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The 40 Principles and the Matrix

| On 01, Jan 2010

Message: 1301
Posted by: Shree Phadnis
Posted on: Wednesday, 30th April 2008

The internet seems to be doing more harm than helping in the proliferation of TRIZ, For example the recent article on the 40 principles where the author recomends use of all 40 principles…..

This is certainly not what TRIZ teaches, In fact TRIZ was created to fight such trial and errors

Today perhaps the best known Classical TRIZ based instrument for TRIZ typical problem solving is Altshuller‰Ûªs Matrix of Technical Contradictions. However, very few people know the fact that in 1986 Altshuller had concluded that this instrument was a big mistake and dead end as far as TRIZ evolution was concerned and he was very disappointed and sad for the 7 years that he had spent developing it. As a result we find no reference to this matrix in the latest version of ARIZ. Altshuller decided to move the matrix out of the TRIZ based toolbox. Why was this? – Because a new powerful system of TRIZ instruments had appeared.

I agree that one can modify things and present but then I am of the opinion that facts should also be presented correctly. The only reason the 40 principles is still popular is only because they are the easiest to apply.

In fact even in application of the matrix there are important constructs, based on the Tool and the product, What is the MPP, there are strong concepts of resources and how to apply these principles. It is not like the way it is described in the article

The author is free to write but atleast not then call it TRIZ

Message: 1303
Posted by: Pentti
Posted on: Wednesday, 30th April 2008

Shree Phadnis,

You wrote that Altshuller abandoned the Matrix, “because a new powerful system of TRIZ
instruments had appeared”. I would expect you to tell which are these tools. (The Matrix is often underestimated, but seems to work very well at least on Level 1 and even on Level 2 type of problems.)

Same, what is MPP?

Message: 1306
Posted by: Prakash
Posted on: Wednesday, 30th April 2008

I think a debate on this topic is baseless. Consider TRIZ is a fantastic (Free)tool box providing various tools and methods to enhance our creative thinking and problem solving. (Drawing an analogy, consider a tool box used by car mechanic) A tool box may have very basic screw driver (I certainly wouldn’t like to compare a screw driver to Contradiction matrix though) to very advanced tools for identifying (and solving) your problem (like ARIZ as you said). It is all up to you to identify which tool for what problem, and also how well you can use them in your situation. As Pentti mentioned, for simple problem in your car, all you need is a screw driver to identify and fix; for complex situation, you may want to use an advanced diagnostic system or combination of several other tools from your tool box.I’m sorry to push back, but I don’t think internet is doing any harm proliferating TRIZ, but our views on TRIZ only from what we know, will do the harm. Please also remember that Altshuller was keen on talking this entire philosophy as creative imagination development than TRIZ. Commenting on the article: My personal belief is, that to propagate TRIZ, we need to look at various tools, applying in different context, and different way.

Message: 1307
Posted by: Claude Meylan
Posted on: Wednesday, 30th April 2008

Well known is that Altshuller steadily tried to improve TRIZ with new tools and methods and each time he thought the last one was the best. To me, it’s a rather a sign of enthousiasm than of reject. Today, we may consider that the link between problem formulation and heuristics is a unique feature of the TRIZ approach, which was established first with the matrix (than with the SU-Field method É). Quite early, the following critics were discussed: need of update, difficulty to identify and select the relevant parameters of a technical contradiction, high abstraction of some principles, lack of accuracy, asoÉ to name a few! Does it mean the original genius of the matrix is just vanished! I don’t think so. Some progress was registered on this front with ÒMatrix 2003, Updating the TRIZ Contradiction MatrixÓ, a stepwise consideration of the principles, links between principles and technics/effectsÉIt means TRIZ is not embedded in granit and may evolve too, without loosing the originality of the approach.

Message: 1308
Posted by: shree phadnis
Posted on: Wednesday, 30th April 2008

In fact TRIZ is not tools as many think, this is clearly the problem reflected by people who dont have depth of knowledge of TRIZ .

TRIZ is exact science.
This is Altchuller comment and not mine, also pls note the earlier comment is of Altshuller not mine, so the question of debate does not arise, I only quoted him.

Also ARIZ is not a tool

ARIZ is the tool for thinking,
but not instead of thinking.

TRIZ – it is a science, which studies the development of techniques
as co-action of humans and nature.
to show how Altchuller's first ARIZ is also far superior than many of the current publication.

I. Analytical Stage
1. Select a problem.
2. Determine the goal of the problem.
3. Identify the contradiction preventing the solution.
4. Determine the cause of the contradiction.
II. Operational Stage
1. Examine the typical solution approaches
a) in nature
b) in technology
2. Search for new solution approaches through modifying:
a) within the limits of the system
b) in the surrounding environment
c) among the connected systems
III. Synthetic Phase
1. Introduce the functionally favourable changes into the system.
2. Introduce the functionally favourable changes into the methods
of using the system.
3. Assess the applicability of the principle to the solutions of other
creative problems.
4. Evaluate the new invention.

Nevertheless, it has (even if they are not very prominent)
all the important elements of an instrument: process of identifying and
eliminating contradictions, control over the psychological factors, and
usage of previously obtained information.
the mordern ARIZ far superior than this , however the thinking of the creator is visible in it
As for MPP it is main production process and the contradiction  matrix  yes can be used but the method of usage that is propagated is not the correct approach

Message: 1315
Posted by: Joe Marotta
Posted on: Monday, 5th May 2008

I disagree with this statement. 

I, like many people here, came to TRIZ through the combination of a very knowledgeable coworker, and discovered the technique through reading, discussion with this person, and the internet.  People like me who didn't even know that TRIZ existed 5-10 years ago are now learning all about it and proliferating the use of TRIZ techniques.

Further, despite the fact that ARIZ is a more “complete” version of the TRIZ philosophy, it's long and cumbersome.  And the contradiction matrix does work for many problems.  Due to my physicist bias, I think of it as analogic to special relativity and general relativity.  SR is limited; it only describes the world in specific situations, while GR is the more complete theory.  However, nobody in their right mind will go through all the solutions to GR's sixteen or so partial differential equations when they work in the situations where SR can easily apply.  When you get out of these situations, it's time to start thinking more generally (pun definitely intended).

Similarly, the contradiction matrix and 40 principles are useful for lower-level technical problems, while ARIZ can help you with problems where the contradiction matrix and inventive principles no longer apply.  I agree that you can use the TRIZ tools, and they are still very useful, powerful, and fast (important when time is a factor), but you should keep in mind that they are not the be-all, end-all of the technique.  But this philosophy doesn't mean that you should abandon all old techniques simply because there's a more complete tool out there.

Message: 1316
Posted by: Shree Phadnis
Posted on: Tuesday, 6th May 2008

It seems that everybody responding is missing the point, maybe I did not phrase it correctly. The point I want to make is that TRIZ was created to gaurd against random brainstorming, so that there is science in thinking.

I completely agree that the matrix can be a useful tool for upto level 2 problems , my question is against the incorrect usage of the matrix where people use it a suppliment to brainstorming, example use all 40 principles.

Also the other problem that TRIZ means 40 solutions and a Matrix, that way people dont learn what TRIZ can do and its potential remains untapped

Message: 1317
Posted by: Kelly
Posted on: Monday, 12th May 2008


Can you explain what you mean by “level 2 problems”?

Also, isn't what the matrix provides the “most popular” solutions? So, if the most popular solutions don't lead to a choice, isn't it then okay to look to the rest of the principles to see if you can find a solution to your problem? Are you recommending something else entirely if the “most popular” suggested principles don't help?



Message: 1322
Posted by: Ellen Domb
Posted on: Thursday, 15th May 2008

I agree entirely with Kelly's comments, and would very much like to see Shree's answers.

This is an important discussion, not only because the 40 principles are the most popular beginner TRIZ tool, but personally because editing mis-use of the 40 principles is the most frequent content problem in editing new papers for TRIZ Journal! 

Message: 1323
Posted by: Shree Phadnis
Posted on: Thursday, 15th May 2008

Level problems / solutions are those that would typicaaly take no more than 10 attempts of random brainstorming to solve. They are trivial problems, Level 2 problems might need 10 -100 random brainstorming attempts, the solutions are not asily obvious. The contradiction matrix works well till level 2 problems.

Again the key point I wish to make is that it is not about random thinking. The creator of TRIZ wanted to create a method so that empty trials can be avoided.The contradiction matrix was his early instrument as he had realised that the core of the problem was the contradiction and creating a tool that would resolve it would help people avoid the random trials.In fact he created techniques for proper problem formulations before attempting to solve the problem.

A number of times 40 solutions and the contradiction matrix contains many answers, but the chance that ypu will solve the problem effectively by it is not there if appropriate steps are not followed

For example I am providing a simple problem, all can try solving this, later, I will provide the correct steps of usage of the matrix and you will see the diffrence ( ps. the article is under review with real innovation)

 You may have seen the workers move a heavy rail. 

¥Several people hook and turn the rail over with the bars all together. 
¥Then they again hook it and turn.
¥The work is hard and dangerous: if a worker looses concentration then at the time of rolling the rails the rails can have a spring action and this can hurt workers
¥This is a problem: how to help the workers?

Message: 1324
Posted by: Prakash
Posted on: Thursday, 15th May 2008

Shree,It took a while for me to come back here and read the interesting conversation happened on this thread.

I think we should come out of the “box” of thinking about what it is, rather than “how it should be”. Science is an abstract form of verb, “to know”. If we would like “to know” a problem better, or “to know” the solutions, we need certain tools (tools are something we uses to perform something). When I say TRIZ as a tool box, it is “to know” something. Thinking, the basic form of “to know” uses several tools. I'm not going beyond the scope of this discussion, but the neo-cortex, and various associated neurons act as tools.

So, the point here is Ð We do need to preserve something original (Classic TRIZ by Altshuller and the concept), but the process of diversified thinking based on the original work, especially an emerging and powerful concept like TRIZ should be encouraged.


Message: 1325
Posted by: Shree Phadnis
Posted on: Thursday, 15th May 2008

Dear Prakash,

Yes TRIZ is a science and it evolves, I am too for its evolution, but what I see is not evolution rather degradation, To evolve any scientific theory one must undertand it deeply, to understand what I ma saying for example try solving the problem presented, in my earlier discussion, it is simple, but I am sure that % people who would solve this with conventional thinking based on random thinking or even use all the 40 principles will be very less, I will later show how without the approach of random brainstorming it is solved. What I ma discussing is not that quardratic equations are wrong as we have computers, but what I am saying is that the science of using the quardartic quations can only change if the axioms on which the theory is built are changed and such change is not possible without strong research

Message: 1326
Posted by: Prakash
Posted on: Thursday, 15th May 2008

Shree,I saw your reply posting; it make sense to add response here for continuation of the discussion thread..

BTW – The problem you have given here doesn't sound like the right one to prove the theory of % of people think conventionally, or random brainstorming. Since many entering to the TRIZ world by reading “And suddenly an inventor appeared” book, the solution for this problem for them may not involve much thinking. 🙂

Nevertheless, the solution for this problem can come from many directions. First of all, I may not even apply TRIZ if my mind can synthesize things fast from my past experience (may be level 1 or 2 problem?). Our visual intelligence is capable enough to extract something similar like this situation from our memory and do the thinking. (Suggested reading – Visual Intelligence by Donald Hoffman) Second, there is nothing wrong in doing random thinking or conventional brainstorming if you can find the solution fast enough. I believe that's the way we always start with any solution thinking. We can still argue that applying TRIZ would provide me a better and cost effective solution.

Try to look at this from another angle. I can still follow every step as in the classic model. I can start analyzing the contradictions, go to the matrix, and find the principles and start thinking. But, does it really make sense, if I can simply start using each principle from the 40 principles as an Òelevator thinkingÓ for the solutions?

I have found, using 40 principles directly, without even trying to identify the contradictions as in the contradiction parameters useful, in certain situation for some breakthrough solutions (if there are people with very good domain knowledge), for simple and complex problems. I’m hoping to get approvals for some materials to publish.

Message: 1327
Posted by: shree Phadnis
Posted on: Thursday, 15th May 2008

Dear Prakash,

Yes I agree with you that all problems do not need TRIZ. In fact in TRIZ theory that is the reason why we have Typical problem technology and Non Typical problem technology, and the contradiction technology. Interestingly what might be a typical problem for one might not be typical for another. In fact the reason for development of TRIZ was not to substitute thinking but aid it in such a manner that problem solving and thinking becomes a process so that even if a problem is a nontypical problem people can achive sucess in solving problems without being domain experts. The only reason where applying all 40 work is because the 40 principles are close to the technological evolution patterns. I will communicate with you personaly rather than keep posting on the forum

Message: 1328
Posted by: Navneet Bhushan
Posted on: Tuesday, 20th May 2008

This has been an interesting discussion. I am not having any particular alignment towards what is TRIZ and how it is really related to 40 Principles or rather how it should be related as the case may be. Nevertheless I would like to point out to the readers and the debaters here, that much before Altshuller, the basic inventive prinicples were discovered and were reported in ancient times in the form of Vedic mathematics. It may be of interest for the TRIZ Community and RealInnovation readers at large, to know about these principles. There is an interesting article written by my friend Karthik which gives the way to use these principles in brainstroming. If you have an interest – may be you can download the paper from the Book Review: Solving Problems with TRIZ: An Exercise Handbook

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