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Report From The Third TRIZ Symposium in Japan

| On 31, Aug 2007

Guest Commentator

Paul Filmore is reporting from The Third TRIZ Symposium in Japan.———


I’ve arrived here for my first visit to Japan.  I am so grateful that it is ‘cold’ so that I have time to acclimatise.  Fortunately I was given good instructions as to getting to the conference as the number of choices in travelling through Tokyo by train is bewildering e.g., the Tokyo main station is on four levels!


The conference is impressive with 200 delegates this year (150 last year) and most from industry.  I find it embarrassing at the level of company interest here compared to my experiences in U.S. (brief) and Europe.  The delegates also are of senior level (i.e., deputy or even general manager( from the people I have talked to so far.


The talks on the first day have been good and I must praise the organisers for translating all the slides and dual projecting the PowerPoints.  An interesting perspective came from Mr. Hayashi (Hitachi) who was reporting introducing TRIZ across the organisation.  Feedback had shown that Taguchi was found by employees to be the easiest to use followed by QFD.  TRIZ was reported to be the most difficult to start, but the speculation was that this was due to the fact that there were (until now) no conferences to which people could attend.  It was thus thought that people starting now may find learning TRIZ much easier.


Another talk was by Mr. Okuzumi (General Manger, Toshiba Innovation Promotion Division).  After giving a company overview, he looked at all the innovation methods and activities used in the company and reported how TRIZ was finding a place.  Change was referred to a number of times with obvious senior management backing and the emphasis was on innovation management c.f. management of innovation.  Toshiba has an i3 (i cubed) cross functional approach to innovation, comprising of process innovation in sales & marketing, production & procurement, research & development.  What was also interesting was the use of words such as how innovation is defined in the company, from ‘a small innovation on the spot’ to ‘ the maximum approach that increases wealth creation capabilities by doing things in a completely new way to maximise profits.’ 


I look forward to the next day.


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Dr. Paul Filmore has been teaching creativity, personal, professional, entrepreneurial and research skills for over 10 years, at the University of Plymouth, UK.  At present he ‘introduces’ TRIZ to over 100 first year engineering degree students and 100 technology Masters (postgraduate)  students.


Paul runs an innovation consultancy ‘The Insight Centre’ where TRIZ and other systematic problem solving skills predominate and have recently been augmented by research and practical understanding of how disruptive innovation thinking can help to further break mindsets.  Paul can be reached by email at pfilmore@plymouth.ac.uk.


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