A proven way of differentiating a product or a process is by patenting the concept/solution. There are few methods that can help in this pursuit…  a proven systematic approach and many unstructured approaches (person dependent).

For example, Thomas Edison (World’s greatest inventor) with help of his labs tried ~1000 experiments to invent improvised carbon filament and patented. Charles Goodyear tried to improve the properties of raw rubber by mixing chemicals like nitric acid, lime and turpentine until he finally got by accident a WoW moment when sulphuric acidic fumes enabled vulcanization of raw rubber and patented. Above great inventions and many inventions in the past were developed by using trial and error methods at an expense of TIME. In the present competitive world where robust pipeline of new/enhanced product offerings is a need to increase the market share, can Corporates/MSME/Start-ups afford to use above approach (knowing the fact that people change jobs) and be confident to develop technology in a predictable time frame?

An example: It took about a century to build USS Nimitz carrier (99K tonnes warship) from USS North Carolina (16K tonnes) that was accomplished by solving many contradictions through trial and error methods. Can the CENTURY long cycle be reduced to FEW YEARS? YES by addressing a critical challenge: to identify and solve right contradictions.

Humans inherently have biases in their thinking. One of the complimentary conditions that limit personal creativity is psychological inertia (PI)… Our idea generation follow habits cultivated or techniques worked earlier and thus limits our ability to think creatively. One way to overcome PI is to ignore your first solution and demand for a second one. This leads to another critical challenge: how to come with multiple WoW solutions that are simple and novel?

TRIZ, a Russian acronym for “Theory of  Solving Inventive Problems” developed by Genrich Altshuller, a Russian inventor, addressed above critical challenges. Altshuller developed a systematic approach, once understood and followed will enable everyone to be inventive.

Corporates like Samsung, General Electric, Proctor & Gamble, Intel, Hyundai, to name a few, have adopted this structured methodology in technology development and addressed above critical challenges with success.

How it works: Functions are the founding blocks for any engineered product. The basic function of telephone didn’t change since Graham Bell invented Telephone. TRIZ’s systematic approach starts with understanding present value of an engineering system by clearly defining functions of each component, their interactions, identify harmful and insufficient functions that are either to be removed/improved. This effort establishes a blue print for identifying opportunities towards improvement of an existing engineering system. Then the goal is to identify key disadvantages that helps us to define contradictions.

Technical systems are complex and consist of inter-related parts. Changing one part of the system may introduce a negative effect on the system’s other parts. In other words, an improvement in one part of a system that impairs other parts of the system, or to adjacent systems, creates a technical contradiction – and making an invention requires removing the technical contradictions. In other words, define an inventive problem by identifying a right contradiction that is holding the technology development.

By identifying and solving the right contradictions following the structured approach, everyone can come with novel solutions. Once a contradiction is identified, find relevant inventive principles and initiate ideation. In other words, we approach to get from task to contradiction, from contradiction to the method, and method to a solution. Then we can walk step-by-step from the problem statement to the answer.  

Critical differentiator of TRIZ is its ability to help identify and solve contradictions over other methods like Theory of constraints or Value engineering.

For an individual, TRIZ level 1 workshop establishes strong foundation to be an inventor:

  • Enables to develop multiple concepts by using the trimming concept through function redistribution – Any concept that is novel, non-obvious and useful can be patented; and trimming helps in removing components leading to Low product / service cost
  • Facilitates to go out of the domain through function oriented search – Adopting solutions beyond industry
  • Enables to identify contradictions and helps to solve them – win-win solutions that expand the technology envelope
  • Enriches system understanding and helps focused ideation – high quality idea generation
  • Empowers to overcome psychological inertia through multiple ways – Out of box thinking at any situation

For Corporates / MSME / Start-ups, TRIZ level 1 workshop helps in:

  • More product offerings in shorter time – Adopting systematic approach across the organization helps in low idea to product ratio. A study show it is about 3000:1 and varies from industry to industry.
  • Greater employee satisfaction leading to employee retention and culture development– Increases the organization value as it empowers every employee to generate novel solutions.

Who should attend this workshop? Any individual who has a desire to be an inventor / to create something newcan be from:

  • Functions like: Research & Development, Engineering, Manufacturing, System integration from below industries: Aerospace/Defence, Agriculture, Automobile, Aviation, Bio-technology, Chemical and Process industry, Consumer electronics, FMCG, Healthcare, Heavy engineering Equipment, Information Technology, Locomotives, MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise), Oil & Gas, Microchip manufacturers, Mining, Power generation & distribution, Transportation, and  Water
  • Business leaders / Entrepreneurs / Intrapreneurs
  • Innovation Consultants / Intellectual Property professionals
  • Academia

MA TRIZ certified TRIZ level1 workshops will be scheduled starting Jan. ’16. Fill the adjacent form if you want to be an inventor. http://goo.gl/forms/1FkoZK7IMi.

Tito Kishan Vemuri is the founder chairman of Association for TRIZ and Technical Innovation (ATTI), affiliated to ‘The International TRIZ Association’ (MA TRIZ). One of key charter of ATTI, is to inspire people to be inventors, enrich their knowledge with right toolkit and help in solving inventive problems by mentoring and through leadership without authority.