TRIZCON2000: Conference Report

Ellen Domb and Michael Slocum

Monday, May 1

More than 100 people from the US, Canada, the UK, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Mexico, Austria, France and Germany gathered in New Hampshire this week for TRIZCON2000, the second conference of the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies. The TRIZ Journal was a sponsor of the conference, among a distinguished group that included the Ford Motor Company, Invention Machine Corporation, Ideation International, Focus New Hampshire Institute, the Technical Innovation Center, Responsible Management, DEKA Research and Development, Aerovironment, the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, and the Inventors Digest. Editors Ellen Domb and Michael Slocum had the opportunity to put on their other “hats” as TRIZ consultants and TRIZ researchers and present papers and participate in the learning at the conference.

Larry Smith, Acting President of the Altshuller Institute, opened the conference with a message from the International TRIZ Society congratulating the Altshuller Institute. Larry, Richard Langevin and Steven Rodman gave us personal and professional tributes to Lev Shulyak, founder of the Altshuller Institute, who passed away this year. Lev’s work to bring TRIZ to the US, and Lev’s vision in creating the Altshuller Institute were brought alive for the conference participants.

Conference chairman Jim Boynton welcomed the press-reporters from the New York Times, Boston Globe, Worcester Business Journal, The Nashua Sun, OEM Magazine, New Hampshire Magazine, and Nikkei Publications, WMUR TV, NPR radio of Worcester and NH were present, and actively participated in the conference.

The keynote speaker, Paul MacCready, is a world-renowned engineer and inventor, perhaps best known as the “Father of Human-powered Flight.” MacCready spoke at the McAuliffe Museum and the Boston Museum of Science under the AI sponsorship on Saturday, was a student in the tutorial session on Sunday, then gave the keynote address on Monday morning, and the dinner speech Monday night! He told reporters “If I knew then what I know now about TRIZ, I could have built the Gossamer Condor in 6 months instead of 18 months!” His video, “Doing more with less” built on the theme that as the world population increases, it will be necessary to do much more with fewer resources, and his talk illustrated that if you focus on goals of super-efficiency, uninhibited initially by practical constraints, in a very few years you can do very practical, commercially useful developments. The human powered flights were pioneering developments of light weight and efficient power technologies, that have led to solar-powered aircraft, and automobiles, a 2 ounce surveillance aircraft, a 65,000 ft. aircraft that will remain aloft for 100 days at a time for research and communications, and vans and buses that can drive 300 miles/day on 10 minutes of charging. The one gram flying ornithopter was demonstrated at dinner, and Dr. MacCready used it to show how the seemingly impractical work is necessary to start the work that becomes the technology of the future. He integrated his knowledge of thinking skills and how the brain works into his knowledge of technology development and his concern for the absence of teaching these skills in the schools.

His goal is “The world should be desirable and sustainable when my kids reach my age.” The apparent impossibility does not discourage him: MacCready emphasized that Altshuller’s work with children matches his own attempts to find out how to “liberate” young minds from the constraints of school so that they can solve the problems of the future.

Tuesday, May 2

Mr. Doug Field, Chief Engineer at DEKA Research and Development, gave the keynote presentation. The INDEPENDENCE 3000 IBOT Transporter (figure 1, standard function, <>) was showcased during the lecture as an example of what can be accomplished by focused creative effort.

Figure 1.0

Dr. Domb presented her paper on TRIZ in the Six Sigma Company. Dr. Slocum presented on the work he and Dr. Tim Clapp have conducted at North Carolina State University. There where approximately 30 technical presentations during the two days of the general conference. During the balance of the year the TRIZ Journal will be reprinting papers from the conference proceedings. The media extensively interviewed Drs. Slocum and Clapp during the conference and it will be interesting to see what publicity TRIZ will receive due to this. The media seemed to be very excited about what they saw and heard.