By Boris Zlotin, Alla Zusman, Len Kaplan, Svetlana
Visnepolschi, Vladimir Proseanic and Sergey Malkin1
Ideation International Inc
© 1999 Ideation International Inc.
During the 1970s and 1980s, attempts to apply TRIZ to management and administration problems were entertained on occasion by several TRIZ specialists, primarily for the purpose of enhancing various manufacturing processes. Efforts in this area were limited, however, because in the communist Soviet Union, the privilege of making business decisions belonged to people who had no interest in TRIZ. Moreover, there was no chance whatsoever of launching a private business. The situation changed dramatically with the onset of the Russian “acceleration of technical progress” (the so-called pre-perestroika) and then perestroika; together these programs served to stimulate the use of TRIZ in technological areas. But within a few years the deteriorating economic situation had driven most industries into a deep crisis, virtually eliminating any chance of making a living by solving technical problems. Yet at the same time these conditions gave rise to new opportunities for quickly accumulating successful experiences in working with new commercial (mostly trade) organizations in the areas of business, management, politics, advertising, etc.
When we established Ideation International in 1992, we knew that the highest return on our investment (in terms of time and money) would be achieved by applying TRIZ to business and management rather than technology. But we restricted ourselves to technology because the notion that Russians could teach Americans anything about business sounded absurd. We therefore decided to introduce TRIZ in its “traditional” arena first to prove that a science capable of solving technical problems in a structured, systematic way did in fact exist. Then, when the time was right and TRIZ had established a solid reputation, we would move into the areas of management, business, education, etc.
Today, with TRIZ known in more than 25 countries, taught in 35 universities around the world, and with hundreds of TRIZ sites on the Internet, we believe that finally the time is right.
For over four decades, non-technical applications were not the primary focus of TRIZ. Nonetheless, a great deal of research was conducted and many papers written (the majority of which remain untranslated) on these applications. This paper represents an attempt to share the wealth of information, research findings, and experiences that have been gained over the last 25 years in applying TRIZ to non-technical areas. We have documented numerous facts and events based on available sources (books, papers, manuscripts, correspondence, etc.) and on the recollections of the TRIZ scientists involved. For obvious reasons, we cannot claim that our review is an exhaustive one, but we believe it is fairly comprehensive as it is based on the following:
Chapter 1. Historical review and the theoretical foundation for expanding TRIZ into non-technical areas
Why TRIZ is applicable in non-technical areas
It is well known that Genrich Altshuller began developing TRIZ as a pure engineering science, based on the statistical research of patents and other sources of technical information. The goal of his research was to reveal the “patterns of innovation” so that they could be exploited for the purpose of advancing technological systems. Ultimately, Altshuller established a procedure for developing a methodology for creative problem solving, as follows:
Since then, the following additional steps have been formulated:
In the area of problem solving:
In the area of “patterns of evolution”:
The above procedure, though not published in this format by Altshuller, was for the most part repeatedly addressed by him in numerous seminars and discussions; these steps are also readily seen in his work. Even more significant, however, is that this approach has been applied numerous times in the technological realm - and with great success.
During the early stages in the development of TRIZ, examples of successful attempts to apply selected TRIZ tools and approaches to non-technical areas started to accumulate. TRIZ educators began, in a systematic manner, to address their students’ attempts to apply knowledge gained from TRIZ to various problems, in particular3:
By the early 1980s, a substantial number of successful TRIZ applications in non-technical areas had been achieved. Several papers were written describing attempts to find similarities in different areas (for example, demonstrating the parallels between contradictions in technology and in the evolution of science)4. However, Altshuller repeatedly warned against such hasty “reassignments,” insisting that the same procedure (especially the first four steps) that he had established for the development of TRIZ be followed.
One of the most serious problems was associated with the first step, that is, accumulating creative solutions in the given area. Altshuller was fortunate in starting with technology as it was the only area with a well-documented and comprehensive source of solutions (the patent library). Collecting creative solutions in other areas with sufficient completeness would likely have taken decades given the human and financial resources available at the time.
Between 1982 and 1984 Boris Zlotin and Alla Zusman, who were investigating the possibilities for expanding TRIZ, analyzed the existing cases where TRIZ tools were applied to non-technical problems. As described in our previous publications, TRIZ offers two types of tools5:
In addition, TRIZ included several so-called “psychological operators”6 that facilitated the creative process.
Zlotin and Zusman’s analysis resulted in the following conclusions:
On the basis of the above conclusions, the following approach was developed to address problem solving and system evolution in non-technical areas:
This approach substantially accelerated the expansion of TRIZ and provided a common basis for problem solving in the following areas.
Enhancing the creative imagination, and TRIZ in the arts
It is significant that for most of his life, Altshuller did not capitalize on his work with TRIZ, nor was TRIZ supported by the Soviet government or academia11. From the mid-1950s, Altshuller’s main source of income was writing science fiction12. Working in parallel on TRIZ and science fiction stories, Altshuller (not surprisingly) applied his TRIZ discoveries to the area of science fiction. Following the approach he had developed of amassing a library of solutions, he began collecting and updating a library of science fiction ideas, which eventually contained descriptions of approximately 20,000 science fiction situations. Similar to his Levels of Innovation, Altshuller created a system of classification for this library as well. He also studies the writings of several famous science fiction writers (H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, etc.) and proved that their fantasies had a higher percentage of realization than professional futurists.
As a result of these parallel efforts, Altshuller came to understand that reading, discussing and creating fantastic ideas is very useful in helping inventors increase their creative imagination. Based on the library of science fiction ideas, Altshuller developed several methods of enhancing creative imagination, along with a set of training exercises. These methods and exercises, together with the book Science Fiction for Engineers and Inventors (written by Altshuller’s student and colleague Pavel Amnuel) were distributed among leading TRIZ schools and specialists in the early 1970s between, and became the foundation for a course in Creative Imagination Enhancement (CIE).
Besides the study of methods based on science fiction, a typical CIE course contained special training for reducing psychological inertia (including Smart Little Creatures Modeling and Dimension-Time-Cost operators), and the systems approach (multi-screen creative thinking). These courses also entailed the study of famous artists13, writers and others.
In 1975-6, St. Petersburg TRIZ University14 offered the first CIE course for inventors. Besides material developed and recommended by Altshuller, this course contained a broader use of psychological approaches as well as new exercises and case studies. The first course was taught by Boris Zlotin15; the following year, one of Zlotin’s top students, Simon Litvin, began teaching the course. Together, Zlotin and Litvin developed new CIE course materials and published a paper16, and for many of the years that followed, Litvin was the university’s primary CIE teacher.
Later, many other schools began teaching CIE, adding to the course the application of TRIZ elements to non-technical situations (art, sport, human interaction, etc.). It became clear that TRIZ and the arts were mutually beneficial. Some TRIZ schools started including in their CIE courses tours in art museums, attendance at musical concerts, discussions of fiction, etc.
In 1978 Boris Zlotin taught a 120-hour course in creativity for journalists, using the CIE course as a foundation. To establish a method for evaluating the course, a set of high-validity psychological tests was developed that would measure each student’s creative capabilities before and after the course. This course included newly-developed techniques for generating ideas for stories, along with elegant analogies and other elements related to creativity in literature. These methods were later utilized by the authors and their colleagues.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Simon Litvin taught TRIZ and a CIE course to a group of leading Russian science fiction writers: Olga Larionova, Andrey Balabuha, Boris Strugatskiy, and others.
CIE was both educational and entertaining, and by the end of the 1970s had become a substantial part of TRIZ courses. But in 1980 at the first TRIZ conference for TRIZ developers, Altshuller appealed to the audience to “kill CIE.” His reason was that TRIZ was becoming an exact science, with its tools becoming more powerful and methodical, and thus there was no longer a need for “CIE crutches.”17 As a result of this discussion, the portion of CIE included in TRIZ courses was reduced. It remained, however, an important part of the TRIZ education for certain types of students, namely children and non-technical audiences.
In spite of his intentions to “kill” CIE, during the 1980s Altshuller developed several other CIE methods, including:
In addition to the CIE courses being taught, research was conducted by several TRIZ specialists in various areas of art and performance, including:
Extensive research was also conducted in the area of human interaction with pieces of art based on an approach similar to substance-field analysis by Juliy and Ingrid Murashkovski (who for many years taught TRIZ creativity methods to professional artists and architects). Their work included numerous illustrations, algorithms, case studies and other educational material.
TRIZ has accumulated a substantial amount of material useful in psychologically preparing an individual to become an inventor. This material is useful in enhancing analogical thinking skills, and can be an important asset to education.
Development of the creative personality23
In the early 1980s, TRIZ began to gain visibility, due in part to its connections with Value Engineering (which was supported by the Soviet government24). This publicity resulted in numerous seminars and workshops on TRIZ in which several thousand engineers were educated. But in spite of a rigorous (at least 50 hours) education in TRIZ, only a small percentage of students continued to apply TRIZ in their professional activities. This was extremely disappointing to Altshuller, who believed that everyone who learned TRIZ should become a lifetime fan and adopt the mission of disseminating TRIZ throughout the world. In an attempt to resolve this dilemma, Altshuller initiated a research effort in the mid-1980s, involving numerous TRIZ specialists and students in the collection and analysis of information about various creative individuals. The purpose of this research was to identify patterns in the formation of a creative personality that could be utilized to increase the effectiveness of TRIZ education. First were identified the following qualities necessary to become a lifetime creator:
Together with Igor Vertkin, Altshuller developed the Lifetime Strategy for a Creative Individual (LSCI), comprising effective actions recommended for an individual to develop and implement high-level creative goals. LSCI takes the form of a lifetime “game” between a creator and the “external environment” that counteracts the creative lifestyle and attempts to convert the inventor into a passive individual. The six creative qualities along with LSCI eventually resulted in a branch of TRIZ called the Theory of Building a Creative Personality (TBCP)25.
According to Altshuller’s usual approach of accumulating a relevant knowledge base, a substantial amount of information related to the lives of famous creative people - from Jesus to Lenin - has been amassed. Absent from this list, however, were contemporary successful business people, politicians, managers, and creators of huge political and financial empires such as Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, Lee Iacocca, and others. In fact, LSCI was based upon limited information regarding totalitarian or past societies (before the age of technology) where creative people were neglected or even despised. As a result, it reflected a tragic experience, which discouraged people from devoting their lives to creativity. Yet at the same time it was embraced by a certain type of pessimistic student, as it served to justify their negative experiences.
After the first version of LSCI was published, many TRIZ developers began independently conducting their own research in the area of creative accomplishment. Some results caused certain assumptions of LSCI to come into question, just as the following conclusions were made:
Beginning in the mid-1980s, Altshuller focused on TBCP, virtually abandoning all other TRIZ work. He considered this subject crucial for the survival of TRIZ, and recommended that related courses be introduced in all TRIZ schools and incorporated in the curriculum of independent TRIZ educators. The results of this promotion were controversial - the majority of students either completely or partially rejected Altshuller’s approach, and examples of its positive impact are few26.
For a time, the Kishinev TRIZ School presented LSCI within the context of safety instructions showing dangers that should be avoided and how this might be accomplished. Today, we view the subject as a part of more powerful approach, called Directed Evolution, that allows an individual to control his/her future27.
Today, it is clear that teaching creativity to children is one of the most significant directions taken by non-technical TRIZ. Altshuller (Altov) pioneered this endeavor in the mid-1970s with a permanent “inventor’s page” in the central Soviet children’s newspaper Pionerskaya Pravda (which had more than 5 million subscribers). Over 50 such pages offered educational material targeted to teenagers covering the basic TRIZ elements and including practice problems and inventor’s contests. Typically, between 10,000 to 20,000 responses were obtained per page, all of which were carefully analyzed by Altshuller and served as a source for the further development of TRIZ and for advancing the creative education of children. Eventually, these materials became the foundation for a book28.
During the 1970s, occasional seminars and classes for children (mostly teenagers) were conducted in various locations throughout the Soviet Union, and Atshuller’s inventor’s pages became the instructional materials for these. In 1982, regular classes were launched in Kishinev. Evgeniya Rabinovich, a manager at the Children Institute’s “Pioneers’ Palace,” organized a two-year TRIZ school which held one or two 4-hour classes each week (among the teachers were Boris Zlotin, Alla Zusman, Len Kaplan, Svetlana Visnepolschi, and Vladimir Oleynikov). An average class was composed of 15 to 25 children ranging in age from 10 to 16 years old. This school served as the foundation for a variety of work, among which resulted the following:
As mentioned earlier, the first attempts at teaching TRIZ to children mainly addressed students at the middle-school and high-school levels. In 1984, we made the first attempt to teach TRIZ to 6- and 7-year-olds with a year-long program held one hour per week at the elementary school. The experiment clearly showed that very young children can be successfully taught creativity if appropriate adjustments to the problems are made.
At the same time, we began a monthly publication for young children in the Moldovian newspaper Young Pioneer. Newspaper articles were written as a set31 of fairy tails portraying the adventures of a young boy named Peter and a wise inventor from ancient Greece named Daedalus. Daedalus worked as an all-knowing aide, helping inventors by guiding them through the right process and providing them with useful methods and principles.
In 1986 we started an experiment in which the TRIZ approach was used to teach conventional school subjects. The basic idea was quite simple: students acquired the necessary knowledge by solving interesting technical problems with the help of TRIZ tools. Using methods developed for solving scientific problems32, students were challenged to find explanations for simple physical experiments. Students who “invented” the Archimedes’ Law on their own found that this complex physical law was much easier to understand than if one had learned by reading a textbook33. And of course a side effect of this approach is that, together with the main subject, students learn the TRIZ basics.
The above experiments started with physics; later the same approach was used with chemistry, geography, history, literature and social sciences. Eventually, a book was compiled of TRIZ physics and chemistry lessons34. Materials for other subjects were prepared as well, but due to lack of time were never published.
In the 1980s and 90s many members of the Kishinev TRIZ school, along with TRIZ specialists from other cities in the former Soviet Union, were involved in teaching TRIZ to children. In the early 1980s, Len Kaplan became a full-time TRIZ teacher for a special organization devoted to disseminating and teaching technical innovations to children. Luba Begam (now in Israel), who had studied at the two-year TRIZ school mentioned earlier, became a professional TRIZ teacher. Michael Shusterman, together with his wife Zena, organized a special center in Norilsk for teaching TRIZ to 4- and 5-year-olds and their teachers35.
Sergey and Galina Malkin were teaching TRIZ in kindergarten where Galina (a biologist by education) was working as a teacher. Esther Zlotin and Vladimir Petrov taught TRIZ in St. Petersburg and later in Israel. A unique experience was gained by Alla Nesterenko from Petrozavodsk. As daughter of long-time TRIZ specialist Alexander Selutskiy, she became familiar with TRIZ from an early age; after graduation she became a teacher at an elementary school36.
In the early 1990s the economic situation in the former Soviet Union abruptly deteriorated, virtually ending all opportunities regarding technological TRIZ. As a result, the majority of TRIZ specialists switched to other areas (see below), and children’s education became one of the most powerful TRIZ applications. To the best of our knowledge, most of these organizations today are represented by TRIZ - Chance, which was organized by a highly-experienced TRIZ professional, Igor Vikentiev (St. Petersburg). In 1989 he arranged the first conference (which was held in Petrozavodsk) of TRIZ specialists and educators involved in educating children. Another noteworthy educational project, Johnatan Livingston, was organized in Minsk by Nikolai Khomenko. Numerous books and papers have been published devoted to children’s TRIZ education37.
TRIZ in medicine and biology
One of the most impressive non-technical TRIZ applications was in medicine. From the 1970s, long-time TRIZ specialist Alexander Selutskii began teaching TRIZ to students at Petrozavodsk University medical school. Together with his students, he solved numerous problems related to improving medical equipment and treatment methods.
Extremely cold winters in Petrozavodsk were the cause of many deaths due to hypothermia (overcooling). Often, hypothermic victims were found still alive, but did not survive because there was no safe and effective way to warm them quickly. The usual methods, which included surrounding the patient with a warm environment, rubbing the body, and providing warm drinks (including alcohol), caused blood to rush to the skin surface, depriving crucial organs such as the heart and brain of oxygen and resulting in death. This problem was addressed - without success - by several countries during World War II in an attempt to save the lives of naval and air force personnel operating in cold seas. After the war, the idea of using microwaves for this purpose was considered, but no successful results were reported.
After being educated in TRIZ, doctor Tatti came up with the idea of utilizing the body’s own blood flow as a resource for quickly delivering warmth to the heart and other important organs. To implement the idea, he suggested applying heating pads to the places in which the largest arteries are close to the skin surface, including the neck, underarms, and other areas. This simple method was responsible for saving many people and resulted in the design of comfortable work gear for people working in cold open areas. Interestingly, this same idea, applied in reverse, can help people working in hot areas (i.e., instead of heat, ice pads are applied to the targeted areas of the body.)
TRIZ was extensively applied to medicine by physician and TRIZ specialist Arcadiy Lichachev, Gennadiy Predein, an engineer working for an orthopedic company, experienced TRIZ specialist Boris Faber, a director at the Russian Orthopedic Research Institute, and others. Gafur Zainiev utilized TRIZ approaches in his research related to DNA. In the United States, Ideation has achieved positive results working with medical equipment and sanitary products.
We believe that medicine should become one of the most important directions for the utilization of TRIZ, and would like to participate (or facilitate) the work with such widespread diseases as cancer, AIDS, etc.
Solving scientific problems
The first attempt to apply TRIZ to solving scientific problems (i.e., to make discoveries) was made by Genrich Altshuller in the early 1960s38. Following the procedure described earlier, Altshuller analyzed certain facts from the history of scientific discoveries. As a result, he identified two types of discovery:
As a next step, Altshuller unveiled and formulated a set of methods that proved helpful in discovering new facts or developing plausible theories. He applied these methods to the mystery of Tungusskiy meteorite - a set of mysterious events associated with a huge meteorite that entered the Earth’s atmosphere in the early 1900s and disappeared. This work of Altshuller’s might be dismissed as an exercise in pure fantasy (which it was); however, it resulted in the invention (prediction!) of the physical phenomenon of the self-concentration of laser beams in non-linear mediums, later discovered by a physicist by the name of Askaryan.
In the 1970s, Altshuller disciples Igor Kondrakov and Gennadiy Filkovskiy completed several works in the above direction discovered by Altshuller. About the same time, Valery Tzourikov and Georgiy Golovchenko made their discoveries in the area of astrophysics and plant biology as a result of applying the TRIZ approach39.
A significant contribution to the subject was made by Volyuslav Mitrofanov. As a chief engineering deputy at the large semi-conductor company Svetlana (the Russian equivalent of Intel) he was actually a high-level troubleshooter. At the same time he also managed and taught at the largest public TRIZ University in St. Petersburg, and conducted his own TRIZ research. Working to implement the first microchips, he faced numerous baffling effects in production, which had to be resolved. As a result, he solved numerous inventive and scientific problems and implemented most of his solutions, giving him the ability to quickly test his scientific ideas. In time, scientific problems became his main interest. He published several papers and a book on this subject40, in which the most important ideas are the following:
Using this approach, Mitrofanov successfully identified the mechanism underlying a physical effect named after the physicist Russell (who had discovered this effect in the 19th century but had no adequate explanation regarding its nature). Solving this scientific problem, Mitrofanov was able to build an important device for producing microchips, for which he received a special award. He also made several other important discoveries in the area of solid state physics, solved numerous inventive problems, and unveiled the root causes of numerous production defects (then eliminated them) in the semi-conductor industry.
In the mid-1970s, Boris Zlotin, Mitrofanov’s student and later a TRIZ educator and board member at St. Petersburg TRIZ University, became involved in scientific work led by Mitrofanov. In the early 1980s he continued this work together with Alla Zusman. At that time, they were committed to developing a system for solving scientific problems and started collecting and documenting typical scientific problems and solutions following Altshuller’s basic approach. A year of work yielded only several dozen reliable situations (the main obstacle, as discussed earlier, was the absence of a system of documentation - similar to the patent library - of such solutions). It became clear that their work was “a long shot.” At the same time, Ms. Zusman suggested utilizing and analyzing a resource that was available - namely, the scientific problems solved by TRIZ professionals. Together with the understanding that the nature of scientific problems and production defects (or failures with unknown root causes) were the same, this approach led to the formulation of the idea of transferring known TRIZ approaches into a new area. The only thing that was missing was the actual principle of transfer allowing the new type of problem to be converted into the known one. In the case of scientific problems, this principle was known as Problem Inversion.
The essence of Problem Inversion is simple: instead of asking “How can a certain phenomenon be explained?” one asks “How can this phenomenon be obtained under existing conditions?) The problem therefore becomes a typical inventive problem and can be attacked using existing TRIZ tools such as the innovation principles, ARIZ, Operators, etc.
When solving converted scientific problems the concept of utilizing resources becomes extremely important. Of course, the utilization of resources is critical when solving inventive problems, as it helps increase the solution ideality - but in many situations this might not be possible. In solving scientific problems, however, the utilization of resources is mandatory, because if a certain event has already taken place, the necessary resources were in fact present.
Besides making available the TRIZ tools and approaches, problem inversion makes it possible to apply conventional technological knowledge to solve scientific problems.
It is well known that a runner should breathe through the nose rather than the mouth. Running while breathing deeply through a wide-open mouth quickly causes the runner to pant for air. Amazing as it sounds, there is no adequate explanation for why this happens (other than the obvious fact that breathing through the nose requires more efforts and yields less air). We asked a physician specializing in sports medicine for an explanation. He gave us two reasons:
After some consideration, both these explanations seemed erroneous. First, in the summertime we were usually concerned with high ambient temperature rather than overcooling. Second, the air where we were running was clean enough.
We decided to apply the principle of Problem Inversion to this situation. The inverted problem therefore became: How can we force a person to pant?
We knew of at least one method: hyperventilation (i.e., breathing deeply and frequently, which produces the same result - usually explained as the result of oversaturating the blood with oxygen). The cause was still unclear, however, because breathing in an oxygen-rich environment doesn’t cause panting. Moreover, when one is running there is usually a lack of oxygen.
The next step was to look for a similar effect in technology. To make this transition, it was necessary to create a mechanical model of “breathing.” If we regarded the lung as a pump, the question became: how can we force this pump to work ineffectively? As it happened, one of the authors was at that time working for a company that designed water pumps; he readily ascertained that a pump works ineffectively if it is not properly loaded. That is, if a pump that is designed to pump water from 400 meters is forced to work at 4 meters, or work without any water at all, all the energy consumed by the pump turns to heat and eventually destroys the pump.
If the above technical fact is applied to that of a runner, the following hypothesis can be formulated: When one breathes through a wide open mouth, there is not enough load for the “pump” (lung), which might result in ineffective work and substantial loss of energy. On the contrary, breathing through the nose allows the lung to be properly loaded.
We conducted a simple experiment by attempting to breathe through tightly-closed teeth and half-closed lips. The results were even better than those obtained when breathing through the nose: it became possible to change the air resistance depending on the mode of running (a super-effect!).
The idea of Problem Inversion looks rather simple, yet it resulted in several non-trivial effects. One of these was the relief from the psychological pressure of dealing with a “mystery,” which makes scientific problems appear more difficult than they really are. Another effect is that of breaking the inertia of accepting a well-known explanation without challenging its validity. Unfortunately, the accepted explanation is not necessarily the correct one, and often contains circular definitions or, in the worst case, prevents us from looking for the true root causes and explanations.
A solution obtained using Problem Inversion lets us formulate a hypothesis which must be verified (and TRIZ can help with this as well). This approach essentially transforms the process of solving a scientific problem into one of inventing an explanatory mechanism. And once the mechanism of a phenomenon is fully understood, it can be controlled (i.e., amplified, weakened, eliminated, etc.).
The approach described above was successfully applied first by the authors for the purpose of solving several research problems related to little understood situations with deep-level water pumps. In 1985 we started teaching the Problem Inversion approach to our students. One student, Anatoliy Yoisher, used it to solve a critical problem in the area of micro-wire production that had gone unresolved for more than 15 years41. Based on his solution, he completed his Ph.D. dissertation and was able to quickly begin production of a new type of micro-wire. To date, dozens of scientific problems in different areas, including physics, chemistry, math, and biology, have been solved.
It was also found that the same approach could help in solving criminal problems and in identifying the root causes of production defects and failures. This last application became the most effective one. Apparently, people are usually in no hurry to implement new inventive ideas (especially if the old idea is adequate), however, finding the root causes of failures and fixing them quickly provides a tangible return on investment.
Besides solving specific scientific problems, we continued working in the following areas:
To test our findings, we decided to apply them to some large-scale problems. After careful selection, we identified the following three areas:
The first item has been addressed in previous publications42. The other two will be addressed in separate publications.43 44
In 1978 Boris Zlotin, a Value Engineering center leader at Electrosila, was facilitating a brainstorming session directed toward improving the quality of one of the company’s products - powerful electrical switches. Working with one of the critical parts - a contact - Zlotin suggested a reverse brainstorming: instead of thinking how the part could be improved, try to make it worse. The first ideas were rather trivial: break the part with a hammer, make it from non-conductive material, etc. To stimulate more creative ideas, Zlotin offered the following: “Think how you might damage the part in a way that is undetectable to quality control, but which would later cause the part to break - and nobody would be able to figure out it was our fault.” “Do you mean we should think of sabotage?” asked a team member. “Exactly!”
Ten minutes later one of the participants suggested, jokingly, a slight deviation from the standard manufacturing process that could produce a failure. Five minutes later it was discovered that such deviations were happening from time to time without attracting anyone’s attention. It was immediately recognized that a very serious accident that had occurred not long before, resulting in millions of dollars in damages and for which the cause was still unknown, might be a result of this deviation. A set of simple experiments proved the hypothesis correct. As a result, the unreliable operation was improved to prevent dangerous deviations, and additional recommendations for retrofitting devices already delivered to the customer were developed.
The above brainstorming session gave birth to the idea of the “subversion approach,” which can be formulated as follows:
The above problem transformation is similar to the Problem Inversion used to solve scientific problems45, and converts the process of failure analysis/prediction into an inventive problem, making available all the advantages of TRIZ. Once the inverted problem is formulated, the main focus becomes searching for potential harmful effects that can be produced in the product or process with the help of the existing resources. In essence, what we are trying to do is “invent” potential failures. And once a failure has been invented, the system in question should be examined to determine if the failure has already occurred or to ascertain the probability that it will occur in the future. If the failure is possible or has already occurred, the next (inventive) problem becomes: How can it be prevented?
For example, during an analysis of chemical equipment, we asked the following question: “How can we create an explosion?” The Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) were certain it was impossible. But a further analysis of the resources required to produce an explosion resulted in the following list:
All of the components mentioned above were found in the equipment and its environment, but they were not connected in any way. Thus the next problem to be solved was “How can we bring these things together and assure their interaction?” To their surprise, the SMEs found that on rare occasions while the equipment was being serviced, this dangerous interaction could in fact take place. Moreover, such situations had occurred in the past but, due to nothing more than luck, had not resulted in an accident. The next step, of course, was to eliminate the possibility of an accident, which in this case was not difficult once the mechanism was understood.
Until the mid-1980s, the “subversion approach” was applied by various TRIZ specialists in their professions. The approach itself evolved very little, however, due to the lack of necessary information (in the former Soviet Union, any information about accidents, catastrophes, or serious design failures was not available to the public). This situation changed with perestroika, and once this information became available, we were quickly able to develop a ten-step algorithm. To support this algorithm we carried out the usual TRIZ approach of accumulating and organizing knowledge, and the result was a useful knowledge base organized in the form of the following checklists:
The subversion algorithm was first tested in 1986 during the analysis of a production line in a large shoe factory in Kishinev. The effort resulted in the generation of 18 potential production failures that were at first regarded as absurd. Later, however, it was found that 12 of these failures had already taken place, with at least three resulting in substantial losses.
From the mid 1990s, Ideation has been marketing “subversion analysis” under the name Anticipatory Failure Determination (AFDÔ) as an application of the Ideation/TRIZ Methodology. AFD contains two main algorithms, or processes:
A comparison of AFD with other failure techniques used in American industry (such as FMEA, HAZOP, etc.) has shown the following:
In the late 1990s, software supporting the AFD process was developed. It included the following modules:
With this software, together with special educational material, AFD training could be conducted in a 2- to 5-day course.
Social and business applications of TRIZ
In 1984 Boris Zlotin and Alla Zusman started researching the evolution of social systems using TRIZ as well as their work in developing techniques to build scientific concepts. We defined a social system as one of the following:
At the time, looking for new information about social systems was rather dangerous in the Soviet Union because of the KGB. The authors therefore initially limited themselves to small organizations such as company divisions or sports teams - areas in which they were knowledgeable. Focusing on small organizations turned out to be a useful endeavor, as it was easier to apply the TRIZ approach and reveal patterns when smaller systems were targeted.
The main idea that we wished to prove was that the evolution of any organization follows certain patterns, which can be ascertained and utilized for the purpose of enhancing an organization.
For several years, the authors pursued this work only halfheartedly - they knew how difficult it would be not only to obtain accurate information but to publish anything that differed from the official communist statements. But things changed significantly with the onset of perestroika, and in a short period of time many important Western books in history, economics, sociology, business, marketing and other areas were translated into Russian and made available to the public. At the same time, the establishment of so-called “private” companies was allowed, and in early 1986 the members of the Kishinev TRIZ school established a private engineering company and Scientific and Technological Center (STC) called Progress (which happened to be one of the Soviet Union’s first private engineering companies). STC “Progress” began educating various industrial companies in TRIZ and providing analytical services in problem solving46.
By working with various commercial and political organizations we were able to gain access to confidential political, social and economic information, and thus we formed a strong foundation for our previous theoretical conclusions, and were able to verify and test the methods and tools we had developed. Our work gained a practical focus and allowed us to apply these methods and tools to solving social, management, business and other problems, and to analyze specific social systems. We were joined in these efforts by many other TRIZ specialists47.
The essence of the Theory of Evolution of Organizations was first presented to the students at the January 1987 TRIZ seminar in Moscow. More detailed material was discussed at a TRIZ seminar for professional sociologists (held in Miass in May, 198848) and at a seminar for managers (in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in April, 199149). Later, Zlotin and Zusman conducted two seminars for TRIZ professionals where about half the time was devoted to the Theory of Evolution of Organizations50 and to solving problems in management and business (Simferopol, January 1992 and Petrozavodsk, October 1992)51.
Practical applications of methods developed by the Kishinev TRIZ school
Theoretical findings in the area of organizational and societal evolution were soon tested in the following practical endeavors:
Later the methods and approaches proven effective in the MCE project were used in:
Other applications in business and politics
In the early 1990s Igor Vikentiev began applying and teaching TRIZ principles in advertisement and journalism. He collected a bank of creative solutions and developed principles similar to the 40 Innovation Principles for making impressive publications and advertisements55. A book56 and an operational web site57 are available on the subject.
In the mid-1990s TRIZ principles were applied to political situations - in particular, to election campaigns of several members of the Russian parliament58 and to the presidential elections in Moldova59. TRIZ was also successfully applied in professional consulting endeavors concerning the election campaign60.
Software for non-technical TRIZ applications
In 1992 STC Progress released the first TRIZ software for business consulting, called Tools for Managers. It included the following modules:
- Specialized Operators (recommendations) related to the following areas:
- Building an organization
- Growing an organization
- Managing an organization and its personnel
- Increasing the efficiency of an organization
- Ensuring an organization’s stability
- Transforming (changing) an organization
- Dismissing an organization
- Eliminating undesired factors related to organizations
- Obtaining information
- Securing information
- Universal Operators applicable to both technical and non-technical problems
- Operators related to utilizing resources
- Examples illustrating the use of Operators in real-life situations
- A bank of social and psychological effects helpful in solving business/management problems in the most effective way (similar to the role of physical, chemical and geometrical effects in solving technological problems).
- General patterns of evolution of organizations
- Typical objectives and mistakes related to specific stages of an organization’s evolution
- Typical features of an organization at different stages of evolution
By November of 1992, when we first came to the United States to discuss the possibility of establishing an American TRIZ-based company, the Tools for Managers software (later called Management WorkBench) was in better shape than the equivalent software for technical problems, the Innovation WorkBench™. For the reasons described above, however, further development of management software was put on hold. Today we are moving ahead with the release of the Knowledge Wizard™ - a new software analytical tool for analyzing and modeling non-technical situations and formulating directions/opportunities for resolving them. The Knowledge Wizard is based on the Problem Formulator™ (US Patent No 5,581,663) and has a limited number of recommendations for addressing generated opportunities. The next step is the Management WorkBench software, which will contain a comprehensive knowledge base in the related area.
Chapter 2. Evolution of Organizations: Theoretical Findings and Practical Applications
The underlying theory, tools and processes
The underlying theory of the evolution of organizations is based on the following assumptions:
… and includes the following sections:
We define the poly-model approach as a method for creating theories through the development of a necessary and sufficient amount of simple but compatible (or complementary) models that together support the understanding and prediction of a system’s behavior.
