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Report from the 4th Congreso Iberoamericano de Innovatcion Tecnologica

| On 18, Nov 2009

Ellen Domb

Congratulations to our colleagues in Mexico and Chile for successfully moving the Iberoamerican Innovation Congress from Mexico (1,2, and 3 were in Puebla, Monterrey and Guadalajara–see reports on all 3 in The TRIZ Journal Commentary column. And I got e-mail last night about an exciting new conference in Israel at the Holon Institute of Technology this month–see  www.hit.ac.il/TRIZ09 for details.)


The participants were welcomed to Chile and to the campus of the Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, and to the challenges of innovation by Patricio Guzmán, Director of the Santiago Campus, and by Prof. Noel León from AMETRIZ (Mexico TRIZ Association)  and TEC in Monterrey.  The initial address of the congress was presented by Prof. Pedro Sariego, chairman of the congress.  He had 2 direct challenges to the audience:   think about South Korea, which had half the GDP of Chile in 1960, and is now the fastest-growing economy, and think about the map of the globe, which should be viewed with South up, to see the world of the future!  Professors Sariego and León conducted tutorials the day before the congress, so that people new to TRIZ could participate and begin their studies of TRIZ and other innovation systems. 


Sergei Ikovenko did triple duty, delivering greetings from Mark Barkan, President of MATRIZ, and from Mansour Ashtiani, President of the Altshuller Institute, and presenting the keynote address, “Directions for Future TRIZ Development and Applications.”  Sergei focused on the expansion of the family of methods that are included in TRIZ in 2009, not the TRIZ of the past century, driven by companies’ needs for revenue growth and profit growth.   He used Michael Tracy’s model of 5 ways to grow:



  1. Retain the base
  2. Gain Share
  3. Market Positioning
  4. Develop adjacent markets
  5. Develop new lines of business

and he brought in ideas from QFD as well to discuss how modern TRIZ users have different sets of tools to use depending on which of the 5 areas they are working in.  He showed how the Main Parameters of Value (MPVs) of products or services form a hierarchy, and how engineers and product marketers have different challenges at each level–his example of how to design soap so that the customer has a “feeling of cleanliness” requires knowledge of physiology and psychology as well as knowledge of chemistry and manufacturing technology and packaging technology.  


Sergei’s version of the history of TRIZ, with personal views of the migration from the former USSR to the world, fascinated the audience.  He showed that the addition of problem definition tools in 1960-80 period was an important stage in the popularization of TRIZ, as was the addition of tools for determining the practicality of the solution in the 1980-2000 period, and the understanding of MPVs in 2000-present.  His story of the change of the S-curves, from Altshuller’s philosophical view to the current tools/technicques view, with specific business strategies for each stage of development was appreciated, and his recent insights from Korea tied directly to Prof. Sariego’s opening remarks (Samsung, POSCO, and  Hyundai–the only automotive company succeeding in the downturn.   In only 3 years of TRIZ use they had 81 patents last year, 183 patents this year, with $US 380 million attributed to TRIZ.)


I gave the second keynote address, and expanded on the theme of the simplicity of TRIZ, that I started developing at earlier conferences this year.   The audience was very responsive to stories of the use of resources that are already in the system, to take the system to a higher level of ideality.


The second session started with Héctor Montanares’ presentation “Application of the methods of systematic innovation to the solution of problems in mining operations.” He gave us an extensive orientation to the magnitude of the problems of waste management and recovery of wasted resources in both copper and molybdenum mining, some of which involve tailings that have been accumulating for 40 years or more.   Past experiments with trial-and-error methods got a lot of audience sympathy!   Simple analyis of the solid waste, the liquid in the waste pond, and the pumping system led to a water-aided cleaning system.   The photographic review of similar systems from 1890, 1940, and 1960 helped the audience appreciate that TRIZ helped the company appreciate a solution that had been developed by the miners themselves, after the failures of the “experts.”  


Pedro Sariego told us that Montanares was the first person who had received a degree in TRIZ at the university.   Sariego’s paper continued the emphasis on the mining industry, with a project to improve the durability of the plates and lifters in the mills that are part of the mining process.  Time loss due to breakdown of the mills is a serious limitation on the profitability of the mines.   Function analysis revealed well-known contradictions, and the direct application of the contradiction matrix and the 40 principles revealed “obvious” solutions, as well as alternatives–both segmentation and consolidation (2 plates instead of 4 plates) were explored, and various aspects of psychological inertia (“miners are more conservative than even the farmers”) were also revealed.  The simple, elegant solution worked well.  Sareigo challenged the audience to start with simple TRIZ in the mining industry while observing the advanced development of TRIZ elsewhere. 


Chilean folk dancers entertained at the conference reception: