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Dale Pithers Capstone project _ 2012_dr_pogue_final

  1. 1. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 1 TRIZ - A Legitimate Problem-Solving Tool for Business CAP799 Capstone Project Aspen University June 24, 2012 dalerpithers@gmail.com Dale Pithers
  2. 2. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 2 Table of contents Abstract Page 3 Introduction and History Page 4 Explanation of Terms Page 6 Nine Laws of System Evolution Page 9 Overview of Problem-Solving Technique Page 16 Problem #1 Page 18 Results and Interpretation Page 20 Problem #2 Page 22 Results and Interpretation Page 23 Problem Conclusions Page 26 Observations and Comments Page 28 Conclusion/TRIZ Future Page 29 References Page 31
  3. 3. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 3 Abstract TRIZ “Russian: теория решения изобретательских задач, teoriya resheniyaizobretatelskikh zadatch” [Theory of Inventive Problem Solving] is a problem-solving methodwhere the object is to render better solutions by improving design areas where possible. TRIZwas developed by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues in the former USSR around 1946. TRIZis now being developed and practiced throughout the world (Barry, Domb, & Slocum, 2012). TRIZ first looks at the Ideal Final Result (IFR), or “Ideality” of a problem, and utilizessystem resources to approach that goal. Ideality is an essential concept of TRIZ, and one of thebasic themes of this is that systems evolve toward Ideality irreversibly (Courts, 2010). Along theway, a practitioner of TRIZ encounters contradictions, which can be of several types. Thesecontradictions are addressed via a TRIZ matrix that was developed from the work and studiesAltshuller completed while employed in the Russian patent office. During that period, Altshullerkept statistical data on the patents he reviewed and documented similarities and characteristics ofthe issues and failures that arose in those invention processes. The aforementioned TRIZ matrix allows a problem-solver to choose an improving featureand a worsening feature. The matrix then offers several generic solutions. These solutions wereoriginally used in engineering so interpretation is often necessary to reach a business solution.After interpretation, the solutions to the problems presented in the present research paper havebeen applied to the workplace with success. The specific problem in the first case to be observed has a contradiction as follows:Process Streamlining vs. Increased Approvals. The second case features a scenario where speed
  4. 4. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 4is weighed against accuracy. In both instances, results were collected and a plan was established.In the end, some success from the suggested solution plan was achieved in a real-world workingenvironment. TRIZ is a useful problem-solving tool with a firm future in business applications. Thepresent author argues that a more user-friendly, interpreted version of the TRIZ matrix could bebrought forward in the future, along with a smaller matrix design built for business usage.Introduction/History Genrich Altshuller was born on October 15, 1926 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (formerly theUSSR) into a family of journalists. A few years later, the family moved to Baku, Azerbaijan(USSR). After high school, Altshuller studied at the Azerbaijan Industrial Institute. After this, hejoined the Russian Navy, where he became a pilot in the fighter plane division. During thisperiod, Altshuller worked in the Innovation Center of the Russian Navy. His duties includedscreening the patents. This was an ideal place for his creative thinking to prosper. His workbegan in 1946 when he was only 20. From that point onward, he studied thousands andthousands of patents and created the innovative logic that was later to be called TRIZ. What followed is what is now known as the key techniques of TRIZ. Altshuller and agood friend proposed some radical suggestions to the Russian Government in 1948. However,the result was negative. Altshuller was imprisoned for a long period. His time was spent in anintense labor camp in the terrible freezing temperatures above the Arctic Circle. At that time inhistory, Russian prisons served as a unique learning opportunity. Many prisoners utilized this
  5. 5. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 5unique opportunity to teach useful topics and fields to each other. Often, these classes includedmathematics, logic, science, foreign languages, among many others. The knowledge he acquiredthere helped Altshuller greatly in understanding various systems from a generic perspective. After his imprisonment was over, Altshuller concentrated on writing stories and articlesfor publication. He published his first article on TRIZ in 1956. During this period, many ofAltshuller’s works were full of brilliant and innovative ideas. Altshuller’s major period of life was spent in studying patents. He screened over 200,000patents to see how problems were solved. He found that very few of them involved newinventions. He also found that a great number of these were just straightforward improvements.The main discovery Altshuller made from this data was that all those inventions have used acertain set of rules to solve the problems. In other words, the same sets of rules have beenapplied repeatedly to solve all kinds of inventive problems. He listed 40 such rules, called Inventive Principles, the application of which is consideredthe key technique of TRIZ. Instead of categorizing patents into the conventional classes ofindustry types, Altshuller categorized these patents into five different levels, according to theirnovelty of invention. These levels are as follows: 1. Straightforward design problems, 2. Simple contradictions,3. Difficult design, process, and manufacturing contradictions, 4. Extremely difficult systemdesign problems, and 5. Invention of new science. TRIZ deals with problems involving levels 2-4. In 1989, Altshuller became the President of the “International TRIZ Association”,founded by his friends and students. In 1990, he and his family moved to Petrozavodsk, Russia,
  6. 6. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 6where he lived until his death. His presence in Petrozavodsk made the place a center of TRIZresearch and association. Altshuller passed away on September 24, 1998, due to complicationsfrom Parkinson’s disease (Mishra, 2012). Altshuller left a revolutionary science behind him, the Theory of Inventive ProblemSolving (TRIZ), which will keep him alive in the memory of thousands of people all over theworld. His great discoveries and contribution to humankind will confer a lasting presence in theannals of history (Mishra, 2012).Explanation of Terms The aforementioned Ideal Final Result (IFR), or Ideality, describes a solution to aproblem free of any mechanisms or constraints from the original problem or issue. This issimilar to “re-engineering” in the process management world, in which processes are “blown-up”and revamped. In other words, it as an ideal end-state without any strings attached from thecurrent issue we are facing (Phinney, 2012). Therefore, an ideal system is one that performs itspurpose free of negative characteristics in all aspects of its operation. Ideality is one of the most powerful concepts of TRIZ. According to ideality, eachproduct, system, or organization moves toward its ideal state. The ideal state of the system iswhere there is no problem in the system; the system is better, faster, low cost, low error, lowmaintenance, and so on. In other words, the ideal system consists of all positives and nonegatives (www.Trizsite.tk.asp, 2012). In addition, the IFR is the ultimate stage of a system or organization at the end of itsevolution. The IFR is obviously the most powerful solution among all conceivable solutions.
  7. 7. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 7IFR is not dependent upon the possibility of an accomplishment. It is similar to the concept of“the ideal product” or “the ideal process”. “The ideal process is one that does not require time,energy and resources but achieves the necessary effect” (www.Trizsite.tk.asp, 2012). Overall, the purpose of TRIZ is to aid with systems design. Problem-solvers shouldexamine all individual functions while they search for a conclusion. Upon receiving results,there is always a chance to achieve a revolutionary solution, the most suitable of which is IFR. Another important concept within the TRIZ structure is Contradiction. This is evidentwhen, in the process of performing an important action, a harmful action or inadequacy becomesapparent. These have naturally occurred in designs, often due to such factors as unstructured,traditional, and uninspired plans. Specialists need to use available resources to resolvecontradictions and system conflicts. Some examples of ways to do this are as follows: a) Introducing a new tool b) Overcoming the physical contradictions c) Ideality maneuvers The last of the methods above is the preferred approach, and there are three ways toapproach this: a) Eliminate the object. b) Eliminate the tool and have the object perform the action. c) Eliminate the tool and have the action delegated to the environment. Physical Contradiction implies inconsistent requirements to a physical condition of thesame element of a Technical System (TS) or operation of a Technological Process (TP)—i.e., thesame key subsystem of a technique. For example, we want that insulators in semiconductor
  8. 8. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 8chips have low dielectric constant, k, in order to reduce parasitic capacities, and we want thatinsulators in semiconductor chips have high dielectric constant, k, in order to store informationbetter (Savransky, 2012). TRIZ practitioners call this a Macro Physical Contradiction if it occursfor a complete section or component. Testers call this a Micro Physical Contradiction if it wereto apply to a component’s integral elements. Two other types of contradiction are Administrative Contradiction and TechnicalContradiction. An Administrative Contradiction happens when there is a contradiction betweenneeds and abilities (Courts, 2010). A Technical Contradiction is evident when there is an inversedependence between parameters/characteristics of a machine or technology (Courts, 2010). When receiving Physical Contradictions, one must first see what is causing the conflictthen identify a pair of mutually exclusive requirements then use Separation Principals.Separation Principals involve the isolation of the conditions of the requirements by shifting theiroccurrence in time, space, or between the whole and its parts. Systems are an important concept in TRIZ, as TRIZ comprises a combination ofFunctions and Actions. Function includes two components, Tools and Object; Actions areperformed by Tools on Objects (Courts, 2010). Function is another vital notion within the TRIZstructure and consists of Tools and Objects. Since objects are a separate concept from the toolitself, this distinction is of supreme importance with regard to the concept of ideality. An example of a “System” is as follows: System = Stapler & Staple Stapler (Tool) Drives (Action) Staple (Object)
  9. 9. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 9Nine Laws of System Evolution Next, there are Nine Laws of System Evolution, which require explanation. The Laws ofEvolution were developed from the process mentioned earlier, where Altshuller studied tens ofthousands of patents. These laws are very helpful for technology forecasting since they identifythe most effective directions for the system’s development. For example, the Law of IncreasingFlexibility (discussed in detail below) states technological systems naturally evolve from rigidstructures into flexible or adaptive ones. An illustration of this law is evolution of aircraftstructures, which went from rigid wing designs to variable-geometry wing designs. A Law ofEvolution delineates a general direction for further system transformation, but says nothing aboutthe details of this transformation (Fey, 2012). The first law is the Law of Increasing Ideality. This law supports the overriding trend,which encompasses all the others and states that technological systems evolve in the direction ofincreasing ideality (www.Baetriz.co.uk, 2012). An example of this is evident when consideringthe early evolution of the automobile. Originally, cars were crude: internal combustion enginesattached to a carriage. These were quite inefficient, and next came along a three-wheeledvehicle, prior to Henry Ford coming up with the four-wheeled car, that is nothing like what wehave come to understand as a car. Initially, electric land vehicles in America outsold all other types of cars. Then, in theseveral years following 1900, sales of electric vehicles took a nosedive as a new type of vehiclecame to dominate the consumer market (Bellis, 2012).
  10. 10. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 10 On January 29 of 1886, Karl Benz received the first patent (DRP No. 37435) for a gas-fueled car (Bellis, 2012). He later developed a float-type carburetor and a transmission system.These cars, and their immediate followers, were obviously very gas inefficient, and offered verylittle in the amenities department. Over the years, automobiles addressed such areas as pollution in the form of air andnoise. Catalytic converters came into use, and fluorocarbons and other harmful gases werecontrolled. As years have rolled by, gas mileage issues have been addressed, and hybrid carshave now come to the forefront. All of these improvements have represented a move towardideality. The second law is the Law of Non-Uniform Evolution of Subsystems. In general, the lawexpresses that, as systems evolve, their subsystems evolve at different rates. This can createsystem conflicts, which is the root cause of many contradictions between the subsystems. Any technological system satisfies some needs, which usually grow faster than theimprovements of the system. This also creates an evolutionary pressure causing the developmentof system conflicts. This non-uniformity begets system conflicts whose resolution requires thedevelopment of new inventions, and thus promotes the evolutionary process. This law isillustrated by the evolutions of numerous technological systems (Rivin, 2012). The rate of evolution of various parts of a system is not uniform; the more sophisticatedthe overall system is, the more non-uniform the evolution of its parts. An example of this couldbe the bicycle and the associated parts evolving at different rates.
  11. 11. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 11 The third law is the Law of Transition to a Higher-Level System. This law states that, assystems evolve, they develop from mono-systems to bi- or poly-systems. Subsequently, the bi-or poly-systems evolve into a new more efficient (but more complex) mono-system (Courts,2010). Borrowing a little from the pencil and eraser example, one simple example of the law isthe inventions of the toothbrush, rubber tooth cleaner, and tongue cleaner being all convertedinto a toothbrush featuring all three functions. Also, in a more complex example: One of the Laws of Technological System Evolution, which represent the cornerstone ofTRIZ, is the Law of Transition to a Higher-Level System. It states that when systems exhausttheir performance potential, combining two or more systems into a higher-level system (a “supersystem”) may result in a significant performance enhancement. Application of this Law was,ultimately, the impetus for developing a combined V-belt/flat belt variable transmission ratiodrive for engine accessories. In this system, the V-belt is used to provide for the requiredvariable transmission ratios, while the flat (or poly-V, or timing) belt drives most of theaccessories (Rivin, 2012). As seen in the above examples, this law can be quite effective when two forces join intoone forceful system. The fourth law is the Law of Increasing Flexibility. This law states that rigid structuresevolve into more flexible and adaptive ones. An example of this is education evolving intoonline courses.
