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Six Sigma Terms: What is TRIZ – The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving?

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TRIZ, also known as the theory of inventive problem solving, is a technique that fosters invention for project teams who have become stuck while trying to solve a business challenge. It provides data on similar past projects that can help teams find a new path forward.

TRIZ (pronounced “trees”) started in Russia. It involves a technique for problem solving created by observing the commonalities in solutions discovered in the past. Created by Genrich Altshuller in the former Soviet Union, the Six Sigma technique recognizes that certain patterns emerge whenever inventions are made.

Features of the Technique

Altshuller found that almost every invention falls into one of 40 categories. Each is an area where invention and innovation took place. They include areas such as weight, length and area of moving and stationary objects, speed of the object, temperature illumination intensity, ease of operation and ease of repair.

In practical use, a project team stymied by a challenge can use TRIZ to analyze a matrix of similar challenges and their solutions.

When TRIZ Is Used

TRIZ operates on the idea that someone, somewhere, likely came up with a solution for the challenge you currently face or something similar. Another guiding principle is that contradictions should not be accepted, but rather resolved.

It also provides an answer for those concerned that Six Sigma stifles innovation . TRIZ encourages innovation. As pointed out in a paper on TRIZ conducted by researchers at the University of Belgrade and Metropolitan University in Serbia, not all solutions involving Six Sigma can be found in the process itself.

This “inhibits the ability to identify the control variables. In this case, a methodology that can solve the problem outside of the process boundaries, such as TRIZ, is necessary,” the researchers wrote.

Essentially, TRIZ offers a sophisticated, effective tool for clearing roadblocks.

The Benefits of TRIZ

TRIZ works best in situations where other Six Sigma tools have not accomplished the task. It provides another way to find solutions during the improve phase of the Six Sigma technique DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) or the design phase of DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify).

TRIZ allows project teams to globalize an issue and find examples of how people have solved similar challenges. It’s a bit like the old saying, “There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.” It’s possible that teams won’t have to develop a solution on their own, because it’s already been done. On the other hand, knowing the possible combination of the 40 categories that might apply to a specific issue can also spark new ideas.

How TRIZ Works and Examples

TRIZ translates problems from the specific to the generic. It then compares the current challenge with 40 different inventive solutions. This is because in his research, Altshuller found that:

  • Problems and solutions repeat across industries and sciences.
  • Patterns of technical evolution repeat across industries and sciences.
  • Innovations used scientific effects outside the field where they were developed.

It also supplies potential solutions to apparently contradictory issues, such as wanting a more powerful engine that is lighter or wanting something to both operate faster and more accurately.

Most examples for TRIZ involve solving engineering issues, such as the invention of a new type of self-heating container as detailed by TRIZ Journal or creation of automation that can handle the simultaneous filing of 10 interlinked plastic cups with paint.

theory of inventive problem solving meaning

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The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

Solving problems creatively using the triz method.

TRIZ, The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, is by definition a theory used for solving problems creatively and represents a new way of thinking about and approaching innovation based on the objective nature of technological analysis .

According to TRIZ, universal principles of creativity form the basis of innovation. TRIZ identifies and codifies these principles, using them to make the creative process more predictable. Part of solving problems creatively, then, is finding existing solutions that can be adapted to the specific problem.

Creating value

With TRIZ, we improve the performance of our technological products and processes in UMBRAGROUP, reducing costs and waste by analyzing a specific problem, abstracting it as a general problem of a principle, identifying models for solving the problem using the TRIZ problem-solving principles, and lastly, applying the most effective solution to the initial problem. The fundamental steps of the TRIZ method are:

  • defining the specific problem;
  • finding the corresponding generalized TRIZ problem;
  • finding the generalized solution to the generalized problem;
  • adapting the generalized solution to the specific problem.

We also use TRIZ to generate new ideas and products, to meet client requirements, and in market research. When generating ideas with the TRIZ method, people from all areas of the company are involved, not just those in engineering or sales. In this way, it is a powerful method that encourages thinking outside the box and facilitates team building within the Group .

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theory of inventive problem solving meaning

Discover the Power of The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ)

Updated: March 4, 2023 by Ken Feldman

theory of inventive problem solving meaning

Sometimes you really need to look at problems in a creative and innovative manner. TRIZ is a problem-solving approach that fosters invention for project teams who have become stuck while trying to solve a business challenge.  

TRIZ (Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadach) is a problem-solving methodology that was developed in the former Soviet Union by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the mid-20th century. TRIZ is a system of tools and techniques for innovation and inventive problem-solving, based on the analysis of millions of patents across different industries and disciplines.

Overview: What is TRIZ? 

