Innovation on demand describes a highly useful methodology for systematic technological innovation. TRIZ stands for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving which is a translation of Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadach. Basic tools and applications of TRIZcan be applied to the conceptual development of high-level technologies, new products, and manufacturing processes. This book is a must read for practicing engineers who carry out duties such as design, shop floor administration and R and D activities.
TRIZ approaches often leads to discovering of strategic opportunities that technology managers can highly apply to develop new products and processes, proper organizational structures and novel services. Genrikh Altshuller, from the Soviet Union was the first to come up with TRIZ when he was still in high school in 1946. It was applied extensively in the Soviet defense and space industry whereby engineers were able to overcome difficulties in technology while maintaining an efficient economic system. Its availability was highly suppressed and it was unknown in America. In 1984, Gordon and Breach attempted to translate Altshuller’s work and consequently published Creativity as an Exact Science. Its poor translation made a poor read hence a poor impact. In 1991, Invention Machine Corporation developed a TRIZ-based software package which entailed a series of problem solving analogies. It was displayed in New York. This package failed to reveal the extensive thought processes behind TRIZ, which the manufacturers were unfamiliar with and was required in applying the same in solving technology issues. Hence the power in this methodology was not fully realized.
Proper exposure to the methodology was initiated by the Russian immigrants in the 1990s who set up consulting companies in the West and were in collaboration with Altshuller. They applied the principles in training clients and coming up with solutions for their clients; companies. As a result of these efforts, leading companies in the U.S. have reported significant benefits from the application of these fundamentals.
In 1993, Wayne State University in Detroit officially started teaching these fundamentals after modifying them to suit various audiences. This book covers the basic tools concepts and of contemporary TRIZ. The only reason for defining any subject is to determine whether TRIZ can be used. Real-life situations are then used to illustrate these concepts based on patented inventions made with the help of TRIZ.
TRIZ has evolved over time to contain numerous problem analysis techniques and concept generation tools. This book covers formalized powerful tools like ideality tactics, the sufield analysis, definition of principles, and ARIZ have been tackled extensively. Major non-formalized methods discussed are the cost, size and time method and the system operator. It covers two basic principles that are of high interest to engineers and technologists which are: The improvement of technologies and products already in use by use of problem-solving techniques and the development of future generation technologies, products and manufacturing processes through technological forecasting. TRIZ has been extensively used in these basic activities. TRIZ has been widely used in the development of various software packages and generation of libraries that contain good design concepts based on various engineering domains. Finite element analysis (FEA) packages are used in treating a huge variety of stress and strain problems. The results, however, can be applicable or inapplicable depending on the studies carried on the analyzed problem constructed by FEA.
Fey and Rivin focus their work on engineering methodology and do not address contributions from other related areas such as marketing, packaging innovations or operations. Likewise, the use of the phrase on demand in the title should not be interpreted as a guarantee of timely results rather it is a systematic approach to achieving better engineering solutions. This book is true to the first and most fundamental principles of TRIZ and even the section on the formulation of functions advocates a disciplined approach. For example the common formulation “hot air dries hair” is replaced with the correct formulation “hot air evaporates water” on page 15.
The objective of Chapter 1 is to show the need to replace random innovation with systematic innovation due to the shortcomings of the former. TRIZ provides systematic innovation by employing numerous methods for overcoming system conflicts instead of making tradeoffs. These breaks down into two major subcategories according to the laws of technological system evolution which are a set of methodologies on the development of conceptual system designs and a set of tools for identifying and developing of future technologies on page 8. Chapters 2 and 3 provide a variety of ideal systems, physical contradiction, and sufield analysis which entails solution and field of application. Chapter 4 introduces ARIZ which involves algorithm for inventive problem solving, which is the most powerful tool for problem root-cause analysis and solutions proposal in modern TRIZ on page 83.The major aims of ARIZ are problem formulation, breaking psychological inertia, and combining various tools of TRIZ in order to come up with an applicable solution.
Chapter 4 explains the nine laws of technological system evolution which can be used to efficiently develop novel technologies and products, to objectively assess the potential business value of the systems designed and predict the systems that competitors shall implemented. These laws are: Increasing Degree of Ideality, Non-Uniform Evolution of Sub-Systems, Transition to a Higher-Level System, Increasing Flexibility, Shortening of Energy Flow Path and Transition from Macro- to Micro-Level. Fey and Rivin caution that these laws don’t work independently but are intertwined so as to come up with a complex solution. Chapter 6 discusses TechNav – a comprehensive process for the conceptual development of future technologies and products based on rules and laws of technological system evolution and business analysis. These phases are analysis, determination of high potential innovations, concept development, and concept selection and technology plan. A five level distribution of inventions by novelty level is proposed. In this system, inventions still being engineered account for less than five percent of all inventions.
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