  12. 12. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 12 With gas prices high and the electronic age in full swing, many people now realize theconvenience the online class arrangement has brought forward. Students are utilizing onlinelearning at an unprecedented rate. Arguably, this example of the Law of Increasing Flexibilityhas also enlightened the world on another successful way of educating people. Another recently noted example of this was in a recent story about increasing flexibilityof form in vision systems. The first light-sensitive devices had originally been composed of asingle phototransistor (1-point detection). Then, charge coupled devices (CCDs) weredeveloped, initially in single row, in line form (1 dimension or line). Later still, CCDs weredeveloped in a two dimensional flat array. Over time, developers tweaked this basic format sothat the number of devices has greatly increased, leading to far better image resolution. Untilnow, however, the CCD has remained two dimensional, bringing increased complexities in thelens and focusing system, and restricting field of view (compared to the human eye). Accordingto the article, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign have created ahemispherical CCD. They have done this by slicing off the detection portion of a normal CCDand cutting fine holes in it to form an ultra-thin mesh. This mesh is then formed over a specialelastic hemispherical former, and then placed in a hemispherical support to create an artificialretina. This is a very clear example of the TRIZ Law of Increasing Flexibility applied to shapeand surface (Cooke, 2008). The fifth law is the Law of Transition from Macro to Micro-Level. This law states thatsystems evolve to a more increasing fragmentation of their components. Some researchers propose a simple explanation to the macro-micro transition. Theysuggest that it has nothing to do with evolution of technical systems, but is simply a result of
  13. 13. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 13advances in sciences. They point out that those natural phenomena allowing the transitions tomicro-level were unknown only a short time ago. In addition, they cannot use uncontrolled ormisunderstood phenomenon, or those existent only in research labs. Hence, the systems thatexisted earlier just had to use the “macro” level, and had to evolve on that level (Filkovsky,2012). An example of this would be the music stereo. Originally, these began as a large one-piece wooden cabinet that played music. They have since evolved tremendously. Now, thestereo can have many components such as headphones, speakers, CD’s, iPod player, tuner, orequalizer, along with many new sound-improving additions. Therefore, much like the originalpersonal computers, the stereo has evolved into many components to include all of these otherrelated items. The sixth law is the Law of Completeness. This law states that an autonomoustechnological system must include four minimally functioning principal parts: an engine, atransmission, a working means, and a control means (Fey, 2007). This law is known asEvolution to Decreased Human Involvement (Courts, 2010). Although the example of the original cameras that required a human to adjust light, focus,and exposure, with late stage cameras that perform all of these tasks themselves, I have oneexample I like better. A neighbor of mine once purchased a lawn mower that cut his grasswithout human assistance. Being a person who has disliked cutting grass since childhood, I wasquite impressed, amazed, and jealous when I saw this machine cutting my neighbors grasscompletely unaided.
  14. 14. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 14 In conclusion, the Law of Completeness could be explained as the evolution of systemsinto a nearly non-human controlled system. For example, another example would be a car thatcan drive itself to a parking area or parallel park itself (Paez, 2011). The seventh law is the Law of Shortening of Energy Path Flows. This law states that, assystems evolve, there a shortening of the distance between energy sources and working means. One of the necessary conditions for effective functioning and controllability of energy-transforming technological systems is passage of energy through the system to its output.Applying this statement to the development of actual systems, it is useful to distinguish betweentwo basic classes of design problems. One class is comprised of the problems that go along withchanging a system (synthesis of a new one, improvement of an existing one). The second classis measurement problems, in which the goal is to detect, or to measure, or to monitor certainparameters of the system (Rivin, 2012). One technological example of this is cell phones. Telephones obviously started out aslandlines and had no mobile capabilities. These were powered at the telephone company, wherewires, connections, and hard work were delivering this signal (and, hence, telephone service).Finally, when car telephone came out, they plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter and used thecar’s battery to run it as wireless. The energy source in this case was very close to the telephoneitself. After this, came the age of the commercial phones. These featured a bag-phone set upthat included a large battery, but the energy source distance was shortened even more drastically.Today, cell phones have the battery built into the handset itself, reducing the energy flow to aninsignificant distance.
  15. 15. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 15 Thus, the law of shortening of energy path flows can be traced to developments in energysource technology and better overall systems performing the service. As systems naturally movetowards ideality, these concepts and expectations become more realistic. The eighth law is the Law of Increasing Substance-Field Interactions. This law, which isalso known as the Law of Increasing Controllability, states that, as systems evolve, eachsubsystem can be controlled in a finer, more specific manner. Thus, in other words, controlinteractions improve among each of the systems elements (Courts, 2010). The example of the automobiles comes to mind when assessing this law. When theautomobile started out as a manual piece of equipment, we had very little interaction with ourcars. Then, as time went by, we had lights that came on when we had engine troubles, neededoil, or when the car was overheating. These types of controls were the norm until recently, whenadditional mechanisms were added. These include indicators that let the driver know when thetire pressure is low, and non-indicator items such as traction control and anti-lock brakes. Suchelements in a modern luxury car are numerous. Hence, the law of increasing substance-field interactions can take credit for the principalthat with greater control there is better efficiency and effectiveness. The ninth law is the Law of Harmonization of States. The law states that, as systemsprogress forward, its subsystems tend to converge and combine, making the overall situationmuch better. In other words, the necessary condition for the existence of an effective system isthe coordination of the periodicity of actions of its parts (Courts, 2010).