TRIZ was developed by the Soviet inventor and science fiction writer Genrich Altshuller and his associates. He started developing TRIZ in 1946 while doing work for the Soviet Navy . His job was to help with the development of invention proposals, document them, and to prepare applications to the patent office. He realized that a problem requires an inventive solution if there are unresolved contradictions created when improving one parameter negatively impacts another.

TRIZ is based on the idea that there are universal principles of innovation that can be learned and applied to any problem, regardless of the field or domain. TRIZ aims to help individuals and organizations to systematically identify and overcome contradictions or obstacles in their systems or processes, in order to achieve better performance, efficiency, and effectiveness.

The TRIZ methodology is composed of several stages, which include problem formulation, analysis, ideation, and evaluation. TRIZ provides a set of techniques to help individuals and teams to identify and resolve contradictions, such as the contradiction matrix, the 40 principles, and the separation principles, among others.

TRIZ has been used by many organizations around the world, including Samsung, Intel, and Procter & Gamble, to improve their products and processes, and to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.

5 benefits of TRIZ 

TRIZ offers several benefits to individuals and organizations, including:

1. Improved problem-solving  

TRIZ provides a systematic approach to problem-solving that helps to identify the underlying causes of a problem and to generate innovative solutions that are more effective, efficient, and elegant.

2. Increased creativity  

TRIZ provides a set of tools and techniques for ideation and creativity, such as the contradiction matrix, the 40 principles, and the separation principles, among others. These tools can help individuals and teams to break free from conventional thinking and to generate novel ideas.

3. Reduced time and cost  

TRIZ can help to reduce the time and cost of innovation by providing a systematic approach to problem-solving that is based on the analysis of millions of patents across different industries and disciplines. This can help to avoid reinventing the wheel and to leverage existing knowledge and solutions.

4. Enhanced innovation  

TRIZ provides a framework for innovation that is based on the identification and resolution of contradictions or obstacles in a system or process. This can help to create new products and services, to improve existing ones, and to develop new business models and strategies.

5. Increased collaboration  

TRIZ provides a common language and framework for problem-solving that can help to foster collaboration and communication between individuals and teams from different disciplines and backgrounds. This can help to break down silos and to create a more innovative and collaborative culture.

Why is TRIZ important to understand? 

TRIZ is important to understand for several reasons:

Improved problem-solving

TRIZ provides a systematic approach to problem-solving that can help individuals and organizations to identify and resolve contradictions or obstacles in their systems or processes. This can lead to more effective and efficient solutions.

Competitive advantage  

TRIZ can provide a competitive advantage to individuals and organizations that can use the methodology to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. This can help to create new markets, to improve existing products and services, and to increase profitability.


TRIZ helps model problems that are not well defined into a specific problem that can be solved by any engineer.

An industry example of TRIZ 

An automotive company had a product innovation need related to the gas cap, so they brought a team together and used TRIZ to develop an innovative solution.

First, they generated a problem statement. Multiple customer complaints state that gas caps are hard to install, easy to forget, make your hands smell like gas, and make the check engine light appear if not properly closed.

Next, they generated a conflict statement. We want to make it easy to add gas to the automobile but not at the expense of safety and functionality.

The team went to the contradictions matrix and selected the contradictions from the list of 39 that best fit the conflict statement. They then set the contradictions. First, the feature to improve. Next, the feature to preserve. Next, they narrowed down the relevant Inventive Principles. The Contradictions Matrix pointed to applicable Inventive Principles based on the contradictions above

Finally, they expanded the 3-4 Inventive Principles and brainstormed solutions. The solution was to use a spring-loaded flap in the fill nozzle. The flap seals the fuel tank in place of the gas cap.

6 best practices when thinking about TRIZ 

Here are some best practices for using TRIZ effectively:

1. Clearly define the problem  

Before applying TRIZ, it is important to clearly define the problem or challenge that needs to be solved. This includes understanding the root cause of the problem, the desired outcome, and any constraints or limitations.

2. Use a systematic approach  

TRIZ provides a systematic approach to problem-solving, and it is important to follow this approach to ensure that all aspects of the problem are considered. This includes defining the problem, analyzing the problem, generating ideas, evaluating the ideas, and implementing the solution.

3. Collaborate with others  

TRIZ is best used in a collaborative environment, where individuals with different perspectives and experiences can contribute to the problem-solving process. This can help to generate more diverse and innovative solutions.

4. Leverage the TRIZ tools and techniques  

TRIZ provides a range of tools and techniques that can be used to generate innovative solutions, such as the contradiction matrix, 40 inventive principles, and separation principles. It is important to be familiar with these tools and techniques and to use them appropriately in the problem-solving process.

5. Apply TRIZ to a variety of problems  

TRIZ can be applied to a wide range of problems, including technical, business, and organizational problems. By applying TRIZ to a variety of problems, individuals and organizations can develop a deeper understanding of the methodology and how it can be used to generate innovative solutions.

6. Continuously improve the problem-solving process  

Like any methodology, TRIZ can be improved and refined over time. It is important to reflect on the problem-solving process and to identify areas for improvement. This can help individuals and organizations to become more efficient and effective in using TRIZ to solve problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about TRIZ

What is triz .

TRIZ is a problem-solving methodology that was developed in the former Soviet Union by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the mid-20th century. TRIZ is based on the analysis of millions of patents across different industries and disciplines and provides a set of tools and techniques for innovation and inventive problem-solving.

What are the benefits of TRIZ? 

TRIZ offers several benefits, including improved problem-solving, increased creativity, reduced time and cost, enhanced innovation, and increased collaboration.

How does TRIZ work? 

TRIZ works by using a systematic approach to problem-solving that is based on the identification and resolution of contradictions or obstacles in a system or process. TRIZ provides a set of tools and techniques for ideation, such as the contradiction matrix, the 40 principles, and the separation principles, among others.

What problems can TRIZ solve? 

TRIZ can be applied to a wide range of problems, including technical, business, and organizational problems. TRIZ can be used to identify and resolve contradictions or obstacles in a system or process, leading to more effective and efficient solutions.

Who can use TRIZ? 

TRIZ can be used by individuals and organizations of all sizes and in all industries. TRIZ is particularly useful for engineers, scientists, and researchers who are looking to solve technical problems, but it can also be used by business professionals and entrepreneurs who are looking to develop new products or services.

What is the difference between TRIZ and other problem-solving methodologies? 

TRIZ is unique in that it provides a set of universal principles of innovation that can be learned and applied to any problem, regardless of the field or domain. TRIZ is based on the analysis of millions of patents across different industries and disciplines and provides a systematic approach to problem-solving.

Can TRIZ be combined with other problem-solving methodologies? 

Yes, TRIZ can be combined with other problem-solving methodologies, such as Six Sigma or Lean, to provide a more comprehensive approach to problem-solving. By combining different methodologies, individuals and organizations can leverage the strengths of each approach to solve complex problems.

Wrapping up TRIZ

TRIZ (pronounced TREEZ) is the Russian acronym for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. This proven approach to solving technical problems began in 1946 when Genrikh Altshuller, a Soviet engineer, inventor, and writer, studied thousands of patents and noticed certain patterns. From these patterns he discovered that the evolution of a technical system is not a random process but is governed by certain objective laws. These laws can be used to consciously develop a system along its path of technical evolution – by determining and implementing innovations .

TRIZ works best in situations where other Six Sigma tools have not accomplished the task. It provides another way to find solutions during the Improve phase of the Six Sigma technique DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) or the design phase of DMEDI (define, measure, explore, develop, implement).

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Ken Feldman

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TRIZ is a systematic approach for understanding and solving any problem, boosting brain power and creativity, and ensuring innovation. 

We regularly run live webinars to provide an overview of TRIZ processes and tools, register for free to find out more?

theory of inventive problem solving meaning

Watch with German subtitles /  Mit Deutschen Untertiteln >>

The Origins of TRIZ

Beginning in 1946 and still evolving, TRIZ was developed by the Soviet inventor Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues. TRIZ in Russian = Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch or in English, The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. Years of Russian research into patents uncovered that there are only 100 known solutions to fundamental problems and made them universally available in three TRIZ solution lists and the Effects Database .

Through enabling clear thinking and the generation of innovative ideas, TRIZ helps you to find an ideal solution without the need for compromise. However it is not a Theory - it is a big toolkit consisting of many simple tools - most are easy to learn and immediately apply to problems. This amazing capability helps us tackle any problem or challenge even when we face difficult, intractable or apparently impossible situations. 

TRIZ helps us keep detail in its place, to see the big picture and avoid getting tripped up with irrelevance, waylaid by trivial issues or seduced by premature solutions. It works alongside and supports other toolkits, and is particularly powerful for getting teams to work together to understand problems effectively, collectively generate ideas and innovate.

Developed by Oxford Creativity, Oxford TRIZ™ is simpler than standard or classic TRIZ. Its tools and processes are faster to learn and easier to apply. Oxford TRIZ is true to classic TRIZ (neither adding nor removing anything) but it delivers: 

More powerful results

Faster and easier ways to learn and apply triz, step-by-step processes for applying triz toolkits, 'at a glance' understanding, supported by our hallmark commissioned cartoons (from clive goddard), philosophy of making every session effective, efficient and fun, gap-filling where other toolkits fall short.

TRIZ enthusiasts who have failed to use TRIZ effectively or to embed TRIZ into their organisations hail Oxford TRIZ as revelatory.

Very impressed with how Oxford Creativity has been able to create a methodology for applying TRIZ that can be widely used.

"I have learnt new and powerful ways of looking at problems differently to come up with new and viable solutions. It is a toolset that I think all engineers would find useful. "

Michelle Chartered (Aeronautical) Engineer

Join one of our free webinars to learn more about TRIZ, its tools and how they can help you create innovative solutions to your problems.

Alternatively, sign up for Oxford TRIZ Live - Fundamental Problem Solving, our new online course that will give you a solid foundation in TRIZ concepts, tools and techniques and get you using them from day one.

History of TRIZ 

How did triz start who was the founder altshuller.

It seems unfair that the work of Altshuller, perhaps one of the greatest engineers of the twentieth century remains quite obscure; especially as the his powerful findings enhances and transforms the work of managerial and technical teams in most countries of the world. He was a remarkable and charismatic man who innovated innovation and inspired many, as an inventor, teacher, and science-fiction author (Altov). The stories about Genrich Saulovich Altshuller (1926-1998) founder of TRIZ,  derive mostly from those who worked with him, a community of Jewish intellectuals from Ukraine, Russia, and other countries once part of the Soviet Union. Many of these left Russia when they could, in the early 1990’s, taking TRIZ with them, to reach business and technical communities all over the world. Although TRIZ is a Russian acronym*, in today’s troubled world it is worth emphasising that TRIZ is much more Zelensky than Putin – as it was developed in a Siberian Gulag by those who stood up to Stalin.

Altshuller's groundbreaking work in the field of creative problem-solving derives from analysing the patent database and identifying and sharing the patterns of success in the world’s published knowledge. This is unlike most other creative techniques which cluster round brain prompts to improve brainstorming. TRIZ contains all these too, but they seem less significant than the power of the unique solution techniques uncovered by the TRIZ community in the last century.

Altshuller’s life

Genrich Saulovich Altshuller was bought up in Baku, Azerbaijan, but was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on October 15, 1926, at those times both countries were a part of the Soviet Union. Just too young to serve in World War II, Altshuller was patenting his inventions from 1940 when he was just 14.  He trained as a diver and electrician and later at the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute in Baku. Altshuller joined the Soviet Navy as a mechanical engineer in his early twenties and worked in the Baku patent department, interacting with the Caspian Sea flotilla of the Soviet Navy where, as in all wars, creativity and invention flourished; this had a profound impact on his thinking and future endeavours. It was here that he began to formalize his Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, together with his colleague Raphael Shapiro. TRIZ was born out of the pair's aspiration to create a systematic approach to problem-solving that could replace the hit-or-miss strategies often used by inventors.

Altshuller’s genius observation of the frequent occurrence of identical solutions in different industries

Altshuller ’bottled’ the inventive process. He identified how frequently inventors duplicate each other’s work as they unknowingly reinvent the wheel. They fail to recognise that their efforts are repeating work already achieved (and documented), because their results are published in their own specialist technical language. Altshuller could see how science and engineering (by this time segmented and specialised) had become a ‘Tower of Babel’** because each discipline had its own different technical jargon. It was as if there were now many tribes in technology, with their own tribal language, which they used to write their papers and patents; (Chemists spoke chemistry and physicist spoke physics etc.). Altshuller showed that by stripping out details (which removed most technical jargon) both the problems being solved and their answers were revealed. This research showed that there are only about 100 fundamental ways to solve any problem. Altshuller and his teams gave these ‘ hundred answers to anything’ in three overlapping lists which show us how to:-

  • Resolve contradictions (40 Principles)
  • Invent future Products (8 Trends)
  • Deal with Harms, boost insufficiencies and measure or detect (76 Standard Solutions)

These concept solutions underly all inventive problem-solving and they help us solve particular problems  through using the TRIZ Contradiction Matrix and Separation Principles and TRIZ Function Mapping. Also there is the TRIZ Effects Database which answers ‘how to’ questions – so if we wanted to know how to ‘change viscosity’ it would show us all published ways and give an explanation of each. (see )

Development of TRIZ:

Altshuller and his TRIZ community created their database of technical problems and solutions from various industries by undertaking an exhaustive study of patents, scientific literature, and innovation history. TRIZ  ‘uncovered’ all the ways humankind knows to tackle tough challenges and was a vast collaboration of many (including Rafael Shapiro) to formalise the TRIZ methodology by identifying patterns and principles common to all successful inventive solutions. TRIZ aimed to stop needless time-wasting duplication by providing a systematic approach to enable anyone to overcome problems and recognise and resolve contradictions, deal with harms and barriers in their work.

