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What is TRIZ? 

Here's the basic idea. Genrich Altshuller, a Russian engineer who examined thousands of patents, found that over 90% of engineering/technical problems had solutions that already existed, but in some other domain, and therefore was inaccesible. The inventor or problem solver ended up reinventing a solution, which, if he had access to solutions from those other domains, he could have arrived at very quickly.

Altshuller analyzed all these patents and consequently categorized general classes or types of problems, along with general classes or types of solutions to problems of those types. We can use these general categories to classify a specific technical problem we face and then from there chose from several general categories of solutions; and from there move closer to a specific solution.

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for "Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskikh Zadatch". It is pronounced "treez"
The Art of Inventing (1994) by Genrich Altshuller a.k.a. Genrich Altov, a.k.a. Henry Altshuller; translated by Lev Shulyak and available from Technical Innovation Center, 22 Buckley Rd., Worcester, MA 06102. ISBN 0-9640740-1-X.


TRIZ is an elaboration on the above simple and fundamental strategy. Consider the folowing problems 
  • Removing stems from bell peppers
  • Removing shells from sunflower seeds
  • Cleaning filters
  • Unpacking parts wrapped in protective paper
  • Splitting diamonds along microcracks
All of these seemingly unrelated problems have in common a solution which is fundamentally the same: Placing some quantity of the product (peppers, filters, seeds, etc.) into a hermetic chamber; slowly increasing the pressure inside the chamber, then abruptly dropping the pressure. The drop in pressure creates a pressure difference inside and outside the product, which results in an "explosion" which splits the product.

For example, consider an engineer devising a method for opening nuts. He is likely to encounter the solution for shelling sunflower seeds, and thus the problem proves not too difficult. However, if the known solution exists, not in the food industry, but in the metallurgic or diamond processing industry, it is highly unlikely that he will find it. In this case, the engineer is unable to use an existing solution, and must spend time and money to "reinvent" it.

TRIZ compiles the human innovative experience and provides access to the most effective solutions, independent of the specific technological area or industry in which the solution was developed. To do this, the principle of abstraction is used. For virtually any inventive problem, a general (standard) problem/solution pair can be developed which does not include industry-specific information."

40 Principles (

TRIZ makes use of 40 principles to extract ideas.
  • Segmentation
  • Extraction
  • Local Quality
  • Asymmetry
  • Combination
  • Universality
  • Nesting
  • Counterweight
  • Prior Counteraction
  • Prior Action
  • Cushion in Advance
  • Equipotentiality
  • Inversion
  • Spheroidality
  • Dynamicity
  • Partial, overdone or excessive action
  • Moving to a new dimension
  • Mechanical vibration
  • Periodic action
  • Continuity of useful action
  • Rushing through
  • Convert harm into benefit
  • Feedback
  • Mediator
  • Self-service
  • Copying
  • Inexpensive short life
  • Replacement of a mechanical system
  • Use pneumatic or hydraulic systems
  • Flexible film or thin membranes
  • Use of porous materials
  • Changing the colour
  • Homogeneity
  • Rejecting and regenerating parts
  • Transforming physical or chemical states
  • Phase transition
  • Thermal expansion
  • Use strong oxidisers
  • Inert environment
  • Composite materials

TRIZ links

TRIZ software: CREAX: ; Simon deWulf: