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Application of the 40 inventive principles

TRIZ’s 40 principles of innovation stem from a comprehensive analysis of several hundred thousand breakthrough patents, starting in the 1960s and continuing to the present day. The patent analysis showed that breakthrough solutions in different industries could be traced back to recurring, general solution strategies, named the 40 Inventive Principles.

For example, in order to improve the performance of a transistor without worsening energy consumption, the three-dimensional 3D trigate transistors were developed instead of planar transistors. The strategy on which this development is based can be found in Principle 17: Higher dimensions (or 1D-2D-3D). The same strategy was also used for jet engines: How should you increase performance without reducing noise emissions? One solution for the jet engine is the so-called „chevron nozzle“, in which the outlet contour is no longer circular (ie 2-dimensional), but resembles a serrated contour (3D).

It is surprising that the 40 Inventive Principles have so far been sufficient to describe breakthrough solutions across industries even to this day! The conclusion is that these strategies will help to solve difficult tasks, so-called inventive problems, in the future as well.

If you want to know more, have a look at or learn the theory of inventive problem solving TRIZ in our introductory seminars.

Die Innovationsprinzipien können sehr gut als schnelle und einfache Anreize in Ideenfindungs-Sessions genutzt werden. Unabhängig von der Aufgabe oder Fragestellung gibt der Moderator immer wieder nach Belieben eines der Prinzipien als „Reizwort“ in die Runde. Bei Bedarf werden die Erläuterungen (Unterpunkte a) b) etc.) der Prinzipien ins Spiel gebracht und die assoziierten Ideen und Gedanken notiert. Für jedes Prinzip sollte ausreichend Zeit zum Nachdenken und Assoziieren gegeben werden. Auch sollte es nicht bei einer Idee pro Prinzip bleiben, sondern weitere Alternativen, Assoziationen und Erweiterungen zu den schon notierten Ideen ergänzt werden.

„Wie können wir ein Flipchart verbessern?“

Prinzip 1, Zerlegung/Segmentierung
Ideen: Flipchart zum leichten Auseinanderbauen, modular für verschiedene Anwendungen (Beamerleinwand, Tisch, Flipchart,…)

Prinzip 25, Selbstbedienung
Ideen: Beschreibbare Wände statt Flipchart (Raum selbst ist das Flipchart), Flipchart reinigt sich „von selbst“, Flipchart-Papier ist selbst Halter/Ständer,…

Prinzip 29, Pneumo-/Hydrokonstruktionen
Ideen: Mobiles Flipchart zum „Aufblasen“,…

The innovation principles can be used very well as quick and easy inspirations in brainstorming sessions. Regardless of the task or question, the moderator can just throw in one of the principles as a „stimulus word“ to the group. If necessary, the explanations (sub-items a) b) etc.) of the principles are brought into play. Note all associated ideas and thoughts that come into mind. There should be enough time given for each principle to think and associate. Aso, don’t stop too soon- rather than „one idea per principle“, always try to expand your thinking to get to other alternatives, associations and extensions to the ideas already noted.

„How can we improve a flipchart?“

Principle 1, disassembly / segmentation
Ideas: flipchart for easy disassembly, modular for different applications (projector screen, table, flipchart, …)

Principle 25, self-service
Ideas: writable walls instead of flipchart (room itself is the flipchart), flipchart cleans itself, flipchart paper itself is holder / stand, …

Principle 29, pneumatic / hydraulic structures
Ideas: Mobile flipchart is „inflateable“, …

In the analyzed patents, some solution strategies across a wide range of industries appeared particularly frequently. We can use this frequency distribution of the innovation principles and limit ourselves to the principles that most often lead to breakthrough solutions for tricky problems in our brainstorming sessions. Start with the most common principle and gradually go through the list. Here, too, take care that enough time is given to think and interpret the respective principle of innovation.

List of principles, organized by frequency of use:

35 Property change
10 early action
1 segmentation
28 Replace mechanics
2 partition
15 Dynamization
19 periodic effect
18 mechanical vibration
32 color change
13 reversal
26 Copy
3 local quality
27 cheap short life
29 Pneumatics and hydraulics
34 Disposal and regeneration
16 partial or excess effect
40 composite material
24 mediator, mediator
17 higher dimension
6 universality
14 curvature
22 Converting harmful into useful
39 inert medium
4 asymmetry
30 flexible sleeves and films
37 Thermal expansion
36 phase transition
25 Self-sufficiency
11 Preventive Action
31 porous materials
38 strong oxidizing agent
8 counterweight
5 clubs
7 nesting
21 Skip
23 Feedback
12 equipotential
33 homogeneity
9 early counteraction
20 continuity

A problem-oriented application of the 40 innovation principles is to use the TRIZ contradiction matrix (here an online version).

This application option requires a systematic approach.

Formulate the contradiction contained in a problem in the form if … then … but …

If … the fan speed is increased
then … the electronics are cooled better
but … the noise is getting worse

In the contradiction matrix, select the terms from the technical parameters in the first row or first column that best match the descriptions under „then …“ and „but …“. Go with the parameter for the „then …“ description in the row for the parameter to be improved and with the parameter for the „but …“ description in the column for the „deteriorating parameter“.

then … the electronics are cooled better -> parameter 17, temperature (classic contradiction matrix according to G. Altshuller)
but … the noise development gets worse -> parameter 31, Harmful factors generated by the object itself (classic contradiction matrix according to G. Altshuller)

Note the numbers found at the intersection of the two parameters. These represent the innovation principles that were used by inventors in the past to resolve the general contradiction between e.g. Dissolve temperature and generated harmful factors.

To be improved: 17, temperature
Worsening: 31, Harmful factors generated by the object itself
Innovation principles at the intersection: 22, 35, 2, 24

Use the innovation principles found to find ideas and use any creativity techniques (brainstorming, brainwriting, gallery method, 6-3-5 etc.).

Principle 22: Conversion of harmful into useful – ideas: use sound waves from music for cooling, modify fan noise so that it sounds pleasant or calming …
Principle 35: change parameters, state of matter – ideas: water cooling instead of air cooling, make fan blades flexible to reduce air noise …
Principle 2: Principle of separation – ideas: move hot components to an uncritical outdoor area, move the fan to a „non-disturbing“, noise-insulated area …

If necessary, you can also invert the original „If … then … but … situation and still evaluate the innovation principles for the inverted contradiction.

If … the fan speed is reduced
then … the noise development gets better (to be improved: 31, harmful factors generated by the object itself)
but … the electronics overheat (deteriorating: 17, temperature).
Innovation principles: 22, 35, 2, 24 (in this case the same principles as the initial contradiction)

As a moderator for groups that are not TRIZ-trained, prepare the contradiction formulation in consultation with the problem owner and make a preselection of parameters and the principles found for them, which you will gradually include in the discussion of the solution to the „if. .. then … but … „.

Here you can find the current version of the contradiction matrix!

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