TRIZ for problem solving

TRIZ is the acronym for “Teorija Reshenija Izobretateliskih Zadatch” in Russian, a theory developed by Genrich Altshuller since 1946.

It is called TIPS in English, an acronym for Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.

We can define 5 different level of innovation, from an apparent solution to a real discovery, trough minor improvement, major improvement and new concept.
Of course the discovery is really an exception, when apparent solution and minor improvement concern about 77% of the innovative solutions.
The knowledge needed to propose an invention can be the own knowledge of a person, or the knowledge of the enterprise, of an industrial sector, a transfer between different industry or have to mobilize the whole set of sciences.

It is often difficult to directly solve a specific problem, finding the specific solution.
Altshuller proposed to define first the specific problem and then to transform this problem in a higher generic problem called the standard problem. The TRIZ method gives standard solutions for standard problems. At the end of the process, we must adapt the standard solution to found our specific solution.

Basic concepts

Concept 1

An ideal result a designer would have to achieve is a result where all the required functions are assumed and all the possible disadvantages are eradicated.
Such ideality can be valuate with the ideality ratio, the ratio between the sum of the useful functions by the sum of the prejudicial functions and the costs. An ideal product satisfy all the requirements without disadvantage and at no cost!

Concept 2

A well established problem is a problem half solved , as the saying goes. But such well established problem conducts also toward a well known solution, and not often toward an innovative solution.
It is why Altshuller claims that an invention is the result of a contradiction. It is because we have a conflict between two functionalities or two technical solutions we need to answer the functionalities that we have to think about a new way to formulate the problem.

Types of contradictions

There are two types:

  • Technical
  • Physical

The technical contradiction happens when we cannot improve a specification without to degrade an other one. By example, to choose steel as material instead of wood for a beam increases his resistance but also increases his weight, that is good for the first but bad for the second.
The tools: resolution matrix and the forty principles are used to solve such contradiction.
The physical contradiction happens when the same element has to respect two contradictory modalities.
The separation principle can solve this kind of contradiction.

Principales of Innovation

Altshuller edicts forty principles of innovation, such as segmentation, extraction, local quality, asymmetry, merging, universality, inversion, …
Each of these principles include some proposal, such as to divide an object in independent parts or to facilitate the disassembly of an object for the segmentation.

Example of container

where the thickness of the wall monitors the resistance and the weight.
If we need to increase the resistance and in a same time to decrease the weight, we get a physical conflict with the thickness parameter..
If we use the separation in space, the thickness may be increase only in the place where the resistance has to be increased, and decreased elsewhere.

TRIZ principals


  • To divide a product in independents parts
  • To facilitate the disassembly


To change symmetrical form of an object to an asymmetrical one


To inverse the action example instead of warming an object , cool it

TRIZ tools

TRIZ tools are used for the resolution of the technical or physical contradiction, to propose standards resolution for a problem known with a substance and a field, to suggest some evolution principles for technological systems and to research the ideality.

Technical contradictions resolution:


The purpose is to increase the resistance of this container without to increase its weights, the solution is to use composites

In a high pressure tank , composite is used with Kevlar49,epoxy and titanium, which leads to decreasing the weight by 25%.

To remember

A system is always constituted of four components: an engine, a transmission, a control unit and a work unit

-A feasible system permit the free flow of energy among its parts

-A system try to coordinate its rhythms

-A system try to reach ideality

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