Tuesday, April 22, 2008

OTSM-TRIZ for Kids: Summary

Below is a summary and evaluation of the workshop "Using "Yes-No" Game and Riddles for Teaching OTSM-TRIZ and Various Regular School Subjects", conducted by Nikolai Khomenko in The Hague, 20-21 March 2008. This text was written by one of the workshop participants, Arjanne Boerendans. She kindly permitted to post her text to this blog. Many thanks, Arjanne!

After an introduction to Classical TRIZ and OTSM-TRIZ, Nikolai explained the basic concepts of OTSM-TRIZ in an educational context.

In “normal” life, the usual problem solving strategy is based on trial and error. However, this has a catastrophic effect on the way we solve problems, because it is very time consuming.
As we want a single solution (not many!) in the shortest possible time, we underestimate the amount of time it takes to find a satisfactory solution.

Instead, it is important to clearly frame the starting point, in terms of (system) environment, people, goals and constraints. Once the AS-IS situation is defined and shared among people, using problem solving tools is much more effective and solutions brighter.

In other words what we have to do is to become aware of our own psychological inertia and overcome its limits.

The problem solving process requires imagination; it involves specific knowledge and analytic and synthetic skills simultaneously with creative imagination and holistic approach; it is considered as a transformation of an initial situation into the description of a satisfactory solution. When facing a problem – when you don't understand something - it is not important to think about why things happen the way they do, but how. Thus, the challenge is to think of a way how to produce it. You have to learn how to pay attention to both details and the generalised level: zoom in, zoom out.

Education should be organised as a research game and team work. Additionnally, social activity takes place during communication. In the educational domain there are many applications of OTSM-TRIZ, not only for children, but for adults as well. Kids have almost no experience they can reuse and this can be a pro. Adults have to go through two steps: (a) remove mental inertia and (b) define the right “solution space” to investigate possible solutions.

The main goal of OTSM/TRIZ for KIDS is to provide kids with some hints and tips they can easily understand to narrow the space where the solution is, so that their search can be much quicker and more effective.

After the theory, it was time for PRACTICE.

We did some exercises to practice these abstractions in a very concrete way. The “Yes/No” game is the most powerful as well as easy game to play to develop the ability of thinking dichotomy. It stimulates people to ask questions that reduce the possibilities by half thus enabling them to find the solution much faster than by just guessing. Whether you play the game with numbers 1-10 in a linear game or with objects anywhere in the universe is of no importance. It depends on the kid’s age and capacities. Other games that have been practiced are riddles and story lines. It involves a lot of imagination, language etc.

The training has been a very good step after the introduction to the ideas of OTSM-TRIZ for Kids in November 2007. The participants have lots of ideas for the next steps in order to achieve the most desirable result: the availability of OTSM-TRIZ for every person.

Arjanne Boerendans