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 (www.utwente.nl), 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 (www.geagrenco.nl), 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: