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TRIZ Futures Conf. Day 1 Afternoon

| On 03, Nov 2010

Ellen Domb

The opening session of the conference combined thanks to the organizers, led by Caterina Rizzi of the University of Bergamo, and a welcome from Stafano Paleari, rector of the university, with welcome and celebration of the 10th anniversary of ETRIA by Tom Vaneker, president of ETRIA. Tom announced that the membership meeting on Friday (open to all) will focus on getting more attention for TRIZ papers in the scientific / academic literature (send him your ideas through comments to this posting.) Pierluigi Petrali gave a brief outline of the work of H.E. Daly, “Economics in a Full World,” and used it to motivate the TRIZ audience to share knowledge and put the knowledge to work to make the resources of the world better available to all.


The plenary session was “How to formulate crazy problems” by Vladimir Gerasimov, translated by Sergei Ikovenko. What is a normal problem must be defined so that crazy problems are the others. He started with simple cartoons of a system, with some disadvantage, then a search for resources inside the system, and if that doesn’t work, search for resources in the supersystem, and if that doesn’t work, look farther away in other industries, other technologies, etc. But, if there are no solutions, the next step is feature transfer, also called alternative system design. Briefly, find a second system that performs the same function as the initial one, but without the defficiency of the original system (see the morning talk by Simon Litwin for how to look for these systems). These systems could be real, hypothetical (but possible) or unrealistic (contradicts laws of nature) but has all the needed properties. Crazy problems require making these unrealistic systems real. The fantasy system can be the source for resources that can later be implemented in the real world. Gerasimov’s examples were very real-world: position of a sensor in a nuclear reactor control mechanism had 2 impossible solutions, one with no friction and one with a negative height. Hybridizing these apparently impossible systems created a physically realizable solution that eliminated all problems. A second example was from the mundane world of industrial fabric dyeing, which requires both injection of fresh dye and removal of depleted solution. The impossible / crazy solutions require dyeing from the inside of the fabric, but there are no openings in the fabric tube. Gerasimov challenged the audience to develop their own solutions.


Seung-Heon Han from Korea started one of two simultaneous sessions (reminder – these are the notes about the sessions I attended, for the full program see www.etria.net) explaining the Samsung Electro-Mechanics division’s approach to TRIZ, and how it has evolved from 2001 through the present, through education and application to real problems, to the present situation where the CEO is now the leading TRIZ fan. In past conferences, Samsung has shared its mass teaching methods. This time S-H Han presented some of the results of all that TRIZ training, showing prize winning new designs for antennas and for high density devices, and also showing some of the policy changes that they have made along the path. The audience reacted very well to his demonstration (humorous!) of the problem of getting people to actually use TRIZ when they have :other: jobs to do. He used a Korean folk story of the sparrows passing through a water mill to illustrate the problem, and to explain their current system which uses TRIZ specialists working with subject matter experts in an on-line environment of a game, with rewards through a lottery to people who contribute ideas. No one has to motivate or persuade people to participate – the experts make the problem so interesting that people want to participate. The examples of electronic processing were very persuasive.


Daniele Murara and Alessio Tonetti from the Italian part of the global company Coster, producer of many kinds of valves, showed their implementation of TRIZalong with lean, helpd by D. Rizzi from the Bergamo U. faculty. Since very little has changed in many years in their customers’ world, they can only improve competitiveness by reducing either weight of parts or labor to produce them. The company has a very flat structure, with all workers having the same title. They have considerable experience with lean methods, and they started adding TRIZ a few years ago. They have a unique approach to TRIZ: “we produce ideas the same way we produce valves – each team passes its work on to the next at the end of the shift.” The case study was an example of real life in a manufacturing plant. Daniele showed several kinds of defects that can cause jamming of the production machine. Changes in the production line that appear simple (rolling instead of sliding, and an opening to remove defective caps) came from a detailed function analysis and operationl zone analysis, and made use of the resources that were already in the system. The multi-shift method of doing the analysis assured that people would be working on each shift who understood the method and the reason for the changes, at the cost of some inconvenience with transfers between groups. Personally, I think this paper was a high point, with a truly unique way of engaging employees in TRIZ and taking advantage of the knowledge, enthusiasm, and expertise of the employees.


Caterina Rizzi, conference organizer, then spoke in her University and local leadership capacities, on support for TRIZ / systematic innovation for small and medium enterprises in the region, to enhance the local economy. (This is a short report because the papers were limited to 10 minutes, not because of low interest.) With 2 meetings per month for 28 users, they already have 4 patents, 3 utility models, and 7 trademarks. The main problem is getting patent attorney services for the SME’s, and the next problem is to make this service permanent, since the experiment has been successful.


Viktoria Zinner presented “Understanding populations better than they understand themselves” based on the German modifications of Darrell Mann’s work on trends, based in part on the technology and business/social evolution concepts. Viktoria framed the work in terms of systematically identifying where to innovate, where to look outside the well-known box. She demonstrated the practical method of starting with a trend, then looking at other trends in conflict or in harmony with it, then using TRIZ to resolve conflicts, and she also showed the more analytic method of creating network maps and doing geometrical analysis of the map to find opportunities.


My paper planned for Thursday was given next, due to a speaker who missed a plane – – “Improve teaching TRIZ by leaving the classroom” will be published later this year in The TRIZ Journal. The main point is that if you focus on the learner, rather than the teacher, and structure the course using many of the concepts of modern education, you will take the class outside the classroom to learn from examples outside their own field, so that they will overcome their fears of application to their own work.


Jose Vicente addressed himself to the new TRIZ practioners in the group (and I’m sure to many teachers) with his “Rule of thumb for formulating physical contradictions.” He stressed the use of function analysis to describe contradiction at the function level, His examples of umbrella structures and milk processing were both memorable, and easily understood by people with no technological background, which will make them useful to many other teachers.His technical analysis of the coffee machine is a great teaching story.I suggested that if many teachers start using his method, we could plan a full session at next year’s conference!


Last paper from day 1 was John Cooke’s explanation of the tongs model (not an acronym, just referring to a device for holding something) of OTSM that first appeared in the1940s, and then recurred throughout the development of the various stages of ARIZ and OTSM. John suggested that it might be a good time to revive the tongs to make it easy for people to get started with TRIZ. The tongs model can be presented as a series of questions:
– What makes me unhappy in the present situation?
– What would I want if I had a magic wand, liberating me from all impossibility?
– What seems most impossible? How could I make that happen?
John uses the goldfish story (originally a Pushkin fable?) which starts with a fisherman being nagged by his wife to catch more fish. So, he tries, and by surprise, catches a talking goldfish, who offers to grant his wish if the fisherman will set him free. Long story, but the fisherman wishes for less than what his wife wants,who sends him back for more, and the students are able to use this example to explore the nature of wishing, of impossibility, and the idea of iterations of the MDR (most desirable result) John emphasised that the iterations are not trial-and-error, they are guided, structured, where the iterations are needed as the nature of the problem is progressively revealed.


After this full day, the groupwill climbthe steep streets of Alta Citta (high city) Bergamo to the site of the welcoming party at the hallof justice.