Ways in which the appropriate models can be created/applied are as follows:
To reveal models that are useful with regard to the evolution of organizations, we have studied the effective models applied to various human activities, primarily in the following areas:
The non-linear approach includes the following assumptions:
Important assumptions related to the linkage between an organization, its business/cause/ mission and its stage of evolution
It is known that, in general:
Analytical tools and processes
The TRIZ analytical tools used to analyze organizations include:
Situation Assessment Questionnaire
The Situation Assessment Questionnaire helps reveal and document important information related to the given organization and its problems, and includes the following sections:
Situation analysis and the development of recommendations process
The following aspects of an organization’s life are analyzed:
- Market or higher-level organizations to which the analyzed organization reports
- Government regulations (agencies)
- Environmental issues
- Professional associations
- Trade unions
- S-curve analysis
- Contradictions, crises, and other disturbances
- Solutions and decisions related to problems that emerged in the past
- Growth of the organization
- Stabilization of the organization
- Hindrances to the growth of the organization
Based on the analysis described above, the following steps are taken:
Innovation knowledge base tools
In the mid-1980s we began collecting and organizing information about the most successful practices related to organizational improvement, economics, politics and other social areas. This work was carried out in accordance with the following principles:
Type of Innovation Knowledge
Tool name and short description
Patterns/Lines of Evolution
Single Operators / Models / Effects
Selected innovative (creative) solutions
All available information in various sources
Universal patterns of evolution utilized in the evolution of organizations
The following set of Universal Patterns67 as they apply to organizations have been studied and utilized:
General patterns/lines of evolution
We regard the following patterns/lines as “general” as they have either been adjusted or newly introduced for application with organizations:
Bank of models related to the evolution and behavior of organizations69
The following models have been identified:
- Darwin model: natural selection in the evolution of organizations
- Bogdanov model: combination of positive and negative selections
- Lamarck70 model: inheritance of features obtained by a living creature over the course of its life
- Convergence and divergence of system forms under the influence of natural selection
- Avalanche-like (chain reaction) evolution
- Stabilizing (homeostatic) evolution
- Oscillations (the result of combined positive and negative feedback)
- Asymmetrical homeostasis (a specific result of combined positive and negative feedback)
- The combination of smooth, bifurcation, and avalanche-like evolutionary processes
- Interaction (dependence) between the flows and structures of organizations
- Emergence of crises and their strengthening during the process of evolution
- Resolution of crises (discharge)
- Crisis as a tool to manage an organization
- Traditional regulation
- Forced administration
- Economic management (based on the utilization of inherent human needs and motivations)
- Charismatic leadership
- Real organizations as a combination of different systems of administration/management
- Formation and evolution of various historical systems of administration/management
- The emergence of an organization around a “seed flow”
- Building an organization from elements obtained from other destroyed (i.e., eliminated, dismissed, etc.) organizations
- Expansion of an organization
- “Reproduction” of an organization (reproduction of its sub-systems)
- Organizational “illnesses”
- Emergence and destruction of forced administration
- Emergence and destruction of economic management
- “Hydrodynamic” effects
- Spread of flows
- Flow penetration
- Flow distribution from the top down and from the bottom up
- Mechanisms that accelerate evolution
- Mechanisms that retard evolution
- Energy of “unhappiness”
- Non-zero sum games (win-win models)
- Dynamic stability
- Speed and smoothness of the ride
- Systems with low stability
- Push-pull management models
- “Stone on a slope”
- “Boiled frog”
- Growth of bureaucracy
- Hierarchical bi-systems
- Forcing people to conform to an organizational structure
- Organizational structure-culture relationships
- Structural description
- Functional description
- Cause-effect description
- Problematic description71
- Defensive strategy
- Attacking strategy
- Opportunity-driven strategy
- Restricted political and economic systems (totalitarian regime)
- Restricted political system and free economic system (authoritarian regime)
- Free political and economic systems (democracy)
- Free political system and restricted economic systems (chaos)
- Transitional models
- Evolution as a process of increasing ideality
- Evolution as a process of generating and utilizing resources
- Evolution as a process of accumulating and resolving (eliminating) contradictions
- Evolution as a process of generating super-effects
- Adaptation of an organization to its environment
- Adaptation of the environment to the organizations
- Compensating mechanisms
- Adaptation via mediators
- Fairness and equality
- Exploitation people
- Social revolutions
- Exhaustiveness of natural resources
The following computerized tools are used in the analysis and improvement of organizations:
Selected examples of practical models: administrating/managing basic flows within organizations
Definitions and assumptions
The following definitions and assumptions will be used:
Social system - an organization (commercial or non-profit), association, country, society, political institution, groups, etc. This section will mostly address society.
Social (system) structure - a combination of elements, along with the connections (links) between them that provide the system with the ability to operate.
Social flows - flows passing through a social system, such as the transposition of people, goods, documents (instructions, assignments, orders), money, credit, bonds, information, services, etc. Historically, social flows emerge as a result of the distribution of work between people and the resulting need to exchange products. The social structure is randomly formed in a way that supports the increase of useful flows72. Useful structures can be establish and administered/managed through the establishment, administration, and management of the social flows passing through the given structure.
Mechanism - a driving force or chain of events resulting in a certain outcome. An explanatory (hypothetical) mechanism supports credible speculation that explains the nature of an event (outcome).
The main assumptions are as follows:
- Growing (strengthening) the flow that originated this system
- Flow diversification - i.e., an increase in the structure of flow components
- Prevention of (or resistance to) flow interruption
- Generation of a “flow substitute” if exhaustion of the initial flow is inevitable
The above mechanisms result in positive feedback (reinforcing loop) between the flows and structures: the growth/structurization of a flow produces the growth/structurization of social structures that support this flow, and vice versa.
Soon after the prohibition laws were passed in the United States, the random flow of illegal alcohol sales began. Soon afterwards, however, Mafia organizations arose and quickly evolved into complex, well-developed structures which were managed at least as effectively as legal corporations and sometimes more effectively than many government agencies. These structures successfully supported an increase in alcohol consumption and fought against the abolishment of prohibition. When prohibition ended, the Mafia did not disappear (as some legislators had probably hoped) but instead switched to another illegal activity (such as drugs trafficking).
It has been proven that special organizations established for the purpose of distributing limited goods attempt to support the deficit; organizations established to fight certain crimes tend to merge with criminal organizations (corruption).
- Traditional regulation - a situation in which all procedures are regulated by established traditions. This system is effective in small groups and under stable conditions. Significant change (growth or reduction) in flows causes dissociation of the traditional regulating systems.
- Forced administration - involves purposefully established organizations that possess certain powers that do not depend on flow parameters.
- Economic management (based on free market principles)
- Charismatic leadership - based on various ideological (political) influences involving emotions, faith (religious or otherwise), hopes, etc. Such a system might be very effective for a short period of time and/or for a limited audience (involves psychology, as different people react differently to ideological issues).
We will address further the two main regulation systems: Forced Administration (FA) and Economic Management (EM).
Forced Administration (FA)
The FA system can be characterized by the following features:
- Sacrifices to gods
- The accumulation of treasures, building of pyramids, temples, palaces, etc.
- Army and safety
- Prestigious projects
- Investing in fundamental science, arts73, etc.
- The freeing of certain groups of people (e.g., soldiers, ministers, clerks) from producing
- The prosecution of people capable of producing an excess of products (such as entrepreneurs and inventors); suppression of creativity and ambition; the converting of creators into administrators.
Typical examples of grounding flows are: the Egyptian and Mexican pyramids; the Great Wall of China (which made no military sense); the ambitious construction plans of Hitler and Stalin; the ridiculous production of huge numbers of military tanks; the building of hydro-stations on flat land (plains), which is not economically prudent and damages the environment; projects in the former Soviet Union to reverse great Siberian rivers, etc74. To an extent, some of the Pentagon’s expensive projects can be included here, as well as the race to the Moon, the purchasing of corporate jetliners, etc.
- The power and complexity of a social structure increases to such an extent that effective control is no longer possible, resulting in various deficits and the necessity of continuously correcting the plans
- Information transmitted from the bottom up about real flows becomes invalid
- Disorder and disturbances in bureaucratic operations, resulting in a loss of coordination between elements of the bureaucracy, etc.
- Flow growth and diversification always decrease an FA’s rigidity, loosening its restraints and thus facilitating its decomposition (a paradox).
- Improvement of tools
- Improving the organization of collective work
- Motivating producers to increase their productivity by turning over a portion of the produced flows to them
- Economic (confiscation, inflation, etc.)
- Administrative (centralization, planning, bureaucratic obstacles)
- Political (enforcement of power, various prohibitions, declaring a “state of emergency,” etc.)
- Catastrophic disintegration of the FA and a return to the previous stage in the societal evolution in the form of smaller, separated, independent (and often fighting one another) tribes or countries, followed by an abrupt reduction of flows (e.g., the fall of the Roman Empire, the disintegration of the USSR).
