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Review: TRIZ Explorer Software

| On 14, Aug 2000

Ellen Domb,

Title: TRIZ Explorer™

Publisher: Insytec B.V., The Netherlands.

Cost: US$145 or US$195 packaged with the book TRIZ: The Right Solution at the Right Time: A Guide to Innovative Problem Solving by Yuri Salamatov.

Requirements: Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT Operating System, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, 15MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM (Note: these are the requirements as listed by the publisher. I needed 7.5 MB to download the program, and 16.8MB to expand it. The downloaded version can be deleted after expansion)

Available from: The publisher or via The TRIZ Journal Products & Services section.

TRIZ Explorer™ software package is a different approach to TRIZ software. It is a TRIZ reference system, with complete descriptions of the 40 Principles for Inventive Problem Solving, an interactive version of Altshuller’s Contradiction Matrix, 11 methods for resolving physical contradictions, definitions of the 76 standard solutions, and a library of over 160 physical effects. The physical effects are arranged in 30 functional categories (accumulate energy, change elasticity, etc.) as well as in an alphabetical list.

The TRIZ Explorer is built using a knowledge management system “nuComposer” and is provided with a help file and tutorial that guide the user in adding new data to the database, and in managing the data which have been accumulated. NuComposer can manage web pages, powerpoint slides, or Word documents, to add to any of the existing items, or to add new items.

Links are provided to a variety of web pages, such as The TRIZ Journal and other international (Japanese, Finnish, Russian, Spanish, etc.) TRIZ web pages, and to the Journal of Physics on-line.

TRIZ Explorer is a great reference tool at a very reasonable price. The TRIZ help files are good, but limited—they are designed to be used by people who are already somewhat familiar with TRIZ. A new student of TRIZ would benefit from the package that Insytec is offering that combines TRIZ Explorer with Y. Salamatov’s text, TRIZ: The Right Solution at the Right Time, which was reviewed here in May, 1999.

The substance-field models used in sections 1 and 2 of the 76 Standard Solutions are graphically elegant. The descriptions and the examples are extremely brief—this is a reference document, not a textbook. For example, Standard 2-2-6 is shown in the frame below:

Likewise, the scientific principles are explained in a few paragraphs, usually with the necessary formulas, and occasionally with diagrams, as illustrated here:

The process for downloading and installing TRIZ Explorer seems complex, but worked easily. Likewise, the first time the program is used, several pathways must be defined. It is not clear why the user must do this, but it only has to be done once.

The TRIZ features were all easy to use, and seem to be very well arranged to be used by someone who is working on a problem solving activity. The knowledge management features are not intuitive, but a very complete reference document is included. The knowledge management features will make TRIZ Explorer grow in usefulness each time it is used, if the user is diligent about adding new principles, examples, and scientific effects to the knowledge base.

I found TRIZ Explorer to be an excellent addition to the TRIZ reference library.