2.4 TRIZ: A Theory of Solving Inventive Problems

Valeri Souchkov

ICG Training & Consulting, Willem-Alexanderstraat 6, The Netherlands

2.4.1 Introduction

TRIZ (a Russian acronym for the “theory of solving inventive problems”) was originated in 1946 by Russian military patent examiner Genrich Altshuller. His main focus of interest was to understand how inventors came up with creative solutions. To reach his goal, he studied more than 400,000 patents intentionally drawn from different areas of industries. Such massive studies helped Altshuller to capture the nature of the creative process behind producing inventions. He identified a relatively small number of high-order patterns and principles that complied with the majority of inventions and that were general for most industries (Altshuller, 1969). Another important TRIZ discovery was that technology, like any other type of human activity, does not evolve randomly. Each product in every area of technology follows a certain sequence of “inventive transformations” to meet continuously evolving market demands and requirements. Long-term studies of technology evolution revealed common patterns and trends, according to which seemingly different systems evolve. Studies of these trends and patterns form a large part of TRIZ that is known as a theory of technical systems evolution.

By now in total, more than 1.5 million patents and technological solutions were studied to create modern TRIZ. Although previously relatively little known outside ...

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