Sunday, November 15, 2009

TRIZ Café on November 11, 2009: Full of Energy

On Wednesday, November 11, 2009 we had another meeting of TRIZ Café at the hotel “Eindhoven”, at the outskirts of the city of Eindhoven. Since a primary goal of our TRIZ Cafe meetings is to bring together people who are interested in TRIZ to get to know each other and share knowledge and ideas, we did not have a fixed pre-set agenda except starting and finishing times and some presentation titles, and thus preferred to make our decisions “on the fly” depending on wishes of the participants.

In total, there were 20 participants representing 16 different organizations, including Delta Electronics, Evonik Colortrends, Sioux Embedded Systems, Stork Food Systems, Oce Technologies, Sensata, TNO Science and Industry, University of Twente, and smaller companies. There were more people on the list, but not everyone could make it.

In the beginning of presentations

Koen Arends (Stork Food Systems), Han de Ronde (Delta Electronics), Peter Vollard (Tedac)

After starting and 13:00 and spending approximately two hours for coffee/tea, meetings, talks, and introductions, we switched to the presentations prepared by the participants. First, I made a presentation about a link between TRIZ and Creative Imagination Development (CID). Although CID used to be a very important part of TRIZ education during the “Altshuller’s TRIZ era”, lately it has been paid less attention due to a general demand within industry for “fast learning”. But how are we going to solve complex creative problems without creativity? Thus I presented my vision of how CID techniques could be coupled with principles of “power innovative thinking”, and how these techniques could boost and develop further our innovative thinking skills and enhance the use of TRIZ methods and tools.

Valeri Souchkov (me) presenting TRIZ and CID

Next, Guido Giebens (Antrim, Antwerp) presented a board game “ANTRI3” which his company developed on the basis of TRIZ. The game uses many TRIZ concepts (such as IFR, Su-Field Modeling, etc. ) and is used to enhance creative teamwork during innovative projects. An idea of a TRIZ-based game is not new, but it was quite inspirational to see how a strategic approach to “walking towards a solution” was implemented by combining fun and “serious TRIZ”.

Guido Giebens (Antrim) presents TRIZ Game

Next, we decided to switch from presentations to something new, which we called “Express TRIZ Case”. In short, it is one-hour exercise on solving a real problem which is brought to the session by one of the participating organizations. During the session, all other TRIZ Cafe participants take part as well – and it does not matter if they are TRIZ newcomers or TRIZ professionals. One of the prerequisites of such exercise is that no one (except a problem owner) knows in advance what a problem will be.

We selected a problem brought by Stork Food Systems which was related to food processing industry. Of course, one hour is too short to go through the entire TRIZ process, but nevertheless we managed to use Root Conflict Analysis to quickly decompose the problem to underlying contradictions, and then inventive principles, Ideal Final Results, Modeling with Miniature Dwarfs, and inventive standards to propose a number of new innovative solution concepts. Unfortunately, we cannot tell more to general public about the problem and solutions found since all participants agreed for confidentiality – and as Koen Arends, Innovation Manager of Stork Food Systems said after the session, one or two ideas generated were of a high potential to be patented and implemented.

During "TRIZ Case Express Session": Thomas Dekker (Stork Food Systems)

I personally liked this session since it demonstrated the power of TRIZ to attack complex problems in fast and efficient way if we follow a predefined TRIZ process and let everyone present in the room to be involved. Although in the very beginning of the session, after formulation of the problem there were some attempts of brainstorming and directly jumping to solutions, it became very quickly clear that we actually, were jumping to a dead end. Therefore we had to stop it and drive audience along the TRIZ process – and it worked. As expected, most effective solution ideas emerged after we defined a core physical contradiction, operational zone and operational time (which one would never do without TRIZ). As one of participants from Stork Food Systems noted, that during the first 15 minutes of generating ideas with TRIZ, we reproduced one of the ideas to find which Stork spent three years (without TRIZ). Thus it was a clear demonstration how TRIZ could drastically help accelerating a process of finding high-quality inventive ideas.

After a short break, we continued with presentations. Dr. Wessel Wits (University of Twente, Enschede) presented a program and results of our two-week “full immersion” TRIZ Summer Course which was introduced this summer at the University of Twente. He also demonstrated some examples of problems which students were solving during the course and some new ideas of solutions found by the students (and the TRIZ Cafe audience really liked these examples). The course was quite successful and students rated it rather high comparing to similar courses. Wessel also announced the next course which will take part in the last week of June-first week of July of 2010. We plan to make this course open so if anyone is interested in joining, please let me know.

Wessel Wits (University of Twente)
And the last presentation of the day was made by Albert van der Kuij, business development and standards engineer from Sensata, Almelo. He shared his experience gathered during last 5 years of application TRIZ within the company focusing on how TRIZ can be embedded to projects, and focused on the links between Six Sigma, QFD and TRIZ. He also proposed his vision of how QFD, FMEA, TRIZ and Six Sigma’s DMADV process can be used at each step of new product development: from ideas conception to product supply.

Albert van der Kuij (Sensata)

In fact, we had more presentations on the list, but it was already after 20:00 – time to close our sessions. Therefore we postponed them to our next meeting, which will take place in early 2010. In the meantime we plan to use the LinkedIn group “Dutch TRIZ Community” for communication.

As a conclusion, I believe that our second TRIZ Café was a good step towards strengthening and expanding our TRIZ network. Modern TRIZ is not an easy subject to learn and use so we all need such meetings to share our knowledge and experiences, to get to know about new TRIZ developments and tools, especially from practical point of view. What I really liked was to see how enthusiastic and energized people felt during the meeting. I hope these energy and enthusiasm will stay with us and grow further.

Videos of presentations from the TRIZ Café will be shortly made available together with corresponding powerpoint slides. I will post to this blog and make announcement as soon as they are ready.

More photos from the event are available at  

I’d like to thank everyone who made our second TRIZ Café possible and hope to see you next time!

Our coffee machine. It had a very strange behaviour: all of a sudden it started to work and produce high-pitched noise... when no one was around. Definitely, an "ideal" coffee machine.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Articles on Thinking Skills

It has been a while since I posted to this blog. Anyway, just to keep you updated, there are two my articles published this month which belong to the category of what I call "Power Innovative Thinking".
The first article published by the Altshuller Institute:
And the second article by the Real Innovation:

Both articles deal with the ways we think. The first article focuses on highligting certain differences between "regular" and "innovative" thinking. It is important to note that I do not mean that "regular" thinking skills which I mention in the article are bad and have to be replaced by "innovative" thinking skills. Both types of thinking are needed. What I want to stress on is that usually our innovative thinking skills are underdeveloped, and if we want to learn how to become creative and innovative leaders, we should understand what the differences are and how we can practically develop these appropriate skills.

The second article presents one of the techniques developed by Genrich Altshuller to help moving out of the box when generating new fantasy ideas. But again, it is very important that this technique is not only for fantasy or science-fiction authors: it can be practiced by everyone who is willing to develop his or her creative imagination. I also teach Fantogramma as a part of my training course on Creative Imagination Development.

Please send me your comments if any, I am open to discuss both articles to move further.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Video: TRIZ Today

A one-hour video recording of my presentation "TRIZ Today" is available. This presentation was given during TRIZ Cafe meeting on June 17, 2009, in Amersfoort. This presentation focuses on explaining what modern TRIZ is. To see the video, please follow the link:

The video file should start playing automatically. If there are problems with viewing the video, a a stand-alone mpeg-4 file is also available for download at the same page as well as slides used in the presentation.

"TRIZ Fundamentals" course finalized

Last week the first part of the course "TRIZ Fundamentals" at the University of Twente was finalized. It included 80 hours of studying the TRIZ theory and practicing with modern and classical TRIZ tools. But in fact, it took more than 80 hours: since students spent their afternoons each day working on the assignments, it took them more time than was planned for some assignments - sometimes I received e-mails with questions from students around 22:00. It was probably my fault: I underestimated time needed for practical work since I used to work with professional audience - people who had experience with working under tight time constraints.

However looking at the results of the course, I feel very good. I'd say each assignment (in total, there were 9 different assignments for each group of students) was done quite well with nice presentations. And overall, each student evaluated the quality and usefullness of the course either "high" or "very high". It was my first experience of conducting such a lengthy course at the university; and frankly, such high marks were above my expectations.

Among the topics which students liked the most, were Root-Conflict Analysis, Inventive Principles, Inventive Standards. Almost everyone mentioned them in final evaluation sheets. Although all the students managed quite well with ARIZ, they found it less attractive (except the method of Miniature Dwarfs or Little Men). It is understandable: ARIZ requires long time of "playing" with different problem formulations and this process gets fuzzy sometimes, especially if a problem does not fit exactly the ARIZ format since the very beginning.

