ICG T&C NEWSLETTER on TRIZ and Systematic Innovation, May 2006

Do not miss: One-day course in TRIZ for Business Innovation and Problem Solving,
June 14, 2006, Utrecht, The Netherlands


With many factors which produce immense impact on rapid evolution of all aspects of business and technology, such as emergence of new digital products, disruptive innovations, shortening of product lifecycles, "flattening" of the world by removing barriers to the spread of information and open communication, innovation becomes not only important but crucial for success. Last year BusinessWeek called our times "innovation economy": "From energy to biotech, we may be on the cusp of a new age of innovation".
It becomes clear that modern innovation is not a single event but a continuous non-stop activity. It also becomes clear that creativity and invention are needed along the entire process of creating and bringing new products to market. Innovation is not limited to producing great technological ideas, it is needed for successful invention of new business models, processes and services as well as for removing obstacles, conflicts and bottlenecks, and finding new innovative ways to increase business performance.
Innovation becomes more than technology, research, technique or a method; it becomes a culture. Many organizations simply do not have it yet. While TRIZ and Systematic Innovation can greatly support creative parts of a process of innovation, in order to create and sustain a long-term innovative organization we also need other ingredients: innovative and creative people, knowledge, everyday learning, collaboration and open communication. This is why in this issue we provide you with information not just limited to TRIZ but to other aspects of innovation as well.

Successful innovations,
Valeri Souchkov

June 14, 2006 One-day training in Systematic Business Innovation and Problem Solving
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Hands-on training course for those who wish to learn how to solve problems related to business and management and generate new solution strategies by combining systematic methods and creativity.
More details
August 31 -
September 2, 2006:

2nd TRIZ Symposium in Japan
Based on the success of the first event, the second TRIZ symposium in Japan which will be conducted this year invites broader international audience.
More details
October 9-11, 2006:
ETRIA Conference TRIZ Future 2006
Next global conference by the European TRIZ Association is announced to be held in Kortrijk, Belgium, October 9-11, 2006.
More details

Another TRIZ Day in the Netherlands took place on April 12, 2006.
Click to see the report


Thoughtivity for kids
By Tatiana Sidorchuk, Nikolai Khomenko

A comprehensive guide for using TRIZ and other innovation methods to develop creativity, imagination, goal-oriented problem-solving skills, and speech development in children ages 3 through 8.
From time to time people ask about teaching TRIZ to kids. Here you can find a book about this subject. It is a result of more then 15 years of research and practical tests within Former USSR. More than 300 teachers were involved to the testing process. At least 10.000 preschool teachers were taught during these years by the author and her followers. Tatiana Sidorchuk - author of the book was involved this year as a keynote speaker to TRIZCON 2006 in Milwaukee". (Synopsis by Nikolai Khomenko).

The Ten Faces of Innovation : IDEO's Strategies for Defeating the Devil's Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization
by Thomas Kelley, Jonathan Littman

"Outlining ten major roles often played on successful and innovative teams, this book catalogs personas used at IDEO to create new products and services. The book is easy to read and contains powerful, persuasive arguments about some of the activites teams need to participate in to unblock the rut they're in or to combat negative environments. I'd recommend this as a light-hearted read for people who see themselves as an energetic personality and are interested in coming in to work on a Monday and giving their team a kick-start" (from Amazon user reviews).


As usual, we continue to update you with a selection of recommended recent papers and other web resources in the areas of TRIZ, Creativity, and Innovation.

  • Do you have problems?
    By: Howard Smith and Mark Burnett
    A very good introductory overview of using TRIZ for business process improvement.
  • The Art of Innovation
    One-hour streaming online video and PDF presentation of Guy Kawasaki, presented on January 24th, 2006 at the Tech Coast Angels “Fast Pitch Competition” at UCLA, and author of eight books including Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. His talk is about "the art of start": what to do and what not to do to successfully start innovative businesses and introduce innovations. Interesting, that some key ideas of Kawasaki completely coincide with TRIZ ideas: such as "jump to the next curve or create new curve", "increase not by 10 per cent but 10 times", and so on. Very useful and entertaining.
  • Top-down Innovation
    An article from Optimize magazine: "CEOs say they want to lead the innovation charge, but they can't go it alone. Collaboration and help from IT are critical to putting intentions into action."
  • 3M's Seven Pillars of Innovation
    By Michael Arndt
    It may be 104 years old, but the company churns out cutting-edge products like a brash new startup. Here are the secrets of its success.
  • Top Ten Myths about Business Innovation
    By Geoffrey Moore.
    "If you are worrying about innovation, take heart. Only successful companies do. By contrast, unsuccessful companies either aren’t around to do any worrying or have more pressing concerns, like meeting payroll or paying their bills."
  • Innovation, the Google way
    by Garett Rogers
    "With each product or service they launch, it becomes more difficult to imagine a world without them. One of my readers asks: What can other businesses (of any size) learn from what Google has done to achieve this level of success?"
  • A missing link in Innovation
    by Mike Klein
    Whar are the missing links between innovation vs. invention?
    According to Peter Denning, Director of the Cebrowski Institute for information innovation and superiority at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, it is the individual's skill at innovating. He has identified a seven-part framework called the "Personal Foundational Practices," which can be taught to individuals and endorsed by organizations wishing to stimulate a culture of innovation.
  • Nuggets from IBM Business Leadership Forum in Rome
    A summary on insights reported by IBM about modern innovation
  • BMW Innovation Day 2006
    A good summary of the Innovation Day 2006, where BMW presented the latest developments in drivetrain technology, energy management, and materials technology which help to "convincingly fulfill current and future-oriented customer wishes for even more efficient energy concepts and to master the challenges of tomorrow". One of the TRIZ trends of system evolution is the trend of increasing the degree of system dynamics, and it is not surprising that under the term “EfficientDynamics” BMW sums up all development activities serving to achieve this supreme standard.
  • The World's Most Innovative Companies
    Their creativity goes beyond products to rewiring themselves. BusinessWeek and the Boston Consulting Group rank the best.
  • From Edison's Desk is the blog of GE Global Research
    GE Global Research offers a unique forum for technology enthusiasts around the globe to discuss the future of technology with top researchers from one of the world's largest and most diverse industrial research labs.
  • Innovation Leaders
    Innovaro conducts an annual assessment of the innovation performance of 1000 companies across 20 key sectors. This is based on detailed research into 8 key areas that is summarized in an innovation scorecard. Based on extensive analysis of the performance, Innovation Leaders profiles the organizations that are making the most impact today.
  • Creativity in reverse: a new way to use TRIZ
    By Jack Hipple
    "Sometimes, though, the problem is not one of trying to improve something, but to find the cause of a failure in a system, product, or organization. Something has gone wrong, maybe on a once in a while basis, and we can’t figure out why. We develop hypothesis derived from checklists we had previously developed, or from conventional brainstorming ideation techniques. But we don’t always get to the root cause and have to deal with the problem again at a future date".
  • Applying TRIZ in Process Improvement
    by Haiyan Ru and Haibo Ru
    Two authors from China present a case study of applying TRIZ to improve the effectiveness of internal training process.

This time we again talk about using resources to innovate. Resource-based thinking is extremely powerful instrument to create new ideas and solve existing problems. The term "resource" has many different meanings, but in general, resource is something that is readily available (or easily obtainable) and might provide us with the needed function or value within different contexts to reach the desired purpose.
In xTRIZ, we define the following categories of resources: Space, Time, System (everything that belongs to a certain system), Supersystem resources (everything that interacts with a system or can interact), Functional resources. In turn, system and supersystem resources include material, energy, human and information components. We often neglect available resources whereas they can be excellent sources for creating new value, solving existing problems, delivering required functions and resolving contradictions. Many new ideas can arise on the basis of using available energy sources which we usually ignore, or already existing components in a system; or simply by combining existing components to obtain new functions thus saving space, time, material and energy. Often there is no need to create a new system or subsystem to deliver a new function: it is enough to use what is already available as a whole or as a part.
When we use TRIZ to solve a specific problem we always first look at the already existing internal resources and very often they help to find a needed solution.
A good introductory overview with examples explaining the concept of using resources in technology is available at http://www.ideationtriz.com/TRIZ_tutorial_4.htm (By Ideation International, Inc).
Among some other recent examples (again, note that they were not necessarily obtained with TRIZ, but illustrate the concept):

Sony Skype Phone: no need for a separate device
Sony announced the launch of the MouseTalk (trying to find an English link), a new VAIO PC peripheral that acts as both an optical mouse and an Internet phone. The clamshell mouse, which will be Skype certified, flips open to become an Internet phone to make and receive calls around the world through Skype. (the website is in Japanese but pictures are self-explaining).
Curtains that Brighten Your Living Room
A group of scientists at GE Global Research, together with many researchers around the world, have been working around the clock to make such curtain-like lighting applications possible. Accordingly they have also been changing the "common-sense" about lighting devices. No more light bulbs, no more light tubes. In their vision, the future lighting device could be made into different forms with features such as thin (no thicker than a credit card), flexible and rugged (curtains, wallpapers, you name it!), and many more. The device under development is based on an emerging technology called organic light-emitting devices (OLED). In its simplest picture, an OLED consists of a layer of organic plastic-like material sandwiched between two electrodes. The device emits light upon application of a battery-type voltage.

Skype is there, let's use it for mobile calls
Company SoonR just announced Soonr Talk, which will allow Skype calls to be made from a standard cell phone. It will work through SoonR’s basic product - access Skype on your home PC through your browser and initiate a call with a contact or contacts.

So many free resources around - why not to use them?
Ambient Micro´s Multi-Source Ambient Power Supply module combines the output of solar, vibration, temperature gradient, and RF Magnetic ambient energy technology to continuously recharge an on-board battery or micro-battery.

Using temperature difference to generate energy
Thermo Life® is a micro-technology device which provides viable energy source for low-powered devices such as micro sensor systems, ZigBee chipsets, wearable electronics, implantable medical devices, active RFID tags and numerous other applications. Wherever a temperature difference exists in any environment, the autonomous device, Thermo Life®, is capable of producing an output power. Even small temperature differences of less than 5 Kelvin can provide a source of thermal energy. Thermo Life® converts heat energy to electrical energy through its thermopile couples using the thermopile principle (Seebeck effect).

Pak-lite: a flashlight without the body.
When we think about flashlight, we imagine a body for the battery, lamp, protective glass. In this product, the battery is a body. Just place a cup with two LEDs on the 9v standard battery and the flashlight is ready.
Wiki: a resource for using resources
While Wiki was originally invented as a platform for Wikipedia, today Wiki becomes online collaboration tool which is used for different purposes. Explore several online videos about how Wiki can be used to enable collaboration and most effectively use human resources



A House Powered By Spinach
Seattle architecture/design firm Mithun won first place in the C2C Home Competition with their design for a house powered by spinach.

This little experiment outside my usual working activities was very interesting: I was thinking if 40 Altshuller Principles could be used to produce some unusual ideas for creative photography. While not being a professional photographer, it is difficult to judge about quality and novelty, but I think this can help all of us to make interesting pictures. So to begin with, I took Inventive Principle #26: The Use of Copies, which says:
  • Instead of an unavailable, expensive, fragile object, use simpler and inexpensive copies.
  • Replace an object, or process with optical copies.
  • If visible optical copies are already used, move to infrared or ultraviolet copies.

So why not to capture copies of objects (in this case, shadows) instead of the objects? This is the result (click to enlarge):


It is interesting that almost every inventive principle can help with generating interesting ideas. In addition, combinations of different principles can propose even much more space for creativity.


© 2006, ICG T&C

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© 2006, ICG T&C