  16. 16. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 16 The law of harmonization additionally states that the system will follow a pattern ofinterchange-ability of actions. For example, a rotator that moves itself in very different ways in asequence of seconds that follow a pattern of rotation (Paez, 2011). A simple example of a musical instrument representing this concept is a guitar. When aguitar player tunes a guitar’s string, it is imperative that the additional strings be tuned, too, sothat the overall sound is acceptable. The strings all work in conjunction with each other to makea better sounding instrument. Another example would be the House of Representatives working together—bothrepublicans and democrats within their given organization—to make the country better.Overview of Problem-Solving Technique Having spent most of my lifetime in professional businesses in one way or another, thefact that I can apply TRIZ to actual managerial issues is quite intriguing. For the present study,two business problems are used to examine the overall worth of TRIZ problem solving.Additionally, these two problems appear to be very relevant scenarios, where it is difficult toascertain solutions to the resulting problems. Although these problems are sometimes difficult tosolve completely, this exercise will yield new information related to new problem solvingtechniques learned while attempting to solve contradictions. To begin with, the TRIZ process has four steps (Courts, 2010). The first step is toidentify the actual contradiction and determine what the IFR would be. The second step is toattempt to reduce the specific contradiction into a generic contradiction. This would enablefurther analysis of the issue, using standard TRIZ tools and techniques. The third step is to
  17. 17. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 17arrive at a generic TRIZ solution. The fourth (and final) step is to apply the actual solution tomove in the direction of an IFR for the actual problem in question. In analyzing the problem-solving dilemma, one must envision and state the IFR, orIdeality, mentioned above. Then, one must identify the barriers and contradictions and use theresources effectively. After that, one must develop a model of achieving ideality using theBreakthrough Model (proposed by Peter M. Senge) to actualize the journey(www.smbnation.com, 2012). Hence, we can apply the principles of TRIZ at different systemlevels from a competitive standpoint, and the job at hand becomes interpreting what exactlythose levels are and how they might affect us. The contradiction matrix is an important standard used in TRIZ. We use the matrix in thepreviously mentioned third step of the TRIZ process. The easiest individual tool to start with isthe 40 principles, which we can use with or without the Contradiction Matrix. Historically, theprinciples have been illustrated with examples from several different fields, to make it easy forstudents to understand them. There are lists of general technical examples, business examples,service examples, food technology examples, microelectronics examples, and public healthexamples (www.trizjournal.com, 2012). If a contradiction cannot be resolved using the matrix, a practitioner should use moresophisticated techniques to solve contradictions. These include the Algorithm for SolvingInventive Problems (ARIZ) (Souchkov, 2007). The contradiction matrix remains the oldest ofthe TRIZ tools, and helps to determine generic solutions for addressing system clashes.
  18. 18. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 18 The concept of Contradiction is central to the TRIZ toolkit, and gives immediateconfidence in finding successful and powerful solutions. We learn how to uncovercontradictions (often the heart of the problem) and then eliminate them using the relevant tools.Understanding all the benefits, getting those in the right order of priority, and seeing where thesebenefits conflict is the first stage in solving contradictions. This needs structure and practice forsuccessful problem solving (www.imeche.org, 2012). We can condense the solutions to these conflicts down to 40 insightful principals, whichcan suggest detailed solutions to the common contradiction. Hence, the contradiction matrix hasthe function of assisting the user in figuring out which of the 40 principals relate to the givenproblem. These principals will then help the solution-seeker by suggesting an encouragingdirection in which to look for clarification. The contradiction matrix used in the two problems in the present study is located on theInternet at www.triz40.com. This site features two scenarios: the feature to improve, and thefeature to worsen. The site then shows results of the combination examined according to thedesigned contradiction matrix. Upon collecting this information and making adjustments, theprocess potentially will need to be re-done as changes are being made periodically.Problem #1 Given that the present author has been a business manager for over 20 years, the presentstudy addresses the problem of process streamlining vs. increased approvals. In other words,“How much power should company associates be given to get their jobs done?”
  19. 19. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 19 Overall, process streamlining allows employees to complete their given actions withoutrestriction. Adequate reign and empowerment must be given in all areas of the decision makinglandscape for the worker to carry out these actions or activities. An organization must yield agreat degree of their control in this case. After all, most every firm engages in an elaborate (or atleast a simple) managerial hierarchy to approve actions as they are trying to limit their risk as acompany. The subsystem level is where the workers take care of all the processes to complete thetasks. On the system level, employees completely process several tasks. In the super-system,managers have an area of employees that process tasks, and higher-level management has largergroups composed of sub-groups of those areas. Systems, as a combination of Functions and Actions, involve two components: Tools andObject. Functions involve two components, tools and object. Actions are performed by tools onobjects (Courts, 2010). While this problem is abstract, it is possible to frame it in physical terms. Substance-Field (Su-field) Analysis is a TRIZ analytical tool for modeling problemsrelated to existing technological systems. Every system is created to perform some functions.The desired function is the output from an object or substance (S1), caused by another object(S2), with the help of some means (types of energy, F). The general term, substance, has beenused in the classical TRIZ literature to refer to some object. Substances are objects of any levelof complexity. They can be single items or complex systems. The action or means ofaccomplishing the action is called a field. Su-field Analysis provides a fast, simple model to usefor considering different ideas drawn from the knowledge base (Terninko, 2012).
