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Examples of 40 Principles for High School Students

| On 01, Jan 2010

Message: 1690
Posted by: David Troness
Posted on: Monday, 9th November 2009

I'm trying to create an introduction to TRIZ for High School (9-12 grade) students. Can anyone help me to come up with additional examples of the 40 principles and separation strategies for this audience?I'm looking for examples that will not be beyond their education and experience, yet not appear to be treating them as elementary students. Of course, the examples should be familiar, timely and interesting (fun is OK too). Any examples you can provide will be appreciated. Maybe someone else has already done this? recently?Thanks in advance for your help! David

Message: 1691
Posted by: Ellen Domb
Posted on: Monday, 9th November 2009

Great idea!  No, I don't have examples for you, but feedback I've gotten from college students are that they need some explanation of the problem that is being solved, as well as the examples of the principles that are used in the solutions.  I'm glad that you're planning to include the separation principles as well as the 40 principles–any chance that I can talk you into including ideality and the use of resources?   High school students have done a lot of creative work in the FIRST robotics competition, demonstrating the use of resources. 

Message: 1692
Posted by: David Troness
Posted on: Monday, 9th November 2009

Thanks for the ideas.  I agree that ideality and use of resources should be included.  However, this brings up another thing I continue to wrestle with, i.e. how many subjects to cover when introducing TRIZ to high school students.  I think they can only digest one thing at a time, yet we want to them to be as knowledgeable as possible.  If I consider the idea of “separate gradually”, I guess we should just build up to it.

I have that sort of concern due to what I see, i.e. we may sometimes think we have taught TRIZ to a bunch of people, but have really done such a superficial job it, that it may do more harm than good.  My focus (right or wrong) is to just focus on doing a very rigorous job of causal analysis to identify contradictions and then on using separation strategies to resolve them.  I think if we manage to get a person really competent with that… it would be a huge jump with lots of payback.

Message: 1693
Posted by: Ellen Domb
Posted on: Monday, 9th November 2009

Sounds like a good plan.  I like the part about rigorous analysis —  this is really using TRIZ concepts to teach the students thinking skills.  In a way, the analysis is hard work, and the use of the principles is the reward for the hard work.   Too often I see the 40 principles especially used as a game, which is OK for certain situations, but the last thing these students need is more games!  

I hope you get some replies from people who can contribute.  I've done no work with this age group, so I don't have anything to offer.

Message: 1694
Posted by: Cal Halliburton
Posted on: Monday, 9th November 2009


Take a look at my TRIZ Journal article “New Tools for Design” October 2006. It was originally published in The Technology Teacher, the journal of the International Technology Education Association in December, 2005. While it's an overview of TRIZ for technology teachers, it gives some hints and examples for possible learning activities.

What type of high school course are you planning; how long, what grade level, its purpose and objectives, and expected outcomes? Are you the teacher? Is it a regular part of the curriculum? Is it a unit within a design course?

Message: 1696
Posted by: Andrew Martin
Posted on: Tuesday, 10th November 2009


I too think its great you?re looking at separation principles. In many ways they are more useful than the 40 inventive principles. Apart from anything else there are fewer to remember and they work equally well on non-technical as they do on technical ones.

Here are one or two examples to start the ball rolling?

Velcro is a nice example of separation by scale. The individual ?hooks? are very weak (just as well, otherwise we would never be able to peel the stuff apart). However collectively (in 100?s or 1000?s) they are very strong. Thus Velcro is strong in the large and weak in the small. (There?s also an element of separation on condition ? i.e. Velcro is weak when peeled from one corner, but strong when pulled as a whole).

Slicking Plaster (Elastoplast, Band-Aid or similar) uses a number of separation principles.We would like the plaster to be sticky (so that it stays stuck to the patient) and non-sticky (so that it does not stick to the wound). So we have a sticky part (round the edge) and a non-sticky part (in the middle). Separation in Space.

Interestingly, we would also like to be able to separate in time as well ? i.e. we want the plaster to be sticky while it is protecting a wound, but to become instantly non-sticky when the time comes to remove it. An interesting problem for your students perhaps!

We also want the sticking plaster to be impervious (so that germs, dirt and other unwanted substances do not come into contact with the wound) and we want it to be pervious (so that the wound can ?breathe?). We might tackle this with separation on condition (e.g. by size of substance: gas molecules are smaller than dirt particles or germs) or by scale (e.g. very small pores).

It?s worth pointing out to your students that for some problems more than one separation principle can be used (e.g. time OR space) ? and for some real tough problems two or more separation principles have to be used in conjunction (e.g. time AND space).

Finally, I urge you to include plenty of ?fun? examples as well as the more serious ones. Apart from the undoubted benefits of fun to the wellbeing of mankind, the fun examples are generally much easier to remember.


Message: 1697
Posted by: Pentti S?derlin
Posted on: Thursday, 12th November 2009

David Troness,

a good example of Physical Contradiction is in my article in Tiz-Journal March 2000: Ski – a Perfect Example for TRIZ. (it should be renamed as “Physical Contradiction- a Nordic ski as an example” -or the like.(can this be made by T-J people?)

Ski is a good example of division principles- all are included.

Message: 1698
Posted by: David Troness
Posted on: Friday, 13th November 2009

Thanks very much!  I went back and read your article again (when I first read it a couple years ago, I was thinking of other things).  Now I can see that you do indeed have many good ideas for activities and exercises for students.

Regarding your questions for me… my effort on this so far has been a process of “thinking (doing) out loud”.  I try to challenge my thinking every day on this subject.  But to answer your questions… I am no where near having an actual class put together, as I don't want to spend all that time in developing if my assumptions are wrong regarding what will be interesting and engaging for students (and teachers).

It seems like a “chicken and egg” thing, that is:

  • I teach it to professionals in the workplace and they say it should be taught in universities.
  • I talk with universities and some say that it is really interesting, but it should be taught in high schools.
  • I talk to high schools and they are interested and see the applicability, but changing or adding to their curriculum is a monumental effort.  Besides, they are not sure if their students are ready and able to absorb it.  Also, thanks to some politicians, teachers are encouraged to teach to the tests, since this is also what they are also graded on.

In the work place, my experience is that pushing or mandating TRIZ education is a big mistake. I go to the engineers and encourage them to only learn TRIZ if it is genuinely interesting to them and they find it satisfying for their own reasons (not for the company).  We don't get a lot of students that way, but the ones we get are great.  However, in the end, I think we end up with just as many real practitioners as those who use traditional deployment approaches, at a much lower cost to the company.

So, I'm thinking the same way in regards to young students, i.e. find students who want it regardless of whether teachers or schools are pushing it, teach it in a way that is best suited to them and finally let it perculate up through the system.  I know this is VERY long-term and I will probably not live long-enough to see this become integrated into the way most schools teach various subjects.

Whew!… sorry for all the rambling, but I would be grateful for more comments.


Message: 1699
Posted by: David Troness
Posted on: Friday, 13th November 2009

Thanks very much for your comments and thoughts.  I definately agree that separation strategies can be more powerful and intuitive.  In my workplace, I don't even cover the 40 principles.  However, I think the 40P's are valuable to review and become familiar with somewhere in a person's education. My thought is to start students out with exposing them to lots of different alternatives (though I'm not sure if that is the best approach), then move them into the separation strategies.

I like your examples as well… I think they are closer to what is needed.  Ideally, they would pertain to iPods, skateboards, dating, taking tests, getting hired in their first jobs, etc.

Please keep your ideas coming!

I am very grateful… David 

Message: 1700
Posted by: David Troness
Posted on: Friday, 13th November 2009

Thanks for the idea… it brings all kinds of variations to mind.  It would also be great to share issues/problems/solutions that come from students all over the world, e.g. for US students to know that students in Finland have the same problems and maybe some unique ones,  I suppose eventually, these students from around the globe could shares ideas and solutions with eachother via a website or email.



Message: 1701
Posted by: Katie Barry
Posted on: Sunday, 15th November 2009

This is not a change I can make myself, but I will request a title change be made by our technical team.

Katie Barry
Real Innovation and The TRIZ Journal

Message: 1702
Posted by: mehdi
Posted on: Tuesday, 17th November 2009

Hi question is : is there a database of 40 principle examples ?thanks

Message: 1703
Posted by: Ellen Domb
Posted on: Tuesday, 17th November 2009

is a collection of 14 sets of examples from a wide variety of industries.    It is controversial–people get much better solutions if they use examples from outside their own industry, but my observation has been that more than half of people won't even try to use the concept of thinking by analogy unless the example is very familiar to them.

Message: 1704
Posted by: Pentti Soderlin
Posted on: Wednesday, 18th November 2009

David Troness,

here are some easy examples. Please be free to use them.

Examples for high school students

  1. The ketchup bottle
  2. The most common nuisance with a ketchup bottle is that once the amount of ketchup in the bottle diminishes, the more difficult is to get it out. Either it takes a very long time to get the requested amount, or when one hits the bottle you get excess of ketchup. ( Same with mustard?)

    What can be done? (apply TC and/or PhC)

  3. Oxygen is colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which is used in various processes e.g. welding. The leakage of the gas could be dangerous from obvious reasons. Find a solution to warn of the leakage? Use Su-field.
  4. A railway car type named Gbl is used to transport goods of the public. Hence the goods might be what ever. When studying efficiency problem the team found that the amount of good is very low compared with the capacity of the GBl car due to the fact that you cannot pile the goods (they will be damaged. Further while in transportation there migt be sudden acceleration in the order of magnitude from 2?5 g due to bumbs. This causes additional damages.). What can be done? Use TC.
  5. A bakery was in economic trouble. Hence the management decided to start developing new products which resulted a very large product sortiment. The main problem was that the marketing department couldn?t decide which products to keep in the programme, which to abandon. A certain part of the bakery products were seasonal. Additionally the baking process became overloaded. What can be done? Use PhC.
  6. A washing machine is located in the bathroom. The floor is slightly skewed to provide outflow of water to the sewer system. When spin-drying the laundry might be a inbalanced. So the machine has a tendency to crawl towards the centrum of bathroom. What can be done to prevent such motion? Use TC or Su-field.
  7. Some years ago it was needed to vaccinate the population against polio. The required dose of the vaccine was five drops. However the dosage method has to be cheap and easy (simple) to apply and hence e.g. no capsule could be accepted. To ease the dosage of the liquid which was to be taken orally several ideas were produced. What kind of suitable and possible method would you propose if the vaccine was delivered in cans of one litre and every vaccination station have normally syringes? Use TC or Su-field.

Message: 1707
Posted by: QualityColorado
Posted on: Monday, 23rd November 2009


Determining the “right” number of topics to introduce to high school students may be helped by some recent research. Dr. Gul Kremer at Penn State University here in the U.S. has recently been awarded a National Science Foundation(NSF) grant for investigating “Systematic Ideation”, including college course curricula which would include TRIZ.

Her research may shed some light on what is appropriate at the college level, and that may provide you with a basis for scaling that back somewhat for coursework for high school student.

Best regards,