Formation of Institute of Professional Innovators
Editor | On 27, Sep 2005
Editor’s note: This letter from Greg Yezersky was first published in the TRIZ Topica forum. The invitation is being extended to all readers of The TRIZ Journal.
Formation of the Institute of Professional Innovators and first seminar and meeting:
With an assumption that the majority of participants of this forum are interested in the practical aspects of TRIZ, which is real-world innovation that results in entity’s (business or non-business) success, and with permission from Marco, as the moderator of this forum, I would like to post the following message containing a few of my thoughts for your consideration and an announcement with an invitation. Thus, here it is…
First, let’s start with describing a problem.
Lately, the participants of various prestigious TRIZ gatherings actively started discussing the fact that TRIZ experiences some difficulties in being deployed at major organizations throughout the world and being accepted as the basis for strategic decision-making by executives of various organizations (business and non-business).
You can see the examples of this at http://www.osakagu. ac.jp/php/nakagawa/TRIZ/eTRIZ/eforum/eETRIACon2004/eETRIACon2004-041214.html or http://www.aitriz.org/2005/agenda.htm). Since this is indeed true, many tried to understand why this happens. There are many opinions. Let me present not only my understanding of the problem root cause but also a verified tested solution, which has been around since 1988. Also, I would like to propose a program of actions, including the next step to be taken, and invite you to participate in this program together with me.
Based on the classical definition (e.g. from the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Study http://www.aitriz.org/Downloads/40Ptriz.pdf or from The TRIZ Journal http://www.trizjournal. com/whatistriz_orig.htm), TRIZ, as a theory, concerns itself with evolution of technical systems.
Without any intent to diminish significance and brilliance of TRIZ and genius of its father, Genrich Altshuller, this focus on technical systems is indeed the weakest point of TRIZ, which fundamentally restricts (and always will limit unless changed, but then it will become something else) its practical power.
You see, according to the creator’s intent, TRIZ is supposed to control (as any scientific theory) the process of coming up with a new high-level technical idea, which it does well. What is not said though but only assumed is that this idea is the basis of an innovation (new product or process) that, in turn, must result in the entity’s success. The problem is that innovation in the marketplace is driven by the forces, nature of which is NOT technical. Therefore, TRIZ with its focus on technology cannot offer any help with achieving this Super- Goal of entity’s success. In other words, a good solution to a specific problem might have nothing to do with a competitive position of an enterprise.
This fundamental conflict between the TRIZ focus on technology and the market’s non-technical nature, which indeed predetermines ultimate success or failure, automatically leads to the situation when TRIZ often fails to meet expectations and NEEDS of the corporate world. It is especially true when TRIZ is applied to the projects (even if a specific project deals with a technical system), results of which directly depend on proper understanding of the market’s requirements, e.g. system evolution forecasting and failure prevention. The matters are even worse when one has to deal with the systems and industries of non-technical nature (such as hospitality, retail, banking, education, etc.) or various business (non-technical) applications such as formulation of a corporate strategy, search for new markets and sources of revenue, generation of corporate growth, etc.
These fundamental flaws result in the situation where the entities’ leaders cannot rely on TRIZ as the foundation for making strategic decisions. That is why it is so difficult (if at all possible) to successfully deploy TRIZ throughout REAL-WORLD organizations. One can blame foolish students, or inexperienced teachers, or bureaucratic corporate managers, or something else, but the blame should be, first of all, placed squarely with TRIZ itself. Despite all its beauty, successes, advances and advantages, today’s TRIZ is not in the position to consistently satisfy the needs of the decision makers (business or non-business) without a major re-design, which requires overcoming its fundamental self-restrictions.
So, what could be done to correct the situation and to advance the state of the art of practical innovation? First, TRIZ can be combined with other theories and techniques (e.g. FMEA for failure prevention, QFD, etc).
Second, TRIZ can be re-designed to accommodate non-technical systems and applications. Third, TRIZ should be left alone in its intended niche (namely, solution of complex technical problems WHEN TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS ARE WELL KNOWN) where it performs so admirably, but then another theory needs to be created, which would satisfy all of the above mentioned applications and requirements. I personally have chosen the third way, starting in 1988, and proceeded to create a theory, which I call Systemology mentioned by me at this forum in the past.
