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5.3. Simplifying TRIZ Principles


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 5. Basic TRIZ > 5.3. Simplifying TRIZ Principles

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We can reconstruct the 40 Principles of TRIZ to fit into a small number of groups and in doing so help you think about how they work. However, be aware that any grouping of this kind potentially simplifies to the point where something may be missing. If our grouping does not work well on a problem then go back to the original list.

Some Principles look like they may fall into two groups. Where this is true we have chosen what we found to be the most obvious group. For example, one might argue that use of composite material is about changing the physical structure rather than the chemical structure.

Try to see how these principles work together to solve problems. What you are doing is solving the problem by managing the action as it occurs, managing the time that things occur, designing how parts work together (as place or shape or structure) and how much action you get for your money (chemical action). If you can see these generalities then you can put them together in combinations which should lead to novel solutions.

Any of the groups may yield a solution to a problem as there are many ways to crack an egg. To crack an egg you can use Time (quickly) Shape (thin blade), Chemical Action (Phase Transition with lasers.), Place (slice off the top) and Physical structure (Porosity/Local Quality: suck the egg out).

Generic principles

Let us start with the group of Principles which are so generic that they apply to any situation, not just technology.

The Generic Principles are: Combination, Universality, Counterweight, Prior counteraction, Inversion, Partial, overdone or excessive action, Convert harm to benefit, Feedback, Self-service, Copying, Inexpensive short life, Inert environment (5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 16, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 39).

These portray how we manage the action we have. If we wanted to manage the work of a football team all these could come into play. They suggest we consider ways of managing the interaction of the parts and the whole. They therefore can be used for any problem you want to solve. They are about protecting, controlling, and managing the environment.

Time principles

The principles for time are: Extraction, Prior action, Cushion in advance, Dynamicity, Mechanical vibration, Periodic action, Continuity of useful action, Rushing through, Rejecting and regenerating parts (2, 10, 11, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 34). These all suggest you consider when something is going to happen and how fast.

They are also fairly generic in that they can be applied to business or even planning a holiday. But they are placed in this group to help you think through all your time options.

Shape principles

There are three shape principles: Asymmetry, Spheroidality and Thermal expansion (4, 14, 37).

Take any parameter or feature of your device and think about how you can change its shape to a more complex shape along one two or three dimensions, and you can do this as it operates by thermal expansion.

These are more technological in nature but with a bit of imagination you can see parallels with more general problems. For example, what would an asymmetric policy for answering customer calls be?

Place principles

The two Place Principles are: Equipotentiality and Move to a New Dimension. (12 and 17). These suggest doing something where it is already or doing it in a different direction.

Physical Structure principles

The Physical Structure Principles areare: Segmentation, Local quality, Nesting, Mediator, Replacement of a mechanical system, Use pneumatic or hydraulic systems, Flexible film or thin membranes, Use of porous materials, Changing the colour, Homogeneity (1, 3, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33).

These are all about how the various parts interact themselves (as opposed to how we manage their interaction in the Generic Group). They interact according to their properties (including colour) and the way they are connected.

Chemical Structure principles

The Chemical Structure Principles areare: Transforming physical or chemical states, Phase transition, Use strong oxidisers, Composite materials (35, 36, 38, 40).

They suggest changing how something is working by changing their chemical activity (what is happening via the bonds they form).

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