Monday, August 22, 2005



Triz is a Soviet developed tool for making the process of innovation easier. It was developed by examining thousands of patents to identify common strategies for new innovations, and under what circumstances those strategies were most likely to work. A more detailed explanation of Triz is given in these two articles. Basically, however, it can be thought of as a fairly comprehensive list of “things to try” when you run into a new problem.

Having this list handy saves a lot of time and effort over having to develop a new one from scratch. You can try it yourself at the Interactive Triz Matrix website. Because it is intended to be useful over a wide range of circumstances, the suggestions in the “things to try” list are very general. For example, if you wanted to make a bridge longer without decreasing the stress it can withstand you could select the “length of stationary” item from the improving feature menu and “stress or pressure” from the worsening feature menu. One of the suggested solutions is “change the degree of flexibility,” but it doesn’t get into the specifics of what construction material you should choose to accomplish that.

Obviously this is not a panacea or an automated invention machine, but it is a handy timesaver to have in your problem solving repertoire.

Update: If you like this post, have a look around the rest of the blog and see if you want to add it to your favorites.

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