Reading tip: TRIZ- The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

October 12, 2012

An ideal invention – this is the dream of every innovator. But how is an ideal invention defined and how can you develop one? According to one of the basic laws of TRIZ (Russian acronym for Theory of Inventive Problem Solving), an ideal invention is one that offers exclusive benefits and has no harmful effects. Thus, ideality is defined as the quotient of the sum of the system’s useful effects, Ui, divided by the sum of its harmful effects, Hj.

And so we end up in the midst of the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, a problem solving methodology based on logic and research that helps inventors and engineers in finding technical solutions. It was developed by Genrich Altshuller in 1946: Working in the Soviet Navy as a patent expert, he helped inventors to file patents, often assisting in solving technical problems himself. While studying thousands of patents, Altshuller began to extract standard methods for systematic thinking, developing a theory of inventive problem solving – TRIZ. Today the theory is applied by thousands of engineers and Altshuller is President of the Russian TRIZ Association.

In his book “And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared: TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving”, Altshuller offers 78 real problems on different levels of difficulty and invites the reader to apply TRIZ techniques in order to invent solutions. No worries – for those who spend sleepless nights in desperation: the appendix provides answers to the problems, following a summary of the TRIZ Theory’s basic laws.

So if progress seems to be blocked in your developer team, Altshuller’s book might be a helpful tool in order to regain your creative workflow.

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