  20. 20. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 20 In this particular case, the general task is S1, the worker is S2, and the overallperformance is the field. For example, a collection or group of employees could be the tools,with each carrying out a specific action. This would be fed forward to other employees withinthis work chain. The task represents the object itself and is recognized at the end of the process.Problem # 1 Results and Interpretation Our first case to be observed has a Process Streamlining vs. Increased Approvalscontradiction. When addressing this case problem, we will utilize four TRIZ steps. Our IFR willbe to allow a worker to perform all necessary actions of his job, therefore streamlining theprocess completely. The first step is to ascertain what actual Improving Feature and Worsening Feature bestfits this scenario. In this case, it seemed appropriate the Improving Feature is Productivity, andthe Worsening Feature is Loss of Information. The assumption I am making here is that productivity would be enhanced when a workeris given more control and empowerment. Additionally, loss of information would happen whenthose in the approval string are regularly cut out of the process and have no idea what is goingon. This lack of information definitely translates into a worsening feature. Next, we want to collect the solution to the contradiction using TRIZ tools. Theintersection of the two features yields the suggestions to be followed. The generic solutionsprovided by the website matrix are as follows: Dynamics, The Other Way Around, andFeedback.
  21. 21. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 21 Now that we have the generic “results”, interpretation from a somewhat-engineering-typeexplanation to a useable business solution is next. Below, we will translate theserecommendations above into the ensuing referenced solution. First, we examine the recommended action of The Other Way Around. Just as the nameimplies, this principle is about doing the opposite of the standard, reversing things, and flippingthings over (Fabrega, 2012). This can be effectively used in a business situation. Some examples are as follows(Fabrega, 2012): • Usually, walkways are still and people move on them. In many airports, people have towalk long distances in order to get from one terminal to another. Therefore, these airports dothings the other way around, the people stand still while the walkway moves. • Think of a television program that starts with a person standing in an elevator coveredin blood and holding a knife, and then takes you back in time and tells you the story of how thatperson ended up in that condition. • Start selling a product before you build it, and then use the revenue from the sales tobuild the product. Secondly, we will look at the suggested solution of Feedback. Just as one might think,the avenue to take here is collection and information gathering regarding the process.Subsequently, adjustments can be made using the information gathered. Feedback can becollected from both groups (the worker and the management). This platform would lend itself totweaking the process to make it more effective.
  22. 22. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 22 Feedback does not need to be limited to a scheduled time. It can happen when it is themost appropriate—either at the time feedback is required, or at a later period. Feedback donewhen a task has just been completed is always the best (Lawrence, 2011). Thirdly, we examine the suggested contradiction-solving principle of Dynamics. One ofthe ways to approach this situation is, if an object (or process) is rigid or inflexible, to make itmovable or adaptive (Courts, 2010). This can mean any type of change in the actual make-up ofthe process in question. This scenario also seems to advocate the application of separationprinciples to take care of the contradiction. Perhaps, in this case, the overall problem or process can be divided into smaller portionsto allow for a more successful result. One example is a new technology that allows advertisers to shine images on the side of abuilding. The dynamic aspect of the technology lies in the owner’s ability to change theadvertising on the fly. The ad is projected on the building by a software program and a projector.One click of the mouse and the ad is changed (Fox, 2012).Problem #2 The second problem selected actually comes from an issue some workers have with theirsupervisors. Being the demanding boss that they are, they always seem to want employees tospeed up the work process to get results completed earlier—of course, without losing accuracy.The two seemed not to go hand in hand, so often workers struggle to make this expectation areality. This was tested in the workplace in the financial close process.
  23. 23. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 23 With the definite contradiction identified, Speed was obviously the improving featurewhereas I felt the most appropriate worsening feature to choose was Reliability. After all, therationale is that, when gaining this speed, something in content reliability will undoubtedly belost. In this second problem, the Su-Field analysis again consists of the worker is S2 and thetask is S1. The performance is the field. Just as in our first problem, the tool is the worker, theobject is the task, and the action is the performance and completion of the task.Problem #2 Results and Interpretation In beginning to solve this new problem, we will start with identifying the contradictionand IFR. In the present author’s opinion, the IFR would be: an enormous amount of speedwould be added to a process so that the task can be completed very quickly. On the other hand,the contradiction would be that Increasing Speed would reduce the Reliability of the informationgathered (in this case, during financial close). Speed is the Improving Feature in this scenario. Additionally, more speed translates intoSpeed (or number 9 on our TRIZ matrix). This situation is actually straightforward, as speed iswhat we are after as the improving feature. The Worsening Feature is Reliability. Obviously, (as mentioned earlier) when increasedand improved speed is recognized, the overall reliability levels seem to tail off. The number forthis on our TRIZ Matrix is 27, Reliability. This attribute translates to the decrease in reliabilityas speed is increased, and the worker(s) in question perform(s) the task in a complete start-to-finish fashion.
  24. 24. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 24 Then, as we did in our first problem, we must analyze this generic contradiction using ourgiven TRIZ tools. Again, the www.triz40.com website and the contradiction matrix are used tohelp solve the problem. In utilizing the site to gain the solutions, the following suggestions aremade: The generic solutions suggested by the matrix, in the form of specific inventive principals,are as follows: Parameter Changes, Beforehand Cushioning, Cheap Short-Living Objects, andMechanics Substitution. These were all were given by the combination of the improving featureof speed and the worsening feature of reliability. We are again then tasked with the translation of these somewhat broad TRIZ solutionsinto a business-related solution that works for the problem at hand. Specifically, we will lookinto each of the suggested inventive principles and attempt to determine if they propose apromising precise solution. In this case, one of the suggested inventive principles is Parameter Changes. Accordingto Fox (2008), the principle of Parameter Change is usually applied in one of four ways: 1. Change an object’s physical state to a gas, liquid, or solid, a (e.g., freeze the liquidcenters of candies and then dip the centers in melted chocolate, rather than handling the messy,gooey, hot liquid). 2. Change the concentration or consistency, a (e.g., liquid soup is more concentratedthan bar soap, makes it easier to dispense in the correct amount, and is more sanitary whenshared by more than one person). 3. Change the degree of flexibility, a (e.g., vulcanize rubber to change its flexibility anddurability).
  25. 25. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 25 4. Change the temperature, a (e.g., lower the temperature of medical specimens topreserve them for later analysis). Taken in the context of a business solution, the flexibility option suggested by numberthree above seems important. Different constraints can be applied to speed, and differentdefinitions of reliability can be explored. In other words, perhaps other external forces bring thesolution forward by essentially changing the aforementioned degree of flexibility. The next suggested solution/inventive principle in this case is Beforehand Cushioning,which incorporates preparing emergency means beforehand to compensate for the relatively lowreliability of an object (Courts, 2010). In the case of my CFO wanting his financial closenumbers quicker, he could have notified the board of directors of the challenges we have in casethe deadlines are not met. Additionally, all pre-closing items that can be completed should beinvestigated and started as soon as possible to get a “jump” on closing in this matter. In properbeforehand cushioning, a company should establish appropriate back-ups for businessinterruption and contingency planning (Retseptor, 2012). The third suggested inventive principle in this case is Cheap Short-Living Objects. Thisconcept, in its literal form, follows along with the concept that when something is relativelyexpensive or causes other problems, you might be able to replace it with something cheaper thatworks for the time being. This is a principle than has been used many times to create adisposable society. From Gillette’s razor blades onwards, many inventors have found that alucrative income can be created with cheap devices that people buy regularly (Trizsigma.com,2009).
  26. 26. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 26 At first glance, the suggested inventive principle of Cheap Short-Living Objects does notappear to have a useful application in this business-related problem, and so one would generallythink it is non-applicable. Thinking outside the box, our case is about speed of workers vs.reliability, so, although very politically incorrect to speak this way, could the attitude ofmanagement not be to hire cheap labor and abuse them to get the results they want with nointention of retaining them and being completely complacent toward the idea of them leaving thecompany? The last applicable suggested inventive principle is Mechanics Substitution. In this case,we can see areas where there is a change from static to movable fields—from unstructured fieldsto those having structure (Courts, 2010). Mechanical inventors sometimes are trapped by theirdiscipline, and opportunities arise for those with knowledge of other subjects to improve thesystem. You can even replace physical systems with invisible effects—for example, replacingwheels on a train by a magnetic lift system (Trizsigma.com, 2009). In a business-oriented setting, adjustments can be made to do things differently. Whenrunning a financial close, there may be areas, where we can consolidate or separate items tomake the process run faster and smoother.Problem Conclusions In conclusion, engineers and technicians have had exposure to TRIZ to help them makedecisions. Professionals in the areas of accounting, management, finance, law, operationsmanagement, and corporate government often have had no exposure to TRIZ and have nevereven heard of Altshuller (Ezickson, 2005).