- Transition to the economic management (EM) system if the following conditions are in place:
- Sufficient level of social flows (wealth)
- Existence of money as a universal equivalent of cost
- Restrictions in basic economic laws; human rights protection
- People’s readiness to accept a democratic form of government
Most historians believe that ancient Rome was destroyed because of the inefficiency of slavery. The facts do not support this theory, however. On the contrary, the Roman Empire had by that time widely introduced several significant improvements in production:
Also, granting permission for barbarians to settle on Roman lands provided the introduction of fresh power, new technologies (such as the treatment of iron) and - most important of all - new markets. Altogether, this led to a substantial growth of flows and caused an unprecedented expansion of? bureaucracy and methods for grounding flows. This in turn resulted in crisis, disintegration, and five centuries of barbarism, wars and collapsing economies until finally a powerful new government consisting of Roman Popes and kings in Germany, France and England was established. Rome was ruined by growing flows, which made its FA system fat; the Romans started grounding too many flows and their production became ineffective. Reasons similar to these - the incapability of an FA system to “digest” growing flows - led to the Crusades during the Middle Ages, the French Revolution, and Russian perestroika.
The transition to an EM system eventually increases the wealth of all members of the society. However, in the beginning of this transition it is necessary to concentrate resources as possessions of individuals (or groups) that are capable of better organizing and utilizing them. These individuals/groups are usually the most entrepreneurial and often immoral, which decreases the quality of life of the average member of the society until the new system is fully established and benefits all members.
Economic management (EM)
The EM system is characterized by the following features:
Basic political systems and their transformations
The matrix below demonstrates various models of social systems developed by Bulgarian dissident Zheliu Zhelev76, who defined three main political systems as follows:
From Totalitarianism to Democracy. Zheliu Zhelev discovered that the transition from a totalitarian system to a democracy must go through an authoritarian (dictatorship) system (as occurred successfully in Spain, Chili, South Korea, Taiwan, etc.). The reason for this is that, as mentioned earlier, a democracy cannot exist without a middle class representing a certain level of wealth (flows). The economic growth in turn requires a stable political situation with appropriate legal support, which can be provided by strong leadership in the case where a democracy does not yet exist. Once the required level of wealth has been accumulated and the middle class is established, the transition to democracy can be relatively smooth.
As stated previously, attempts to jump from totalitarianism to democracy without an intermediate authoritarianism can be fatal. For example, a free political system with a restricted economy typically leads to chaos. The escape lies in dictatorship - however a dictatorship can be of a “right-wing” or “left-wing” type. A “right-wing” dictatorship (authoritarianism) represents the power of a wealthy, economically competent minority; it usually restricts political life and allows the economy to grow. A leftist dictatorship represents the power of the poor, economically incompetent majority; it restricts both the economy and politics, and eventually returns to totalitarianism. The FA system inherent in totalitarianism usually tries to maintain its position, and thus does not stimulate flow growth and eventually reproduces the poverty.
From Democracy to Totalitarianism. As mentioned earlier, democracy is stable until the a sufficient level of wealth is attained. If for any reason the flows decline, a lack of control can lead to chaos -an unstable situation that can fall into one of two types of dictatorship (see above).
The French revolutions and Napoleon’s wars destroyed existing social structures, spread revolutionary ideas throughout Europe, and readied the masses ready for riots, robbery, and the re-allotment of land, diminishing the value of human life. It also became clear that attempts to quickly establish democratic institutions led to corruption and sometimes terror. As a result the situation in Europe was unstable and very dangerous.
The Viennese Congress arranged in 1815-16 stabilized the situation by instituting strong measures. The Holy Alliance established by the Viennese Congress ruthlessly suppressed any attempt at revolution or violence, flooded the countries of Europe with political spies, and introduced strict censorship of books and public speeches. Doesn’t look promising, does it?
Although called as the “Age of Reaction”, the next 40 years were peaceful; industry and trade received significant support - for technology, transportation, and financial systems it was a Golden Age. Life for many people and the economy as a whole improved significantly, creating a basis for a real democracy.
Combination of various administration/management systems
Usually, in a mature organization elements of all administration/management systems exist, having the following functions:
Different administration/management systems can have additional relationships that are useful for an organization. Unfortunately, this can create the opposite effect as well. The FA system often takes charge and enforces a bureaucracy that can ruin the organization. The “treatment” lies in splitting the power between several institutions (as with the American principle of separating the legislative, presidential, and judicial systems).
The contradiction is as follows: FA systems are necessary to provide the skeleton of an organization, however (and as was shown earlier), the FA system is responsible for grounding the useful flows. This contradiction can be resolved, for example, by the redirection or redistribution of the grounded flows so that they work for the society. Other creative resolutions of this contradiction are possible.
Administration/management systems and an organization’s evolution along the S-curve
The evolution of an organization begins in Stage 1 - infancy or start-up - with the formation of its main business/mission/cause; this might be the production of something, a service of some sort, research, the establishment of an entertainment group, etc. To run the business, certain flows have to be organized through the system (materials, energy, information, money, etc.). In the beginning the flow routes are not completely defined, and thus the entire structure is rather amorphous. Usually there is a recognized leader who serves to “cement” the organization. There might also be a small team (from 5 to 9 people) that the leader can manage. Power and assignments are distributed randomly, according to the principle of self-organization. Everyone does whatever is most needed at the moment (this requires people who are flexible and possess initiative). There are usually more functions than there are people to perform them - it is therefore important that people possess universal skills.
As the flow grows and properly channels the organization, its structure becomes certain and solidifies. The process of distributing functions, responsibilities and rewards (specialization and work distribution) takes place, increasing the overall effectiveness of the organization. New people with appropriate (and specialized) educations join the organization. Those having universal skills who were present during start-up leave or move to the top of the organization where there is always room for people with universal and entrepreneurial skills.
The transition to Stage 2 (rapid growth) is associated with the establishment of a well-defined structure both of the organization and its business. Organizational rules and regulations have been developed. The organization’s skeleton becomes coherent and logical, although it is not yet rigid (cartilage instead of bones): some parts may still be absent and complemented by amorphous, start-up elements. Gradually the skeleton becomes complete and includes all the elements necessary for normal operation along with some protective elements. By the middle of the second stage the skeleton is solid, however, it has points of growth and transformation (“hinges” or meristems) which allow for some change, such as re-orientation for the purpose of performing other functions. Resting on the rigid skeleton, other, softer parts of the organization (such as marketing or research) can successfully function while maintaining a high level of initiative (within certain limitations defined by the skeleton, however).
The structure of the organization becomes pyramid-shaped (hierarchical) with the core technology or business serving as the base of the pyramid. The hierarchy can become larger, multiplying itself in a nearly unlimited fashion. Typical growth at this stage is in the form of expansion (including conquest) and is fairly congruent - that is, the growth of the pyramid’s upper structures is in proportion with its base (there is no distortion to the pyramid shape).