Students present results with ARIZ

During the next phase starting this fall, students will use knowledge they acquired to help with real-life innovative projects at companies: either solving a problem which requires an inventive solution, or participating in innovative product development with the use of TRIZ.

Monday, July 06, 2009

TRIZ Summer Course at Twente University

Today I've started a new offical course on TRIZ Fundamentals and Practical Applications at the University of Twente. The course is for B.Sc and M.Sc students of engineering and technical disciplines and has a new format: it is a two-week summer course (80) hours with later extension in autumn (additional 40) hours. Thus the course provides 5 credits for students in total (if they are successful, of course). Each day is split to two parts: lectures and practical assignments. Every morning, each group of students (3 persons per group) will present the results obtained during practical work a previous day. Both Tom Vaneker and Wessel Wits will assist me during the course.

The program includes general approach to modern innovation, TRIZ foundations, Ideality, Multi-Screen Thinking, Resources, Models and Trends of Technology Evolution, RCA+, Function Analysis and Trimming, Inventive Principles and Inventive Standards, Value-Conflict Mapping, ARIZ, Creative Imagination techniques and development of innovative thinking skills, evaluation techniques, aspects of TRIZ use and implementation, integration of TRIZ with other methods.

During the first day

Student present results of practical assignments

Thursday, June 18, 2009

TRIZ Café on June 17, 2009: Summary

In our highly dynamic and connected world, it seems to be a matter of top priority to stay connected. Especially it applies to those who are involved to innovation. During my 15 years of stay in the Netherlands, I have had numerous contacts with people who have interest in innovation and TRIZ, and many of them became users of TRIZ and some of them are even my "virtual" colleagues who help us to develop TRIZ further. However most of them do not know about each other. So our primary intention behind launching the Dutch TRIZ network was to bring people together.

Although we run in the past so-called "TRIZ days" here in Holland, their goal was mostly informative: to present TRIZ to newcomers. With TRIZ Cafe we are introducing another format: the TRIZ Cafe should become a place where everyone interested in TRIZ (even those who never worked with TRIZ) can meet in "real life" and exchange their experiences and stories. The idea of TRIZ Cafe is to create a meeting place of the Dutch TRIZ network. Definitely, the Dutch TRIZ network should stay open to anyone who is willing to join. It is not meant to be a "customer club", etc. - it is going to be an inspirational place for people interested in TRIZ. Why Dutch then? Because while living in a small country, we can enjoy meeting each other and work together without the necessity to travel too far, and that’s why we expect most of people visiting TRIZ Cafe will be from the Netherlands and surrounding countries.

About the event. After we had sent its announcement, about 60 people were interested in participating. However by the time of the event we had 15 people on the list. And at the day of the event we had 10 persons in the room representing different organizations: both technology and business. Well, as they say, "small but beautiful". I think it was a good number to start with because everyone could follow the same discussions and provide contribution.

Thus our first meeting took place on June 17, 2009, at the Hotel Golden Tulip in Amersfoort. A quiet and a nice location in woods within a couple of minutes of drive from a highway. During the first hour the participants talked to each other and enjoyed coffee and tea (it was supposed to be TRIZ Cafe!). Then I made a presentation labelled "TRIZ and Systematic Innovation Today". Instead of a standard introduction to TRIZ, I tried to show how TRIZ was originated, how it evolved, and what it is today. I also tried to show that today's TRIZ is not only limited to technological inventions, but can be quite effectively used in a business area as well. The presentation took about one hour. It was taped on video and soon I will provide you with a link where you can watch it. I guess it will be especially interesting to those who missed the event.

After a break we started "free-format" presentations by the participants. Dr. Wessel Wits, associate professor of the University of Twente (, presented a story about teaching TRIZ at the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design of the university and TRIZ-related work done by students within their M.Sc. projects. If so far TRIZ was introduced as a part of other courses, this year TRIZ will be introduced as a full 80 hours (with 40 hours of practice extension) course for B.Sc and M.Sc students. The university also plans to extend cooperation with local industries regarding TRIZ.

