Monday, March 24, 2008

OTSM-TRIZ for Kids: Learning Power Thinking

Last Thursday and Friday, we run a workshop "TRIZ for Kids" led by Nikolai Khomenko in The Hague. The workshop was targeted at parents and teachers interested in incorporating OTSM-TRIZ components to improve kids education. It was certainly an inspirational event. Nikolai has been involved to developing educational programs on the basis of OTSM-TRIZ for kids during last 20 years, and certainly two days were just barely enough to cover some parts of the programs. For those who never met the term before, "OTSM" is a Russian abbreviation which stands for the "General Theory of Power Thinking" developed by Nikolai together with Genrich Altshuller, a founder of TRIZ. However unlike TRIZ, OTSM is not restricted to specific areas like technology or business since it targets at studying and uncovering a generic process of creative and innovative thinking regardless any specific area.

First, Nikolai introduced OTSM-TRIZ approach to kids education and developing thinking skills. The remaining and the largest part of the workshop was dedicated to interactive sessions on the basis of "Yes-No" games: teaching how to play the games (finding right answers as quickly as possible) using OTSM-TRIZ to ask right questions. This approach is based on several techniques: "thinking dichotomy" to narrow a possible search space; learning how to make "abstract-specific" thinking transitions to reformulate situations; and recognizing contradictions to construct exact questions. We also explored different types of "Yes-No" games, and a method for creating our own games. All the participants were enthusiastically involved to the process. Needless to say, they found that the method is not only useful for kids, and even if it can be played with kids of age as early as 3-4, we all can benefit from it.

The workshop was followed by a discussion how the material learned can be put to local educational systems and what next steps can be undertaken. We are really looking forward to new workshops in the nearest future.

Nikolai Khomenko explains the basics

During sessions

During creative breaks

Kids were with us, too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March 2008 TRIZ Newsletter

Our March 2008 TRIZ and Systematic Innovation newsletter is available at

In the newsletter: forthcoming courses and conferences, interesting links, recommended books, and the "principle of integration", one of 29 principles for creative innovation.