The exhaustion of the resources required for business growth brings the organization to Stage 3 (maturity), where the growth of the pyramid base is very limited. The upper layers of the pyramid continue grow in accordance with the Parkinson’s law77, however. Bureaucracy begins devouring the resources that belong to the business (for example, a “brain drain” of the best people into administration and management takes place, providing them with better chances for lucrative careers). As a result, the pyramid becomes disproportionate or even loses its pyramid shape (see figure below). Growth of the bureaucracy requires a strengthening of the administration/management system, and results in a decrease in the quality of decisions.
Analysis of an organization utilizing flow models
We will now consider the following components of flows within an organization:
- Salaries and bonuses
- Stocks and other monetary incentives
- Mechanism of monetary distribution
- Mechanism of non-monetary distribution
- Related to the business or core technology
- Related to the organization
- Related to the top-most circles
- Mechanism of flow distribution
- Revealing the structures and interactions of the FA and/or EM
- Identifying grounded flows
Selected examples of practical models: the evolution of organizations along the S-curve
Definitions and assumptions
The following definitions apply:
Organization78 - an enterprise (commercial or non-profit), government agency, professional or other association, social institution, educational institution, family, country, or human society79 as a whole.
The business of an organization - its core technology, actual business, mission, cause or any main activity for which the organization was created; the “outcome” that justifies the consumption of resources.
Organization’s S-curve plus - the traditional S-curve extended to six (instead of the usual three) main stages. Stages 1, 2 and 3 are divided into sub-stages (the beginning, middle, and end) as follows80:
Each stage (sub-stage) of evolution81 is characterized by its own:
The main assumptions are as follows:
- Premature aging of an organization - the result of having the wrong management system and culture, which initiates stagnation before the resources of the business are exhausted.
- Contrived Dynamic Prosperity - the result of purposeful cultural transformations that prevents natural aging.
Analysis of an organization’s position on the “S-curve plus” and the development of recommendations for improvement83
The analysis of an organization’s position on the S-curve plus includes the following approaches:
An analysis of the organization’s position includes the following steps:
Utilization of the Matrix
The matrix contains several dozen features, including the main contradiction, the organization’s size, management system, the organizational structure, prestige, morale and environment, discipline, and others. Each feature has a different content for each of the three main S-curve stages and desired Contrived Dynamic Prosperity stage.84?
For each feature we have identified the stage that matches the organization’s “reality” and have mapped it on the S-curve (see figure). The place where the features are concentrated shows the position of the organization.
Once the position is defined (Stage 1, end) we can identify the typical objectives and typical mistakes from the bank of knowledge. For the selected sub-stage this will be:
The main objective - develop a seed for the future Stage 2 organization, including:
Typical mistakes in evolution are usually associated with deviations from a certain optimal strategy. The selection of this optimal strategy is usually a matter of the leader’s intuition and experience in implementing something new. Deviations (mistakes) always require that contradictions be resolved quickly and creatively (TRIZ can help here).
The main mistakes are usually associated with the underestimation and insufficient utilization of creativity and intelligence, and the inability to solve problems requiring creative solutions without increasing the cost and complexity of the technology. In particular:
During Stage 1, when the business or core technology was relatively small in size, all necessary creative solutions were usually found by the creative leader. When the business grows, however, one individual cannot cover everything, yet people still expect this. Besides, an authoritarian leader often does not welcome the ideas of others. The result - the right solutions might be too late.
Specific typical mistakes are:
The main mistakes are usually associated with a loss of control or with excessive control in an organization that still requires creativity (and people who are free to create). The main reason for mistakes is the failure to understand the transitional processes and problems associated with organizational changes. Basic mistakes are usually associated with inadequate (or wrong) leadership, in particular:
The specific mistakes are:
These are usually the most dangerous mistakes as they can seriously jeopardize the reputation of the new business in the eyes of the customers, financial investors, the government, public, etc. The main reasons for these mistakes might be lack of marketing experience, failure to understand the details of the new business, and failure to understand its most attractive features and real value.
The specific mistakes are:
Dilettantism, that is, lack of understanding (or hating the idea) that marketing and sales require professional knowledge and experience. Attempts to judge the product or a service based on common sense or personal preferences
From the analyses of organizations according to the above approaches we have developed the following conclusions:
A set of recommendations has been created to correct the situation.
Case study. Controlling brokers at the Moscow Commodity Exchange86 (MCE)
Every broker at the Moscow Commodity Exchange was required to pay a small fee for each deal closed on the Exchange87. In spite of the fact that this fee amounted to a very small percentage of the deal, some brokers tried to avoid paying it. In a typical situation one broker would hear on the MCE floor about a potential purchase/sale of goods, he/she is interested in, then get together with the broker offering these goods. According to the MCE rules, after brokers had agreed on a deal they were required to register the contract and pay the fee. Instead, however, the two brokers would conclude the deal without involving the MCE, and paid nothing. The uncollected fees became a problem as they were necessary to support the MCE operation. To ensure that this money was collected, several methods of controlling the brokers were attempted - these were costly and ineffective, however.
The following simple diagram was built:
An analysis of the diagram showed that the problem statement should be changed. Let us consider the list of Problem Statements/Directions for Innovation generated by the Knowledge Wizard:
1. Find an alternative way to obtain [the] (Controlling brokers) that offers the following: provides or enhances [the] (Register contracts), does not cause [the] (High cost), is not influenced by [the] (Luck of resources).
2. Find a way to protect [the] (Controlling brokers) from the harmful influence of [the] (Luck of resources).
3. Try to resolve the following contradiction: The useful factor [the] (Controlling brokers) should be in place in order to provide or enhance [the] (Register contracts), and should not exist in order to avoid [the] (High cost).
4. Find an alternative way to obtain [the] (Register contracts) that offers the following: provides or enhances [the] (Pay fee), does not require [the] (Controlling brokers).
4.1. Find a way to increase the effectiveness of [the] (Register contracts).
4.2. Find additional benefits from [the] (Register contracts).
4.3. Find a way to obtain [the] (Pay fee) without the use of [the] (Register contracts).
5. Find an alternative way to obtain [the] (Pay fee) that offers the following: provides or enhances [the] (Support operation), does not require [the] (Register contracts).
6. Consider replacing the entire system with an alternative one that will provide [the] (Support operation).
7. Find an alternative way to obtain [the] (Support operation) that does not require [the] (Pay fee).
8. Find a way to eliminate, reduce, or prevent [the] (High cost) under the conditions of [the] (Controlling brokers).
9. Find a way to eliminate, reduce, or prevent [the] (Luck of resources).
From the list, the Direction # 4 was selected for further consideration and additional Directions (4.1-4.3) have been generated:
4. Find an alternative way to obtain [the] (Register contracts) that offers the following: provides or enhances [the] (Pay fee), does not require [the] (Controlling brokers).
4.1. Find a way to increase the effectiveness of [the] (Register contracts).
4.2. Find additional benefits from [the] (Register contracts).
4.3. Find a way to obtain [the] (Pay fee) without the use of [the] (Register contracts).
Instead of trying to control the brokers, find ways to motivate them to register their contracts. For example:
A. In Russian
Creative Imagination Enhancement (CIE) and TRIZ in the arts; Creative Education:
Development of Creative Personality
Solving Scientific Problems
Social and business applications of TRIZ
B. In English
© 1999 Ideation International Inc