Next, Jan Gerritsen, Innovation Manager at GEA Grenco BV (, presented how innovation is being understood and implemented at his company. His presentation was very interesting and at the same time challenging. It caused many questions from the participants and the discussions, especially put from the TRIZ point of view, were very inspiring. As a result, we plan to create a "TRIZ Cafe task force" which will study how TRIZ can help GEA Grenco to boost and accelerate innovation.

Time was flowing fast, and soon we discovered that it was a moment to close the "formal part" of the informal event. At the end by the request of the participants I gave a brief overview of tools we currently use within the "xTRIZ" framework.

The evening ended up in the hotel's lounge with drinks and a dinner.

Summarizing, I really enjoyed the event, and especially the enthusiasm expressed by the participants. Even although some of them were new to TRIZ, they participated very actively and lively in all discussions. The result of the meeting was a decision to launch a LinkedIn group of the “Dutch TRIZ community” as a platform for virtual communication between our meetings. Thus if anyone is interested in joining, please check this LinkedIn group.

We have not decided yet when the next TRIZ Cafe will take place. Most likely it will be in October-November 2009. We will discuss it in the meantime and announce as soon as possible.

I would like to thank everyone once again who joined the meeting, and I am sure we gave a good start to further networking and cooperation.

There are some more photos from the event:

Introducing xTRIZ in Jordan and the Middle East

Last couple of months were pretty busy with travel and all kinds of activities leaving too little time to write about my thoughts, news and events.

My first visit to Amman, Jordan was in April 2008, where I run a 3-day public training for 25 representatives of Jordanian enterprises. I was quite surprised by the level of TRIZ awareness in the country and by a real drive of people to innovate. After that event, three more public training courses in Jordan followed up. Based on the success of these workshops, this year the Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship ( in cooperation with ICG T&C decided to establish "TRIZMatic" institute to further promote TRIZ, xTRIZ and Systematic Innovation in the region.

Graduating the participants of the training course in TRIZ, xTRIZ and Systematic Innovation for Business and Management in cooperation with QRCE on May 2-4, 2009.

On May 5, 2009, the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan (RSS, and QRCE conducted a one day conference on Systematic Innovation, where I presented a keyonote talk on TRIZ as well as two more specific talks on applications of TRIZ in technology and business areas. The event was visited by over 100 people.

During the conference: Prof. Abdullah F. Dwairi of Jordan University of Science and Technology talks about impact of TRIZ on product development

I am very thankful to Basel Kilany, Hussein Natsheh and Mohd Khawaja from QRCE, who excellently organized my latest trip to Amman (and all other trips as well!). And also my special thanks to HRH Princess Sumaya Bint El-Hassan and HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan who take promotion of TRIZ and Systematic Innovation in the country very seriosuly.
Right to left: me, HRH Princess Sumaya Bint El-Hassan , HRH Prince El Hassan Bin Talal.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Would you like to learn about the latest TRIZ and xTRIZ tools and updates? To meet other TRIZ and Systematic Innovation professionals, practitioners and enthusiasts? To discuss and share your ideas and experiences about TRIZ and Systematic Innovation in informal environment? Or to learn what TRIZ is and how it can be used? If you live or stay in the Netherlands or nearby, then you might like to visit our "TRIZ Café" event.

We plan to hold our next meeting on Wednesday, June 17, 2009 in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, from 14:00 till 19:00. The exact location will be defined as soon as we know how many participants and from where will visit the event. The meeting will involve both presentations by the participants and free-format discussions.

The cost of participation is Euro 50,- (excluding 19% VAT/BTW). It includes coffee/tea, refreshments, additional materials.

Additional TRIZ courses in Spring 2009

By request, I will run several additional public courses in May-June 2009:

  • May 2-4, 2009, TRIZ-based Systematic Innovation for Business and Management in Amman, Jordan (organized by Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship)
  • May 18-22, 2009, Advanced TRIZ for Technology and Engineering in Utrecht, Netherlands
  • June 2-5, 2009: Extended TRIZ-based Systematic Innovation for Business and Management, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • June 23-25, 2009, TRIZ-based Systematic Innovation for Business and Management in Athens, Greece (organized by ECO-Q Magazine).