It was my attempt to create a TRIZ-like version of the General Theory of Systems (aka General System Theory): a theory, which would work effectively with any kind of a system without a need for adaptation. Through our correspondence, not only did Altshuller recognize it as a separate scientific theory, the need for which he repeatedly pointed out in his letters and the seminars, but he also supported its creation by directing and advising me. As a matter of fact, Systemology is an offspring of TRIZ (by Altshuller), Tectologia (by Bogdanov) and my own thinking. I have been successfully practicing Systemology in the US since 1992, taught multiple seminars for the corporate world (including dozens of seminars for the Society of Automotive Engineers from 1996 till 2002) on a variety of applications. Since 1999 I have been deploying it at the Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler where I continue working as a program manager. Here is a list of applications, which
I have successfully tested under the real-world conditions and effectively taught.
1. System-related complex problem solving (usually two seminars of the 1st and the 2nd level); both seminars were also taught for the SAE
2. Cost reduction (as well as weight reduction; quality, reliability, productivity improvement)
3. Failure prevention; this seminar was also taught for the SAE
4. System evolution forecasting
5. Patent circumvention (and protection against circumvention)
6. Entity’s (typically corporate, but it can be any entity) strategy formulation
Recognizing the societal needs for a Unified Theory of Innovation (confirmed by our various discussions here at this forum; I especially want to thank Larry Ball, Noel Leon, Marco Aurellio de Carvalho, Joseph Theckeveetil, Ellen Domb, Sergio Lorenzi, and many others for this opportunity!), which would have the same theoretical and methodological apparatus that works equally effectively for any type of an entity producing any type of a system (product or service), and for a standard cohesive approach to the issues involving practical application of the above theory to various needs of the real business world, I have decided to found the Institute of Professional Innovators with the following purposes:
• Develop and continuously evolve the Unified Theory of Innovation, which would be capable to adequately respond to various needs of the real-world entities by the means of innovation
• Disseminate the Unified Theory of Innovation throughout the society starting with primary education
• Work diligently toward the situation when the society will accept Innovator as a separate profession
• Standardize materials for and methods of preparing specialists pursuing the goal to be proficient in a variety of applications of the Unified Theory of Innovation
• Introduce the process of certifying Professional Innovators, which would be analogous to the one of the Black Belts’ certification. The certification process requires developing high standards of knowledge, practical and consulting skills that will have to be satisfied for becoming a Certified Professional Innovator.
My wife (Larisa Yezersky) and I are currently working on the creation of the Institute’s Website, which will spell out the Institute’s objectives and policies, while I contact other people close to me with solicitation of help. Besides informing you all about the fact of establishing the Institute and the reasoning behind my decision to do so, I want to invite you all to discuss the matter. Later, when the smoke clears and the Institute gets all the attributes of a normal organization, including finalized mission, objectives, memberships rules, benefits, etc. (I expect it to be achieved by the end of 2005), I will officially invite you to join the Institute and become a part of this truly needed process of developing and disseminating the Unified Theory of Innovation toward the goals listed above. Until then you are welcome to join our team without any formalities.
Let me emphasize a point of great importance, which I want to present as loud and clear as I can. Systemology and the Institute are NOT in competition with TRIZ and TRIZ-based organizations! Systemology and TRIZ are complementary theories! On one hand, Systemology, by being a theory of a greater rank, works on any application for any kind of a system and provides a uniform theoretical and methodological apparatus to achieve it, which TRIZ, being a specific theory, can’t accomplish. On another hand, while dealing with technical systems, Systemology does NOT have (and never will!!!) such tools as a library of effects (physical, chemical, geometrical — too specific!) or such Principles as Oxidation or Transition from mechanical action to electrical, or many other tools developed within TRIZ. In other words, developments in one of them can and should bring respective changes in another theory. As of today, TRIZ can clearly adopt a lot of things (tools, rules, applications, etc.) from Systemology.
As the very first step to disseminate the knowledge that I have been creating since 1988 and in the attempt to jump-start the Institute work, I am going to conduct one or two (depending on a number of people who decide to attend) comprehensive seminars on all the applications mentioned above (with possible exception of cost reduction, which I will explain during the seminar). The seminar approximate agenda looks as follows.
