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TRIZCON2006 Report

| On 24, Jun 2006

By Ellen Domb, editor@triz-journal.com

The Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies, www.aitriz.org, held its annual conference “TRIZCON2006” in Milwaukee, WI USA, April 29-May3, 2006.
For the first time, this was a joint conference with the American Society for Quality, which was holding its 60th anniversary conference. Thanks to the hard work (and creative problem solving skills!) of Larry Smith, Richard Langevin and Bob King, the joint event was a great success. Larry is president of the Altshuller Institute, and Larry and Bob are both members of the Board of the ASQ. People were able to register for either conference and attend both, and several speakers appeared at both conferences. Dr. Tatiana Sidorchuk (with a lot of help from Nikolai Khomenko) was a very popular speaker at both conferences, since there is great interest in her specialty area of promoting creativity for children. (Note: The TRIZ Journal will have a review of their new book, Thoughtivity for Kids, by teachers and parents in the July issue.) Larry hosted a panel discussion by TRIZ Masters at the ASQ meeting, and Ellen Domb presented a TRIZ introduction and several case studies in the session on “New Tools for Architecture and Construction.”

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About 16 people from the ASQ session joined the 80 people from TRIZCON2006 during the variety of tutorial sessions on Sunday, and joint attendance reached about 150 for the main conference sessions.

The TRIZ Journal will reprint some of the papers from TRIZCON2006 in the next few months, and anyone who wants the proceedings can purchase them from the Altshuller Institute. Podcasts of the keynote speakers’ presentations will be available for the first time this year.

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William Brown from the Eli Whitney Museum gave an amazing presentation about their work with several thousand children whose creativity blossoms outside the framework of schools and curricula. The children themselves are the developers and producers of museum exhibits and teaching methods for other museums and programs all over the world. See www.eliwhitney.org for information.

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The organizational innovation at TRIZCON2006 was the formation of the Altshuller Institute’s research committee for TRIZ for children, chaired by Wes Perusek. (Shown at right, with Richard Langevin at left in the picture.) John Stamey got a website up during the conference, www.trizeducation.org, and will be reporting periodically through The TRIZ Journal and other channels (see the article in this issue.) Global participation is anticipated—the starting team has people from New Zealand to New Jersey to Europe and Central America on board, and more are welcome. Some of the team members gave talks on how TRIZ is being taught in their institutions, which showed a very interesting breadth and diversity of approaches.

Complaints? Of course. There were authors who didn’t show up. There were papers that were very weak (no new TRIZ insights, no new case studies). There were very few corporate participants, and even fewer corporate papers. There were consultants whose papers were frankly promotional of themselves or of their software. The hotel restaurant was under construction, and the creative solution of box lunches on Sunday didn’t seem so great by Tuesday.

But there were great papers—see Darrell Mann’s new work in this issue of The TRIZ Journal, for instance. And there were corporate case studies—thanks to Intel for letting T-S Yeoh publish his fascinating application of the 40 principles to ESD protection, also reprinted in this issue, and thanks to Dow Chemical for allowing presentation of Tom Kling’s case study on applying TRIZ to developing a new factory.

Readers of The TRIZ Journal know that I (hey, this is a personal report!) continue to urge people to attend conferences. Reading the papers or downloading the audio is not the same as meeting the authors and getting personal questions answered. Sitting at a table with 6 strangers and trading stories about how you first heard of TRIZ, and what you are doing with it, and what you plan to do next is a learning opportunity that can’t be replicated by any remote learning experience. As a TRIZ teacher, I encourage my students to participate in conferences, since they need to hear other people’s approaches and interpretations and case studies—they benefit from multiple teachers. The conferences will get stronger as more people from more companies and more educational institutions participate. Network theory tells us that the strength grows as N*(N-1), right?

See The TRIZ Journal Calendar for the next season of meetings in Europe, Asia, and Ibero-America. Then start planning for next April with the Altshuller Institute at TRIZCON2007!

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