Engineering of Creativity.

See Also:
A Personal View on Savranskys Book
By: Kalevi Rantanen