Once built the TRIZ foundations were their gift to the world distilling a vast store of human wisdom into the 3 simple lists of TRIZ concepts. Some erroneously describe TRIZ as complicated because it derives from more rigour and research than all other toolkits put together, but its power is its logical steps and simplicity. It is as easy as learning chess - each tool is can be quickly understood to see how it can be ‘played’ in specific ways – the challenge is knowing how to combine the tools together. There are as many solutions to problems as outcomes in chess – mastering both takes quick learning (and talent?) and then as much practice as possible.

Soviet Suppression:

Despite its immense potential, TRIZ was not initially well-received by the Soviet government, Altshuller's claim that scientists and engineers duplicated each other’s work  was unacceptable "non-conformist" thinking, and TRIZ was initially labelled as "bourgeois pseudoscience." Altshuller, along with several of his colleagues, often faced oppression, and their work was kept underground in several different periods. By the late 1940s Altshuller was arrested on political charges and spent time in the infamous Vorkuta Gulag in the Russian Arctic before being released in 1954 (after Stalin’s death). On his arrest the KGB ‘interviewed’ his widowed mother, killing her by pushing her from the balcony of her flat. Despite these setbacks, his determination to pursue his theories did not wane even in the Gulag which he described as his university of life.

Upon his release, Altshuller returned to his work with renewed vigour, working through thousands of patents, extracting their patterns of problem-solving into the TRIZ lists, and also uncovering the contradiction toolkit and the other creative concepts essential to tackling problems such as the Ideal and  Ideality, Thinking in Time and Scale (9 boxes) plus many other tools for idea generation.

Recognition and success

Altshuller's determination prevailed, and in the 1960s, he managed to publish some of his TRIZ-related works. He also conducted lectures and workshops to disseminate the principles of TRIZ across the Soviet Union and beyond. His community expanded to include school children from his fortnightly TRIZ comics and his most famous book ‘And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared’. His ideas gained traction among engineers, leading to the formation of TRIZ associations and study groups. After 1990 the political reforms which swept the Soviet Union and its territories enabled TRIZ to surge in popularity and recognition. Altshuller's efforts were finally acknowledged, and he received numerous awards and honours for his groundbreaking work.

TRIZ Today?

Genrich Altshuller's legacy lives on through TRIZ, which continues to influence problem-solving and innovation processes worldwide. TRIZ has been integrated into various industries, including engineering, product development, and management, allowing practitioners to find inventive solutions efficiently. It has proved an essential innovation toolkit in countries like South Korea, China and Japan where they have moved to the top of Patent league tables, pushing aside counties like the UK where there is no official or university take up (exceptions include the universities of Imperial and Bath). However one the world’s leading TRIZ consultancies is based in the UK and created the popular Oxford TRIZ TM.   Russian TRIZ development seems to be detailed and complicated (the opposite of TRIZ simplicity)

Altshuller's Legacy

Altshuller’s income derived more from his writings than his TRIZ work because he made TRIZ free to the world and public domain. Altshuller published so many books, articles, and scientific papers, which inspire  and clarify the thinking of generations of inventors, innovators, and problem-solvers. In his later years he developed Parkinson’s disease, and he worked on sharing all the habits of geniuses and his last book was called ‘How to be a genius or heretic’ and he died on September 24, 1998, in Petrozavodsk, Russia. Altshuller's work has influenced numerous fields, including engineering, business strategy, and software development. Despite TRIZ being less known than other toolkit , his impact on the world remains undeniable if still largely under-appreciated. The power of TRIZ for boosting genius brain power, inventive problem-solving and innovation could change the world for the better if only it was known and accepted everywhere.

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TRIZ – The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving

Posted by Tanner Zornes

TRIZ - Theorey of Inventive Problem Solving

TRIZ is a Russian acronym for The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. TRIZ began in the 1940s by a soviet engineer named Genrich Altshuller. He recognized technology advancements follow a systematic and natural progression. As a result, Genrich invented TRIZ creating common solutions that can be re-deployed to business problems to specific improvements. The 40 Principles of TRIZ is like the old idiom, “don’t reinvent the wheel.” 

In other words, there are hundreds of really smart inventors that lived before today. TRIZ takes what is already created, adapts, and deploys it to solve today’s problems. Moreover, TRIZ uses tables of inherent contradictions and innovation principles, not trial in error to reform the design challenge and remove physical contradictions.

theory of inventive problem solving meaning

  • By this point in the DMAIC methodology, you should have a solid understanding of the problem that needs to be solved.
  • Find the TRIZ General Problems that match your specific problem
  • Identify which general solutions of TRIZ best applies to your specific problem
  • Lastly, apply the general solutions to your specific problem

Applying TRIZ

TRIZ works best in situations where other Six Sigma tools have not worked. Think of it as another way to find solutions that exist outside the normal process boundaries. You could make use of it during the Improve phase of the Six Sigma technique DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) or the design phase of DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify). ( reference )

As part of your Six Sigma preparation, you are not expected to memorize all 40 principles. Rather, you should be familiar with each TRIZ principle in order to recognize answers on the exam. With that said, each of the below principles have been paired with a brief explanation and examples.

Principle 1: Segmentation

theory of inventive problem solving meaning

Divide an object into similar section to add value to the product.

  • Different sized cutting guards on hair clippers.
  • Focal lenses on a camera

Principle 2: Taking Out or Extraction

Take out the unnecessary portions of a product or extracting the most necessary portions. As a result, the product becomes streamlined.

  • Self check-in apps for dining-in restaurants (taking out long wait times)
  • Music playing in restrooms (without the actual musicians)
  • Take out lactose in milk and the result is a allergy-friendly milk

Principle 3: Local Quality

Adjust item properties to fit user/application requirements.

  • Ergonomic keyboards
  • Pens with erasable ink

Principle 4: Asymmetry

Modify an object from a balanced state to an uneven state. Though contrary to nature, asymmetry adds value to a variety of products.

  • Water bottles (small spout for easy drinking, large base to hold water)
  • Pencil Grips

Principle 5: Merging, Consolidation, or Combining

Combine concepts, items, or systems with those of similar properties. Consequently, the objective becomes more lean.

  • Printers that can print in color and black and white
  • Roofers that put up Christmas lights during the winter season

Principle 6: Universality

Consolidate parts of an object into one singular function. With this in mind, the product receives a wider application of use.

  • A tablet compared to a laptop when you are on the go.
  • USP drivers verses CDs or floppy disks.

Principle 7: Nested Doll

Similar to Russian nesting dolls, objects fit inside each other. This allows for space consolidation.

  • A portable chess set:
  • Stackable chairs

Principle 8: Anti-Weight

Offset an objects weight by combining it with things that provide lift. That is to say, the object has less weight.

  • Hot air balloons
  • Hydraulic car jacks

Principle 9: Preliminary Anti-action

Implement measures to control harmful actions or consequences DURING a necessary process.

  • Cars with vehicle blind spot monitors in order to avoid collisions when changing lanes

Principle 10: Preliminary Action

Perform the required change in ADVANCE. To clarify, the action occurs before a process begins.

  • Boxed furniture that contains pre-drilled holes for assembly
  • Cell phone notification when power is low which prevents the phone from dying

Principle 11: Beforehand Cushioning

In cases where there is low consistency, provide a means for cushioning the worse-case scenarios

File:HST engine emergency stop switch inside 43187 (26734553252).jpg

  • Sprinkler systems in case of fires
  • Emergency shut-off switches

Principle 12: Equipotentiality

Solutions that involve a change to the environment of an object, which enables the desired results compared to a direct change to the object.

  • Laundry chute – using gravity to bring your laundry downstairs

Principle 13: The Other Way Around

File:Burger King Drive Thru.JPG

Do it in reverse or the opposite way such as drive-thru restaurants vs. sit-in diners

Principle 14: Spheroidality – Curvature

Introduce a bend or shape to an object. In addition, this includes how the object moves.

  • Archways expand the inside of buildings, which allows more room and improved acoustics
  • Drill gun’s motion compared to a hammer’s motion

Principle 15: Dynamics

Change an object or system in order to create optimal flow.

  • Pressure valves for gas and liquid control

Principle 16: Partial or Excessive Actions

If optimal performance cannot be achieved, aim for more or less to create the desired effect.

  • Using paint primer on a object before the actual painting process

Principle 17: Another Dimension

Take an object from one dimension or plan to two planes. This includes two dimensions to three, or vice versa.

  • Spiral staircase compared to normal stairs
  • A desk shipped pre-assembled verses assembled in advance.

Principle 18: Mechanical Vibration

Introduce vibration to an object. Though contrary to Six Sigma’s goal to reduce process variation, increased vibration is beneficial under the right circumstances

  • Electric toothbrush which allows for better teeth cleaning compared to a normal toothbrush
  • Increased vibration in a foot massage leads to a better stronger massage

Principle 19: Periodic Action

Change a steady action to occur in intervals. This allows users to increase or decrease magnitude during the process.