  27. 27. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 27 The inventive principles of TRIZ were helpful in the course of determining solutions tothe two problems addressed here. It was seen that that several TRIZ principles assisted in theprocess of indicating potential specific solutions that eventually approached an IFR. Some ofthese were Dynamics, The Other Way Around, Feedback, Parameter Changes, BeforehandCushioning, Cheap Short-Living Objects, and Mechanics Substitution. Because of these, thecontradictions I started with were broken down satisfactorily into problem solutions. I have learned through these two business problems and have been able to see that TRIZis of use in solving problems in the business workplace. I also have been able to see that TRIZtranslates for many everyday real-world business problems. I have found the ContradictionMatrix used to discover possible approaches to finding specific solutions very interesting andthought provoking. Overall, this problem-solving scenario and its TRIZ solutions were extremely useful tomy workplace. When applied in my dilemmas, we were actually able to speed up our financialclose process in the speed vs. accuracy problem. I would assert that a large portion of thissuccess relates to the decision-making assistance we received from TRIZ. The improvementsmay not all be directly related to the tweaking we did on this project; nevertheless, we appear tobe on the correct path. In addition, I suspect that the speed vs. reliability challenge could be along-term problem for many companies. In addition, our goal to cut back on approvals to streamline processes looked like itenjoyed some success. It was more difficult to ascertain just how much improvement we couldclaim in this area as our company is large and tends to have significant turnover. Hence, withthese types of changes, there is a need for “policing” to make them work. There is a natural needto have information in our business, so cutting back approvals and losing information is a
  28. 28. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 28sensitive topic. We were, however, able to streamline our purchase order process in the front-end requisition stage because of cutting back approvals. As long as they are in place, the workplace solutions will be contributing towards theIFR. Since we seldom achieve perfection, heading in the correct direction, in my opinion,becomes paramount. I would argue that in both our real-world examples we are doing so.Observations and Comments The business world is extremely dynamic and fast: information technology and globalnetworking eliminate borders that we use to keep businesses comfortable, the market demandsbetter services, and competition even between small companies are moving to a global scale.Innovation is an area where there is seemingly no guidance. In search for a solution, more andmore business people turn their attention to TRIZ (Souchkov, 2007). I learned from my studies and readings that TRIZ was primarily useful for engineeringproblems. Without knowing any more than that, I originally believed TRIZ was probably somecomplicated formula-driven problem solving tool that would be inaccessible to a novice. The whole notion of Genrich Altshuller reviewing through a colossal amount of patentsin his job as a patent examiner seemed a bit suspect to me, as there is very little control involvedwhen one person is in charge of such studies. Additionally, I was perplexed as to how this TRIZmethod worked and how we were going to use this for solving business problems. I was surprised once I began actively using the TRIZ contradiction matrix to solvebusiness problems I have encountered. Along the way, I increased my understanding.Reflecting back on scenarios in my past where there were problems and dilemmas, and seeingsuggestions on how to deal with these, has become quite enlightening.
  29. 29. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 29 To summarize, I now not only understand how to use TRIZ for problem solving, but whywe would do so. I would recommend the assistance the contradiction matrix could offer infuture problem situations. My initial concerns and fear regarding TRIZ were unwarranted, as Inow realize the significance and worth of the problem solving process not only for engineeringbut for business as well.Conclusion/TRIZ Future Problem solving and innovation for business problems are still considered a strategicdecision making process for organizations, with emphasis given to the immediate solutionsneeding to be generated. Although these processes follow certain techniques and tools, theamount of data and convergence thinking may dominate the entire solution generation process.There is increasing stress being put to bring structure to the process of problem solving asorganizations focus on the re-usability of the structure for similar situations (Kappoth, Mittal, &Balasubramanian, 2008). Moving into the future, I believe a more concise TRIZ contradiction matrix catering tothe business world would be useful. A developer could tailor the generic solutions to thebusiness environment. While Genrich Altshuller developed the contradiction matrix fortechnology and engineering, Darrell Mann recently developed a contradiction matrix for TRIZ inbusiness and management. Overall, the future of TRIZ appears to be bright. The official website for The AltshullerInstitute for TRIZ studies is currently piecing together a certification process for TRIZ users.The institute, led by Education Director Victor Fey, feels strongly that certification adds interestto new TRIZ users because there is something tangible that they can achieve, and there is roomto progress. Secondly, certification is essential to legitimize the methodology because it will
  30. 30. June 24, 2012 Capstone Project Dale Pithers 30become apparent that someone with more TRIZ training is likely to be able to solve problemsmore effectively and efficiently. Thirdly, companies require a simple means to evaluate howproficient a potential or current employee is in utilizing the TRIZ methodology (Aitriz.org,2012). Additionally, certification must be defined by a universal set of guidelines so that termslike “TRIZ Apprentice” and “TRIZ Specialist” have the same meaning regardless of where theTRIZ user was trained. Therefore, a non-profit and global organization, such as the AltshullerInstitute, must spearhead this initiative (Aitriz.org, 2012). From an academic standpoint, more colleges and universities have been offering coursesin TRIZ. Some websites offer what they refer to as expert TRIZ training, and one states theirofferings as follows: “A typical couple days of TRIZ workshops give you an opportunity to getsome knowledge about TRIZ but, unfortunately, it is not enough to give you a chance to useTRIZ in your practice. Existing software does not help either - the programs were created forpeople who already knew TRIZ. Several years of our TRIZ teaching experience show thatmastering this methodology requires serious training” (Trizexperts.net, 2012). The exposure gained in the academic arena will further solidify the standing of the TRIZmethods within that area. Just a few of the universities and colleges featuring TRIZ offerings areas follows: University of Phoenix, DeVry University, Aspen University, and even HarvardUniversity. As time goes by, TRIZ will become more familiar in the United States. As this happens,I predict TRIZ will achieve the recognition and support it deserves in both academia and inbusiness.
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