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12.5.1. TRIZ: Problem


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 12. The TAO Design Process > 12.5. The TRIZ Sequence > 2.5.1. TRIZ: Problem

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The first stage in the TRIZ sequence is to consider the problem. It is very easy to focus on the wrong problem and end up with a great solution that naturally does not fix the real problem.

Fig. 12.5 The TRIZ sequence

Look at how imperfect the things around you are. What is it that you dislike about these things? Are they too complicated? Are they too expensive? Do they really work well? What are their faults? List them.

Most products and devices have all kinds of parts which do not really deliver what you want but simply are there to compensate for some fault in the design. For example, an ideal table might be a table with no legs. The table top is what you want–the legs are there to keep it in place. A table top with no legs would be nearer to your ideal.

So far, you have probably only asked sensible questions, so now ask some stupid ones. This helps bring to mind some key factors which you may have overlooked. For example, what makes a car move? Is it the engine, the fuel, the battery, the spark, the driver, the wheels…? How about the road? Try imagining the car with the wheels not touching the road and you can see that the road is needed to make the car go forward, in current designs at least.

Keep questioning everything you see, hear and do. Why do we have a battery? Why do we have wheel nuts? Why do we have seats? Or get really silly! Why do we drive at 1 to 100 mph? Why not drive at 0.00001 mph? Why not drive at 1347.9 mph? What comes to mind when you start asking ever more silly questions?

Why do I write better in the summer? I often write outside–is it to do with light or greenery? What would summer-in-winter look like? Why can’t I bring outside inside?

Being curious, silly and playful can open many cans of squirming worms, all waiting for creative solutions.

Other parts of the TRIZ sequence are:

Other sections in this chapter are:

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