  • Lights and sirens on a fire truck which notifies other cars to move
  • Spring-loaded nerf guns

Principle 20: Continuity of Useful Action

File:Lake Tawakoni Iron Bridge Dam in East Texas.jpg

Continuous flow of a process or object. Can also include eliminating idle objects.

  • Dams using falling water, thus generate electricity
  • Crossfit exercise routines, which consequently create more complete workout.

Principle 21: Skipping or Rushing Through

Conduct at-risk or harmful stages at high speeds in order to avoid extra damage.

  • Friction can heat up an object, which leads to warped material. Faster cutting speeds prevents more warping

Principle 22: Blessing in Disguise – Harm into Benefit

Make the most out of harmful factors in order to create a positive effect.

  • Composting such as tossing egg shells into a garden to improve soil quality
  • Rebuilding infrastructure after natural disasters

Principle 23: Feedback

Add performance data to a process or object. A Six Sigma example of feedback is Statistical Process Control .

  • Automated survey inquiries allows people to receive quick feedback from customers
  • Audio visuals on the TV so that viewers can know the TV volume

Principle 24: Intermediary/Mediator

Use an intermediary vehicle or process. In other words, using someone or something as a link between two processe.

  • Using email in order to distribute communication to a group of people
  • US Postal Services, which ships goods or letters between people
  • Food processors so that people without teeth can eat too!

Principle 25: Self-Service

An object or process that services itself or provides auxiliary assistance.

  • Automated phone call screening so that callers are connected to the correct department.
  • Car wash stations that include self-vacuum stations so that customers can clean inside and outside of their car!

Principle 26: Copying

Use less expensive material that is more accessible to replace expensive and less available parts.

  • 3-D Printing
  • Replacing metal components with high durable plastic ones

Principle 27: Cheap Short-Living Objects

Replace expensive, quality objects with multiple cheaper objects. This leads to a compromise on certain quality aspects, but provides lower costs.

  • Glass plates and cups are nice until you need to wash them. However, paper plates and cups can be thrown away after use
  • Washable diapers are cheaper compared to disposable diapers, but single-use diapers are more easy to use

Principle 28: Mechanics Substitution

File:Car Keys 1.jpg

Replace a mechanical system with an electronic, sensory, or chemical system.

  • Dictation or saying words aloud to be typed compared to typing it out by hand
  • A car fob can unlock the viable faster than using the car key slot

Principle 29: Pneumatics and Hydraulics

Use gas or liquid parts instead of solid parts.

  • Hydraulic brakes compared to standard brakes
  • Gel-filled insoles in shoes provide better foot support compared to standard insoles

Principle 30: Flexible Shells and Thin Films

Use flexible materials that are more durable, lighter, and cost effective. 

  • Bullet-proof vests are made out of light-weight material called kevlar, which is better than heavy metal for firearm safety
  • Bubble wrap is great for shipping goods because of its extra cushioning

Principle 31: Porous Materials

Add holes (pores) to an object. This leads to a lighter and less dense object.

  • Homes that use fiberglass for insulation
  • Sponges to absorb moisture

Principle 32: Color Changes

Change the color of an object or the color around the object.

  • Camouflage, which allows users to blend in to their environment
  • Lighter colored homes reduce heat absorption from the sun.

Principle 33: Homogeneity

The interaction of two or more objects of the same material or purpose.

  • Blood transfusions only work if the user has the same blood type as the donor
  • Wooden dowels to join pieces of wood together

Principle 34: Rejecting, Discarding – Recovering, Regeneration

Reject or discard the object after completion or recover it after completion.

  • SpaceEx launch spacecraft and the rocket returns to the launch pad after ascent. As a result, the cost of space travel is reduced
  • Climbing the career ladder by changing jobs

Principle 35: Parameter Changes

Includes any input/output change such as temperature, durability, or pressure. Lots of things can fit in this bucket!

  • Move into a larger work space in order to increase output
  • Cakes batter baked at a lower temperature makes a better cake

Principle 36: Phase Transitions

Gradual changes to certain specs such as volume or pressure.

  • Switching gears in a vehicle, which reduces gas consumption
  • Move objects to cooler temperatures such as a fridge to decrease its heat

Principle 37: Thermal Expansions

File:Hobo stove convection 2.jpg

Use heat or pressure in order to achieve desired results.

  • Use heat to expand pipes so that they can connect. Cool pipes to cement them

Principle 38: Accelerated Oxidation

Replace common air with oxygen rich air.

