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Return of what in the world is triz?

When I made case for systematic innovation in consulting, I did not recommend any specific method set. The one that I am trained and have practiced is called TRIZ (aka TIPS/Theory of Inventive Problem Solving). Its basis is patents, it provides many methods to define a problem, find and resolve any of the 39 parameters trade offs / contradictions with 40 principles, recommend solutions for standard problems from its 76 solution portfolio, predict product/system from its 8 evolution trends. All the good things. From trizindia.org we have chatted on beginner questions to Dr Ellen Domb one of the few articulate world leaders in TRIZ based innovation as a podcast in 2 parts (Part 1 and part 2).

But it all comes with a few catches, if you cannot get the language of TRIZ, you cannot apply easily, if you do not apply you cannot learn, and if you never learn, you are always running short on good ideas. So really the facilitator’s role in TRIZ first is demystify, handhold in using the methods, never give out an idea even as an example, and mostly be silent, listen and ask questions. If the method is so systematic can I not get a machine to do all this in a flow, certainly possible and that route has been taken up by a few researchers.

As a leader it is necessary to make that time for your team to learn. And once that happens, some test the waters, some believe, some suspect, some ignore,

some really apply and when they do and get an idea that they never thought was possible beyond what was already told by the ‘resident genius’….. it starts to happen again and again.

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Trending innovation programs

TRIZ law of system completeness states simply that all systems needs an engine, transmission, tool and a control touching all the 3 to perform usefully. That is a heavy automobile metaphor to begin with and needs a translation to plain english and business. I will try to translate in stages, and then apply 2 other trends (again from the TRIZ portfolio) on the parts itself to see how we can forcefully evolve or design innovation programs.LawOfSystemCompleteness (1)

System Element
First translation
Second level translation to business
Engine source of raw power, muscle, energy Needs or wants in several spheres of customers, Investments that can give raw power ($, signals and time)
Transmission channel, deliver, route the energy Conveying need and investment to the tool which will actually create/generate solutions
Tool do the function, purposeful action, perform Performing the function ranging from solution generation, prototyping, testing solution, and finally delivering it to the customers
Control govern, command, supervise, moderate the parts above Governing all the above 3 through a system, process, or management structure

While we can recursively apply the completeness law to the parts also, it is not very useful for program design. So I will now go further with applying my 2 favorite trends

1. Transition to Super system and

2. Transition to micro-level.

System Element
Applying Transition to Micro level
Applying Transition to Super system
Needs or wants in several spheres of customers, Investments that can give raw power ($, signals and time)
  1. How can we find large number of small needs from the existing customer base?
  2. How can we make the investment size below a threshold (so no approval flows kick in)?
  3. How can we allow employee to invest in his own idea as money, time and effort?
  1.  Who is the customer’s customer, investor’s investor, director’s director, etc?
  2. Where are potential customers beyond who we are targeting now with the ideas?
  3. How can we translate external customer comments into needs? And those needs to demand?
Conveying need and investment to the tool which will actually create/generate solutions
  1. How can we convey needs from customers to large number of groups internally?
  2. How can our budgeting and investment management process allow money to flow into the small projects?
  3. How will customers test large number of potential solutions created from the small groups?
  1. How can we sell the value proposition of the idea for competition to invest?
  2. What are the need spheres of employees you can leverage like family, interests, networks, communities?
Performing the innovation function ranging from solution generation, prototyping, testing solution, and finally giving it to the customers
  1. How can time to prototype be reduced? 
  2. What ways exist to test the solution with many groups of users?
  3. How to deliver individual functions to many customers?
  4. How can we generate solutions that will need zero-minimal investments?
  1. What are the current start-ups with solutions already developed for the need?
  2. Are there academic interests around the need?
  3. Is there government funding available?
  4. How can we get from 1 large strategy to many small safe-fail experiments?
Governing all the above 3 through a system, process, or management structure
  1. Who all can be part of the governing structure?How can it be brought down to immediate reporting manager level?
  2. What processes need to be adaptive to allow small-scale governance?
  3. How can quarterly reporting be made bi-weekly reporting?
  4. How can data be collected automatically to report continuously?
  5. How can the steering committee be forced to look at large number of ideas?

 

 ….

It is now possible to look at different open innovation programs and see which trend became true and how their application is. May be in another post soon…

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Confession Innovation or Confession Problem Solving

Confession Innovation or Confession Problem Solving.
The core idea here as Isak Bukhman puts it “problems are secret”, so we cannot ever solicit people to share their problems in public. It never works.

So create a confession booth, no need for an overly engineered one, but just enough to ensure we cannot spot whose problem it is and who is trying to solve it. As usual the problem goes through the regular series of problem solving stages of TRIZ.

I was even thinking of a series of confession booths like an assembly line.

One difficulty I foresee is continuity from stand to stand, but it can easily solved by grouping the stands in a circular fashion or forwarding a cryptic message to the next stand etc.

At the end of the booths we can even have a box for donations 🙂 for delivering a special prayer to Almighty Bob.

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