Editor | On 07, Nov 2018
We often use the mouse-in-maze metaphor to describe the innovation process. The basic idea is that we, first, need to know where the cheese is. This is the Ideal Final Result in TRIZ. Knowing where the destination is shows us the which walls in the maze we need to break down. These are the contradictions.
Some people object to the model, suggesting instead that a far better strategy is to navigate (optimize) our way through the maze. This is all well and good, but, in real life, and in the metaphor, most mazes are like this:
There is no way out of this maze without knocking at least one or two walls down.
When life looks like this, the basic choice is whether we take the most direct – contradiction-blitzing – route, or whether we get smart and work out the minimum number of walls needed to break through to the reward. This question is all about resources. If you’re Samsung and have thousands of contradiction solvers, your best bet is probably to set them all off to knock all the walls down. If you’re a start-up with limited resources, your best bet is to focus on the best contradictions to solve. One way to do this is to make the goal much clearer:
The other involves climbing the walls so you can check whether you’re in the right maze: