TRIZ Electing a President
Editor | On 27, Apr 2000
Vladimir Proseanic, Svetlana Visnepolschi
This paper presents selected examples of authors’ experience in TRIZ application to politics.
In 1996 there was a President election campaign in one of the former Soviet Republics. The team of TRIZ specialists had been involved in the campaign as a Group of System Analysts and Decision-Making Support. The group dealt with strategic and tactical concepts, short-term prediction, modeling agitation supplies and solving all non-trivial problems, coming by (in management, in technical sphere, or in communication).
At the first stage of the election campaign the group consulted 2 competitors. It was possible due to a two-stage election system. Parallel consulting projects helped to apply TRIZ tools and methodologies more effectively and to compare the results.
The first client (here – competitor A or simply A) was an experienced politician and strong centrist leader. His goal was to win. The second client (here – competitor B or simply B) was a new figure on the political arena. He wished to present himself as well as his party as new political force. According to pre-election surveys he could get the 6th place at the best.
As a result of the 1996 elections the competitor A became the president, the competitor B got the third place and became a political sensation.
Here are several examples of TRIZ application to solving election problems.
Problem 1 “The Poster”
The team of the main opponent C (the former President) of our competitor A issued a poster that had been pasted in many places. The poster included the large portrait of C and political slogans. The portrait provided a great impression: the competitor C looked like a real Father of the Nation – one of the common people, but smart and wise. The poster was printed on a high quality paper. The edition was very large – in order to paste these posters all over the country. No other competitor (including A) had enough money to print so many expensive posters. Our actions were vitally needed.
The poster provided a big impression due to its overall high cost, but it should make a bad impression because it is too expensive (an average citizen was very poor).
Ideal Ultimate Result: the poster itself should make a bad impression.
Main Resource: lack of money.
TRIZ Operator “Counteracting the harmful effect” (fragment):
Neutralize the harmful effect with a countering effect [1,2].
The Solution Concepts:
It was suggested:
To print a leaflet on poor inexpensive paper (it should look handmade or as if it was manufactured on a primitive printing machine) including:
three short expressive phrases, describing terrible results of C’s political activity during his presidency;
three illustrations (simple drawings or photos) showing said phrases
on the bottom of the paper, in the middle – one large word
that should be seen from a far distance
A leaflet should be pasted near the C’s poster (the best position – under the poster)
A large edition is not required – if these leaflets would appear not in many places, people would discuss them more actively.
The whole action (printing and pasting) should be done very quickly, until the impression of C’s poster is still working.
The authors observed not only the implementation of their solution, but its consequences as well. The most touching was a sample of the leaflet, demonstrated to the authors by their neighbor as a real evidence of the voice of people.
Problem 2 “What to do with too many VIPs?”
Too many VIPs had accumulated in the staff of the competitor A. Most of them were bureaucrats of high rank with longstanding powerful connections. They wished to play important role in making decisions for A with no responsibility for the consequences of their suggestions, of course!
Those people couldn’t be avoided as they had some influence on the electorate. However, their propositions were ridiculous and couldn’t be utilized.
The main Resource of the VIPs was the ability to create documents
The classical way of resolving the contradiction in space by insulating the undesirable part within the system
The Solution Concept:
It was suggested to organize the “Political Council” for all those people as an element of the staff structure. Impressive title aimed to please a sensitive ego. VIPs were asked to prepare their suggestions to the national program of economic development. The “Political Council” was not limited by time or by any other restriction. Suggestions, if provided, were supposed to be selectively included into the program. VIPs were completely stacked in their respectable activity, and therefore, did not hinder the work of others.
Problem 3 “Too many VIPs again”
A similar situation to the problem 2 case had appeared in the camp of the competitor B. This time however it were the meticulous party veterans. They were very critical to a younger members of the staff (to all other members actually). They thus provided an additional tension to the stressful environment of the election campaign. On contrary to VIPs in the problem 2, most of those people had no selfish ambitions, they were active and honest citizens willing to do their best.
Main Resources of the particular group of people:
The Operator “Redirecting the Effect at Another Object”:
Focus the source of a negative effect on another object. That will protect the object exposed to the effect before.
For this purpose, try the following:
put the source closer to the object
transport an effective part of the source to the object
turn the source in the required direction
The Solution Concept:
The party veterans were assigned to “the critically important” task – to be on duty at electoral districts in order of revealing all offenses against the election law. This way everyone could be completely assured – the law would be observed! Those responsible people would not forget and would never be late. With their entire adherence to principles, they would check every voting paper and every transporting ballot box.
In a post-communist country with young traditions of democracy the task was really serious. Being not an ordinary procedure, but single party initiative, it required time for preparations: creating, dissipating and learning prompt instructions on how to identify offenses and legally deal with them.
Problem 4 “Undesired Meeting”
The staff of the competitor C, the main opponent of the competitor A, decided to call a meeting of C supporters at the Square of National Agreement.
The Square of National Agreement is the Main Square of the country. In the people’s memories It is associated with the most important historical events, in particular, with the announcement of Independence of the country. Therefore the candidate who calls a meeting at this place makes a deep impression on the people. It would look like as the whole Nation supports him. For that reason, this action is undesirable for the competitor A.
The following information should also be taken into consideration while solving the problem: to organize a meeting at the Square of National Agreement, one should get the municipal permission. According to the information received, C’s application was sent in time to receive a permission. In addition, municipal authorities were C’s supporters.
A meeting had to be called, because it had been approved by the Municipality and was perfectly organized. But it should not happen, as it could harmfully impact the rating of the competitor A.
Anticipatory Failure Determination method, part 4:”Prevention/Elimination of the Failure” .
The Solution concepts (fragments)
The resulting recommendations had been arranged into three main scenarios:
A. Preliminary measures
B. Direct measuresC. Measures of harmful effects reducing
A. Preliminary measures
To put the following question at the session of Parliament: The Square of National Agreement is a National sacred place. Is it permissible to call there any partial meetings or actions for any politician’s support?
To suggest and prove the resolution: any political actions on the Square, except All-National meetings, should be forbidden.
Competitor A should announce the initiative to organize the United National meeting with all Competitors present (at the same place and at the same time or earlier). In this case, C couldn’t refuse to take part in it or to go to his own meeting.
To leak the information about the preliminary measures discussed above and to prevent any actions in C’s staff related to the meeting.
B. Direct Measures
If preliminary measures would be not effective, it was recommended:
To organize a meeting of retired, poor and disabled people at the same time near the Presidential Palace (C’s residency). To demand C’s presence at the meeting as a politician, who was then responsible for the situation in the country.
To invite independent reporters to C’s meeting at the Square of National Agreement in order to get pictures and interviews.
C. Measures of Reducing Harmful Consequences
In addition to direct measures it was recommended:
To publish in newspapers and to show on TV the reports from C’s meeting. To attract electorate’s attention to the following:
it was a meeting of C’s supporters only
not many people attended the meeting
there were aggressive statements in speeches
there were aggressive actions or intentions demonstrated by B’s Supporters
To show and to publish the reports from alternative meeting.
Few selected examples of authors’ experience in TRIZ application to the area of political consulting was presented.
Here are some conclusions:
Our colleagues I. Kholkin, L. Novickova, V. Sibiriakov and others started using TRIZ for politics in early 90th. They collaborated with candidates into Parliament deputies, future mayors and governors. The consulting project provided by authors during election campaign 1996, was the first application of TRIZ to support top-level politicians – competitors for the country’s presidency.
Due to the systemic level of most TRIZ tools and methods (AFD, ARIZ, Operators, Separation Principles, Resources, etc.) TRIZ works in the political area as well and as effective as in industries. A slight “iron” touch does not bother anyone. On the contrary, it rejects psychological inertia and stimulates creativity.
The distinctive feature of the election consulting is quick application of solutions and visibility of their results. The Solution providers can see how their recommendations were used and estimate their effectiveness in the real environment.
Even when accepted recommendations are implemented partially, or in a most unsuitable way, the implementation would gain effective results, because TRIZ solutions are highly reliable and besides competitors don’t have solutions like that.
Authors would like to thank their colleagues Dr Victor Timoschenko, and Dr Vladimir Oleinikov., who were members of the consulting team and accomplished the project together with the authors.
We also wish to offer our special thanks to Dr Iouri Belski, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, for his interest and helpful suggestions.
Altshuller, G.S. 1984. Creativity as an Exact Science. Translated by Williams, S. NY: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.
Faer, S. 1998. Methods of Strategy and Tactics of Election Campaign. (in Russian)
Kaplan, S., Visnepolschi, S., Zlotin, B., Zusman, A. 1999. New Tools for Failure and Risk Analysis. Southfield MI: Ideation International Inc.
About the Authors
Vladimir Proseanic received an MS in mechanics from Kishinev Polytechnic Institute, Moldova in 1979. He became a student of Genrich Altshuller, the founder of TRIZ in 1981. Mr. Proseanic was one of the founders of Kishinev TRIZ school. He was CEO of the Kishinev company “Progress” – the first company providing professional TRIZ application to various areas. Mr. Proseanic solved more then 1000 innovative problems for different industries. He is also one of the most experienced TRIZ professionals in the field of TRIZ application to solving business and management problems. Mr. Proseanic managed several projects on TRIZ methodology application to solving problems for banks, in particular for information protecting systems and decision making support in revealing prospective investment directions. He managed the TRIZ application to decision making consulting in election campaign. Mr. Proseanic is a winner of SU National awards in science and innovation; he has 15 SU Author Certificates and authored numerous publications. He is currently the Project Manager and one of the leading consultants for the Ideation International Inc.
Svetlana Visnepolschi received an MS in electronics from the Leningrad Institute of Precision Mechanics and Optics in 1976. She became a student of Genrich Altshuller, the founder of TRIZ in 1983. Her early contribution to TRIZ includes the creation of the working algorithm for TRIZ Resources (together with B. Zlotin). She later pioneered various projects in the application of TRIZ prediction methods to the development of both industrial systems and business; included with that latter are the Moscow Stock and Commodity Exchange and the election campaign. Ms. Visnepolschi has been teaching TRIZ for more then 15 years; she authored a book and numerous publications. Since 1985, she has been providing development and application of the TRIZ-based Anticipatory Failure Determination (AFD) Methodology. Since 1997 she is the Project Manager for the Ideation International Inc. and the designer of Ideation AFD System software.
AUTHOR CONTACT INFORMATION
Vladimir Proseanic, TRIZ Scientist
Ideation International Inc.
Phone: (248) 366-8311
Svetlana Visnepolschi TRIZ Scientist
Manager of Anticipatory Failure Determination
Ideation International Inc.
Phone: (248) 366-8311