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What Is TRIZ?

"TIPS" is the acronym for "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving," and "TRIZ" is the acronym for the same phrase in Russian. TRIZ was developed by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the former USSR starting in 1946, and is now being developed and practiced throughout the world.

TRIZ research began with the hypothesis that there are universal principles of invention that are the basis for creative innovations that advance technology, and that if these principles could be identified and codified, they could be taught to people to make the process of invention more predictable. The research has proceeded in several stages over the last 50 years. Over 2 million patents have been examined, classified by level of inventiveness, and analyzed to look for principles of innovation. The three primary findings of this research are as follows:

  1. Problems and solutions were repeated across industries and sciences
  2. Patterns of technical evolution were repeated across industries and sciences
  3. Innovations used scientific effects outside the field where they were developed

In the application of TRIZ all three of these findings are applied to create and to improve products, services, and systems.

TRIZ works! Large and small companies are using TRIZ on many levels to solve real, practical everyday problems and to develop strategies for the future of technology. TRIZ is in use at Ford, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly, Jet Propulsion Laboratories, 3M, Siemens, Phillips, LG, and hundreds more.

The TRIZ Journal will introduce you to case studies, theoretical articles, TRIZ history, events (symposia andclasses) and book reviews to help you learn TRIZ. Use the archives to browse and search all the articles published since the first issue in November, 1996.

Also of interest:

I’m new to TRIZ. How can I start learning about it?

Classes: The TRIZ Journal Calendar lists public classes given around the world (a recent issue had classes in California and Michigan in the US, and in Mexico, Singapore, Belgium, and the UK.) In addition, editor Ellen Domb offers classes and consulting for organizations click here and several of our sponsors (top and right hand side ads) also offer classes.

Reading: The Products and Software page offers several books. For book reviews, go to the Archives page, and enter either the name of the book, or “book” to see all of them. In the US, many books are available from the Altshuller Institute.

TRIZ Journal articles: The TRIZ Journal has been published monthly since November 1996, and all the articles are still on-line in our archives. You can browse the whole archive navigating by date, and clicking on the month that you are interested in. Use the archive search engine for specific topics such as “tutorial” or the names of specific tools.

The easiest individual tool to start with is called the 40 principles, which can be used with or without the Contradiction Matrix. Historically, the principles are illustrated with examples from several different fields, to make it easy for students to understand them. We have lists of general technical examples, business examples, service examples, food technology examples, microelectronics examples, public health examples, … Start with the 40 principles tutorial and explore any or all of them!

Other tutorial subjects that will help you get started are

  • The ideal final result, or ideality
  • The system operator, or 9-windows tool
  • Case studies that show how the tools are used together

Does TRIZ apply to problem solving for business? I thought it was just technical! TRIZ has been used for over 50 years for technical problem solving, and over 20 years for business, management, and service problem solving.

What about using TRIZ for Technology Forecasting? I’ve heard about it, but nothing tells you actually how to do it!

TRIZ is so valuable for technology forecasting that none of the companies that are using it have been willing to publish their cases. But, we have tutorial articles, consultant articles, and university student projects. Start with archive and look for articles with the terms “evolution” and “forecasting” and “patterns” and “prediction.”

Should I subscribe to the TRIZ Journal, or just read it whenever I want?

If you subscribe, we send you an e-mail each month telling you that the new issue has been published, and a few of the highlights of the issue. We do not sell, rent, or otherwise share that list. The only other e-mail you will get from that list is on the rare event that there has been a problem with an issue, and we need to tell you about it so you won’t have to wait a month. If you do NOT subscribe, you will need to remind yourself to check the TRIZ Journal – our publishing schedule is the first Monday of every month, in California.