* Problem Solving 1, including Introduction and Fundamentals (2 days)
* Problem Solving 2, including the Algorithm for Conflict Elimination (2 days)
* Failure Prevention 1 day
* Patent Circumvention 1 day
* Evolution Forecasting and Strategy Formulation 1 day
* Forum (discussion on a variety of topics, including The Institute) 1 day
The seminars tentative dates are December 2 — December 9 and February 3 — February 10, 2006 in Detroit, USA. These dates are chosen so that you would have enough time to make your decision and prepare for the trip. Additionally, all of you will be able to return to the loved ones for the holidays. Finally, those of you who are truly busy in December (e.g. university professors) might have another opportunity in February.
The seminars are NOT free, but they are the very next thing to being free; namely, $900.00 US. Since it includes your one-year (for 2006) Institute membership ($500.00), the real tuition fee is $400.00, which is $50.00 per day comparing to $300.00 – $500.00 per day charged normally. The tuition fee is supposed to cover rent of the room, beverage and other professional services related to the Event. This price is intended for these two seminars only and will NOT become a new low-end standard in the field of professional education. The purpose of this low price is to facilitate your positive decision to get educated again, which is NOT easy, and to receive a feedback from you on the seminar and its materials for future Institute activities! Please take into the account that flight tickets, hotel, and meals are your expenses.
Let me present the benefits of attendance, as currently perceived by me.
1. You will learn A LOT of new material. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of what you will learn is unique and unavailable from any other source. This includes the fundamental concepts (Equilibrium, Environment, Connection, etc.), tools (RelEvent Diagram, Templates, Algorithm for Conflict Elimination, etc.), applications (Patent Circumvention, Failure Prevention, Strategy Formulation, etc.) Even known concepts (such as Function, Resources, Contradictions, etc.) and applications (such as Problem Solving and Evolution forecasting) will be filled with new meaning, philosophy, tools and techniques.
2. One of the most important benefits, in my opinion, is an opportunity to learn a variety of tools and applications, which all have the same philosophical and theoretical foundation. By attending this long seminar, you will be able to see different applications of innovation as a whole system, rather than studying them by using a ‘piece meal’ approach.
3. It is my promise that NOTHING (no tool, principle, application, etc.) will be withheld: you will be exposed to everything I know of as of this moment with an exception of the material that has not been thoroughly tested yet.
4. What you will learn has been rigorously tested under the real-world conditions and showed very good consistent results, which satisfied my customers, primarily Fortune 500 companies. Moreover, the seminars received great reviews from students who mostly included engineers and managers.
5. All the theoretical concepts will be accompanied with real-world examples; the majority of them are unknown.
6. You have a rare opportunity to join the movement, which is at the very beginning, and, thus, you can become one of the pioneers.
7. This new knowledge, which is available for you to acquire, will empower you, give you the edge in comparison with your uninformed peers and colleagues, raise your market value, and give you new business or professional opportunities.
8. Finally, the study will be accepted as a part of the process toward your future certification as a Certified Professional Innovator.
Those of you, who are interested in attending the seminars, please send me a personal message (in order not to clog this forum with private matters) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate your interest in taking a part in the seminar, your affiliation, address, telephone and other means, which can be used if there is a need for communication. Also, throw at me any questions and concerns as well as inform me about your preferences regarding dates. Please keep in mind though that I am reserving the right to cancel any of the above dates or the seminar altogether if something unexpected occurs. As you all understand, not everything is up to us. However, I want to assure you that I am deeply committed to the goals I have stated here and to the events I announced in this note.
Your deadline to making a decision is October 15, 2005. By this time, you are supposed to mail your payment in. The way to do it is through PayPal system via Internet. Other means can be discussed via e-mail exchange. Based on the number of people signed up for the seminar, I will book a hotel and the room for the Event. Please register as soon as possible; money will be refundable until October 15th. After this date, no cancellation is accepted, so, please, think twice.
At the end, I want to express my sincere appreciation to Dr. John Terninko and Joe Miller, dear colleagues and personal friends, whose participation in discussing the idea of the Institute and the announced here Events was absolutely essential.
Also, I would like to profoundly thank each of you for your time and patience needed to complete reading of this long letter. I am looking forward to working with you all toward realization of the noble goals discussed here and seeing you in snowy Detroit in December!”