  • Ventilators assist to treat patients that struggle to breath
  • Oxygen rich air is better fuel for fire, which can be applied during heat treatment

Principle 39: Inert Atmosphere

Negate moving or changing settings with less mobile or chemically inactive spaces

  • Fire extinguishers work to move oxygen way from the flames. This results in putting out the fire
  • Vacuum sealed bags are great space savers because the air is taken out of the object

Principle 40: Composite Materials

Unlike principle 5, composite materials combine different types of materials together.

  • The body of an aircrafts is made of metals, foam, plastics, kevlar, and more. The principle also applies to the insides of vehicles.

IASSC Green Belt Sample Question

Question: Which of the following ideas best follows the TRIZ principle of “The Other Way Around?”

(A) Using hydraulic technology over gas-powered equipment

(B) Utilizing a trash compactor to maximize tonnage per pickup

(C) Baking cookies at a higher temperature

(D) Escalators in an airport or mall

Unlock Additional Members-only Content!

Additional resources. – This is a great book extract for anyone who wants to practice TRIZ.

I earned my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt through IASSC.'s guided course has helped me gain confidence to pass my exam and earn my certification. I currently apply Six Sigma in aerospace manufacturing to drive efficiencies and reduce costs. Ask me how the Six Sigma Study Guide can help you pass your exam.

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MODIFIER program is based on ARIZ, TRIZ tools (algorithmized method of finding innovative solutions) essentially an electronic guide to the stages of the search workflow solutions of inventive problems. Designed for learning and mastering (by examples) data techniques, as well as for further independent work on the search innovative solutions (the language in one version is Russian, in the other – English). Added 4 more PROGRAMS. “MODIFIER” program (version 1.7):

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Encyclopedia of Creativity, Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship pp 1146–1160 Cite as

Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), Theory

  • Boris Zlotin 2 &
  • Alla Zusman 2  
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Systematic innovation


How people invent? Famous scientists and engineers sharing their memories, as well as psychologists studying the creativity process, describe similar situations: An individual facing a difficult problem is mentally exploring various approaches, persistently trying and rejecting ideas until the right one comes. Psychologists call this process trial-and-error method (T&EM).

T&EM has a great history. It was used to create first stone knives, bows, guns, windmills, building, ships, and almost everything we can see around. Some results are astonishing: Polynesian catamarans, old Chinese, Norwegian, or Russian boats are practically perfect. Each element has the best shape. However, archeological research has shown that even 500 years ago, these vessels were rather far from perfect. One hundred years after another of repeating practically the same shapes, the builders yet were introducing slight changes into design. Some of them were unsuccessful,...

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Altshuller G. Creativity as an exact science. New York: Gordon and Breach; 1984 (Russian edition 1979).

Google Scholar  

Altshuller G. And suddenly the inventor appeared: TRIZ, the theory of inventive problem solving. Worchester: Technical Innovation Center; 1996 (Translated by Lev Shulyak).

Altshuller G. The innovation algorithm. Worcester: Technical Innovation Center; 1999 (First Russian edition 1969).

ARIZ-85c: Altshuller G, Zlotin B, Philatov V. The Profession of Searching for New Ideas. Kishinev: Kartya Moldovenyaska Publishing House; 1985 (In Russian).

Higgins JM. 101 Creative problem solving techniques. Winter Park: New Management Publishing Company; 1994.

Ideation International (1995, 2001, 2004): Ideation Methodology course material: Introduction to the Ideation Methodology. Ideation International Inc., 1995–2005.

John Dubuc. Ideation International 2010, Dubuc J. Accelerating Continuous Innovation. Presented in Orlando, Florida; 2010.

Kaplan S. An introduction to TRIZ, the Russian theory of inventive problem solving. Southfield: Ideation International; 1996.

Terninko J, Zlotin B, Zusman A. Systematic innovation: an introduction to TRIZ. Boca Raton: St. Lucie Press; 1998.

Zlotin B, Zusman A. An integrated operational knowledge base. In: TRIZ in progress. Southfield: Ideation International; 1999a. p. 114–122.

Zlotin B, Zusman A. Managing innovation knowledge. In: TRIZ in progress. Southfield: Ideation International; 1999b. p. 123–140.

Zlotin B, Zusman A, Kaplan L, Visnepolschi S, Proseanic V, Malkin S. TRIZ beyond technology. The theory and practice of applying TRIZ to non-technical areas. Proceedings of TRIZCON 2000; 2000. p. 135–176.

Zlotin B, Zusman A, Fulbright R. Knowledge based tools for software supported innovation and problem solving. Altshuller’s TRIZ Institute Conference TRIZCON 2010, Detroit; 2010 Nov. 29–30.

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Zlotin, B., Zusman, A. (2013). Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), Theory. In: Carayannis, E.G. (eds) Encyclopedia of Creativity, Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Springer, New York, NY.

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