TRIZ methodology to overtake contradictions
I’m sure it has happened to you. One day you have in mind an idea or a technical solution which you consider innovative and worth to implementing. And then when you start to dig a bit into it, unfortunately you discover that someone, somewhere, has already invented it. This simple fact has an explanation and implications.
Genrich Altshuller the inventor of the TRIZ methodology actually discovered a few interesting things about human beings and their inventing approach. First, as human being it seems that we all approach inventions in the same way. Time and knowledge make the difference.
To make such considerations he analysed hundred thousands patents of different inventors in different industry fields. He discovered that every inventor regardless his field of competence (Physics, Chemical; Mechanical, etc..) thinks in the same way and takes the same steps to solve the technical contradictions that may block his inventive approach.
Another thing is that any inventor, and therefore any “industrial system”, aims at the so called “Ideal Final Result” (IFR), an elegant solution that allows the product or the system to perform its duty without compromises. The simplest is the best I would say.
In order to achieve such perfect solutions inventors use “tricks” which allow them to overtake the obstacles or “contradictions”. He did an amazing job and clustered all those tricks plotting them in a table called “Contradiction Matrix” in which are present 39 parameters and 40 inventive principles (solutions) to solve contradictions.
This information triggers the inventor’s brain and expands the number of solution options. An example of a contradiction you may find in a project of a component could be “it must be small and it must be big”, “it must be short and must be long”, “it must be hot and it must be cold” or “it must be rigid and it must be flexible”. These are of course quite easy contradictions to solve in mechanics, but what about in the chemical field?
For each problem the matrix offers 3 or more possible solutions. Solutions that have been adopted by the most brilliant brains in the world over time. Of course the problem should be defined well and this forces the inventor to look at the problem in a pragmatic way. An invention can come from everyone if the brain is well trained.
Very interesting to read is his first book: “And suddenly the inventor appears”. A gold mine for engineering creativity.
Article by Emilio Sitta