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Starting off Strong

| On 01, Jan 2010

Message: 1607
Posted by: Earnell Kelly
Posted on: Friday, 3rd April 2009


As a novice TRIZ user I find it somewhat difficult to CLEARLY identify the technical contradictions in real world problems. As with any class example, it was much easier to dissect and identify the contradictions in the problems I solved during the Basic TRIZ course than the problems I encounter at work. Are there any experienced users that have any suggestions or tools that can assist me in narrowing the scope of a problem to better identify the contradictions? I have found that this process is only effective if you “start off strong” with a clearly defined conflict statement.


Message: 1610
Posted by: Claude Meylan
Posted on: Tuesday, 7th April 2009


Looking for a technical contradiction is a good way to formulate your problem properly. What is mandatory? A situation questionnaire and good parameter definitions! But let me add that not all technical problems can be solved with TRIZ! Other methods like DOE may be helpful…


Message: 1611
Posted by: Ellen Domb
Posted on: Tuesday, 7th April 2009


Function analysis is a very powerful tool (or Su-field analysis, depending on your version of TRIZ.)   If something causes both useful and harmful effects, you have found a contradiction!    If something causes inadequate effects, you have found an opportunity to improve.  And if something causes only harmful effects, you have found an opportunity for trimming.    This is highly simplified, but try it and see if it helps.  


Message: 1613
Posted by: Jack Hipple
Posted on: Thursday, 16th April 2009


Let me just add to Ellen's comments. I like to use the term “Excedrin headache” to identify a contradiction. Yes, it has to do a good thing and produce a bad consequence. I also can identify a contradiction as something that has these conflicting characteristics and someone puts a “band aid” on the problem, partially solving it. Then it gets passed to someone else or another department who puts another band aid on it, and so on, and so on. And you just hope that you have a new job by the time it comes back around. When I use this description in a class, there is a lot of head nodding in the room.


Message: 1626
Posted by: Larry Ball
Posted on: Tuesday, 5th May 2009


Example:  I want to drive piles rapidly so as to reduce equipment rental costs, etc.

Step 1:  Start with the base problem as a knob and a setting. (Driving speed of pile is slow.  The driving speed of the pile is the knob and the setting is slow).

Step 2:  What is this a function of?  Give a list of knobs and settings.  Think y=f(x1,x2,x3…)  (ground hardness is hard, point shape is blunt, pile diameter is large…)

Step 3:  What knob settings would solve the base problem? Turn the knobs to the setting that solves the problem. (Ground hardness is soft, point shape is sharp, pile diameter is small…)

Step 4:  For each knob that you just turned, list what gets worse: (For ground hardness, the support of the structure that will be built atop the piles under an earthquake load gets worse.  For point shape the same problem exists.  For pile diameter, the support gets worse and breakage gets worse.)  Note that each thing that gets worse CAN be unique and will create a different technical contradiction.

Step 5: Write the whole contradiction for the various cases. (To drive fast, the ground hardness must be soft. To support well, the ground hardness must be hard.) (To drive fast, the point shape must be sharp. In order to support structures, the pile shape must be blunt.) (In order to drive fast, the pile diameter must be small.  In order to support well and not have pile breakage, the pile diameter must be large)

Note that we generated three contradictions.  Inexperienced people can generate these and more in a matter of a few minutes.

Note that we generated both the technical and physical contradiction for each case.

Note that we did not start with the technical contradiction.  The technical contradiction is often not obvious for a new problem.  That is because the technical contradiction is dependent upon the knob that you turn.  You can uniquely form a new technical contradicton for each knob that you turn. 

This method works every time and is very useful in group problem solving sessions. I have used this hundreds of times. 

A better method is to use a causal analysis which chains all of the causes and illuminates many more contradictions and flawed functions. 


Message: 1632
Posted by: Tushar S K
Posted on: Tuesday, 26th May 2009


Hi, I think the methodology using Knob and settings, suggested by Larry is very useful. To add to this I would suggested intermediate steps

– Every componenet or process can have useful and Harmful effects or either of these.

– Generally we percieve Harmful effect as undesirable output but this notion limits the scope for identifying other contradictions.

– I believe everything which we don't want the system or component to perform should be treated as harmful.

– This includes then, Noises, Emissions, Weight and most importantly the failure modes and effects.

 Once we have the entire list of Useful and Harmful effect we can identify the contradictions using Knob and settings analogy. During this process it is  always recommended to write down

-Function of the component or system under consideration

-Causes for Harmful effects as knob varialbes and

– knob variables and inputs for Useful effects.

The contradictions can be generally ellimiated using IFR (Ideal Final resuts) or by using or brigging additional resources (Visualize it as an addtional knob with it's own setting) into the system.