Details are available at

Of course, if anyone would like to meet me if you are there at the same dates, just let me know.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Innovation Sources and Triggers

During my lectures and courses on TRIZ and Innovation, I am often asked, "What are main triggers which push people to innovate?". Thus I have tried to categorize main categories of such triggers for technical innovations:

Accidents - Many new inventions were created on the basis of unexpected discoveries, made both in science and technology. For instance, x-rays, penicillin, microwave oven, vulcanized rubber, even potato chips resulted from accidents.

Analogy - Many inventions resulted from observing nature and copying its principles. Leonardo da Vinci drew his flying machines and ships by copying nature. Composite materials, building structures emerged from observing natural systems. George de Mestrel invented Velcro fastener by studying why seeds of burdock kept sticking to his clothes and his dog's fur. Today such disciplines as biomimicry and biomimetics study principles of nature and copy them for technology use. Analogy is also often used by inventors to copy and transfer principles from one technical area to another one.

Problems caused by negative and harmful effects - probably, the broadest trigger of innovations. We do not want anything to fail or behave incorrectly so we improve things. We do not want car accidents so we improve cars, roads, even traffic rules. Very often we can only achieve a necessary improvement through innovation. Chassis of heavy planes would not be possible without carbon-reinforced materials; refrigeration of food prevents it from degradation. Think about ultrasonic distance sensors for car parking, non-breaking glass, traffic jams detecting and predicting systems, and so forth.

Performance barriers - they are created by the limits of principles of existing products and technologies. To break these limits, we need to invent a new product or a technology based on a new principle. A horse cannot run faster than 70 km/h, but a car can. The car can't run faster than 300 km/h, but a plane can. A wooden pointer cannot be longer than 1 meter (it can, but it will be useless), but a laser pen can project light much further. Computer memory in microchips has much higher capacity than memory based on vacuum tubes.

Hidden demands - there are plenty of them! Someone can be the first to recognize that a demand exist and respond by creating new products and technologies. Often new demands emerge as a result of demographic, cultural, social changes or introduction of new products to the market which create new needs. One of the common innovation practices today is to observe customers behaviour and identify functions which can be delivered by new or improved products.

Technology Diversification - when a known technology or a product (or its principle) is used in a new context, or a new market. For instance, when the first laser was invented it was thought to be used in spectroscopy only. Today lasers are used in a very broad range of applications. A computer has existed for a long time as a computational device, today it is a primary tool of communication, gaming device, music recording, and so forth.

Trends of Technology Evolution - they exist (check TRIZ). Many seemingly different technologies and products evolve in similar ways. For instance, one of such patterns is evolution of the degree of dynamics by segmenting an existing system or a product to several connected parts. Such pattern applies to situations when we have our product to be small and big at different times. For instance, a mobile phone: we want a large screen, convenient large buttons and at the same time the phone should be small to provide portability. A solution is a sliding phone, or a flip-flop phone. Now think about travel bag which we can make bigger by unzipping its part, telescopic rod for an umbrella, foldable bicycle, foldable tourist tent, foldable camping table, etc.

Scientific research, especially material research - today a major source of hi-tech innovations. Without it microelectronics would have not existed, and neither advanced materials like polymers, fine chemicals, new construction materials, new and more effective medicines, etc.

Cost-effectiveness - we always want more value for lower costs, and costs depend not only on production scale or using cheaper solutions which decrease quality. Innovations help to cut costs while preserving quality and performance or even increasing them. Many ICT innovations emerge from this source. Online meeting systems cut costs for travel. Other examples are voice communication via the Internet, plastics which are stronger but cheaper than steel, disposable mobile phones, reusable plastic bottles, and so forth.

Market competition – we should not forget this important trigger. Often there are no clearly visible problems or performance barriers related to our product or a system, but we know we must innovate to stay competitive. Probably, competition is a kind of meta-trigger which leads to the use of all above-mentioned triggers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TRIZ Future 2009 in Romania

As was decided during the latest edition of TRIZ Future conference, the next edition of the conference will be conducted in Timisoara, Romania, on November 4-6, 2009. Recently the conference organizers announced the official conference website:

The website provides further information and the first call for papers. Authors who are willing to submit papers should note that the deadline for abstracts is April 1, 2009.

Detailed Report on TRIZ Future 2008

Prof. Toru Nakagawa has recently published his personal report on the conference TRIZ Future 2008 which took place in November 2008 in the Netherlands. The report is available at his website, TRIZ Home in Japan by following this link.

As usual, the report is very detailed and comprehensive and I'd like to thank Toru once again for another great effort he did!