This is part 2 of a 4-part series.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
MY EXPERIENCES WITH MY TEACHER GENRIKH SAULOVICH ALTSHULLER (part 3&4)
Keynote Papers for
III. Teaching Enlarged TRIZ for the Large Public: Some Illustrations
We can illustrate the advantages of teaching enlarged TRIZ for the large public by numerous testimonials attesting to its value from our former learners of the program “Creativity Methodologies” (CM). Our Center for Scientific and Technical Creativity (CSTC) has had thousands of such reports. In this section of the current paper we have taken some fragments from them:
… As I am a high school student I cannot take full advantage of this subject. However it helps me to study more effectively. The benefits from the course are quite significant.
… After the course in Creativity Methodologies, I stopped thinking unsystematically. Instead, I began to use Creativity Methodologies, and have a more comprehensive view of any problem. I plan optimal steps for solving math problems, anticipate potential problems.
(T.T.M. - Eleventh grader from Le Hong Phong high school)
… Obviously, the more I learned the more interested I became. I was surprised to find that my thinking had improved greatly.
… In study, I was able to deal with difficult problems thanks to my ability to ask questions and look at all aspects of those problems.
… The subject has made me more confident and decisive when coping with daily work. I hope I will achieve greater success if I apply what I have learned in my future job.
(D.B.C - Student from Preparatory Course of University)
… Creativity Methodologies are beneficial to me not only in dealing with problems. When I was still at school, I used to be punished for fighting with my classmates. If I had learned this subject then and been able to reason, using the nine-systems thinking display, I would not have resorted to violence. Not long ago, while I was enjoying some coffee with a few friends of mine, I was confronted by a group of local youths. I immediately thought of the nine-systems thinking display: if I had had a fight with them, I would have either been bitten by the youths or arrested by the police for causing public nuisance. At the same time I remembered the principles of Convert Harm into Benefit and Transition into a New Dimension. I took the initiative to shake hands with them and offer them some coffee. As a result, the conflict was solved positively. This method turned out to be better than violence. In my view, my response to this situation can be regarded as an example of creative thinking for myself.
(N.C.H - University student)
I have known for many years that I didn't have an effective method in thinking. Faced with a problem, I found myself very slow in working out a solution, as compared to other people. I always had to grope about step by step, feeling completely at a loss, not knowing what to do to solve the problem. I could not concentrate on anything, and often left things halfdone.
Now that the course is coming to an end, I find myself completely changed from what I was before. The lack of self-confidence and the inertia in my nature have given way to optimism, observation, and inquisitiveness. My mind has been sharpened and become more alert, enabling me to find the solution to a problem more quickly, effectively and economically. What I like most in the course is that for every point presented in a lesson, the instructor always gave us illustrations taken from daily life, besides mentioning the inventions in which the method was used. I also like his humanistic approach to teaching.
I regret not having been able to attend this course earlier, which made me waste a lot of my time. The subject is necessary for everybody, and should be included in the curriculum for high schools.
(N.T.T.T. - University student)
I have benefited a lot from the CM course at the CSTC:
The subject has provided me with the right methods and skills to improve my way of thinking to make more efficient decisions in problem solving.
I have been trying to overcome psychological and systems inertia in perceiving information and solving problems. This is essential to dealing with problems not only in scientific, technical and economic fields but also in social and family life. The subject really helps build up a creative personality including unselfishness and generosity.
(H.K.H. - University student)
I find this CM course interesting, extremely interesting. Each lesson at the CSTC is like a festival for me. I wish I had taken the course when I was a freshman, not just now being a third year student.
(N.T.T.T. - University student)
… I began solving problems in a new way and find it easier to cope with them. The subject enables to come up with original ideas I had never had before.
… As I was very busy with my study, I had little time for my family. I had tried hard to cope with both my study and family, but things always went wrong. After the course, I began applying some of the 40 principles to dealing with my problems, and these efforts have been successful … Sometimes I can’t help praising myself.
(H.T.T. - Student from the Open University)
… After a short course in Creativity Methodologies, I have gained a lot of advantages for myself making me become more confident in thinking. I now have a more appropriate and comprehensive approach to dealing with problems and can easily discover a great number of interesting things around me.
… I seem to have “grown” considerably after the course. The subject has provided me with new approaches to thinking, looking at and solving problems. Since I finished the course I have studied more efficently.
(N.T.T.N - Student from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities)
… I have become a new man since I finished the course in Creativity Methodologies. I have been equipped not only with a great amount of comprehensive knowledge, but also with scientific, and most convincing approaches to thinking, which I have been making use of in my daily life and work.
(N.C.T - Student of the College of Natural Sciences)
…What surprises me most is that Creativity Methodologies can be applied not only in the technological fields, but also in such fields, as society, business, study. Creativity Methodologies teach us how to think systematically to solve problems we encounter.
(H.T.T - Student from the University of Technology)
…It came to my mind all beyond my expectations that this subject is one of the basic sciences that lays a foundation for other sciences. This should be the first course for anyone to take. I used to base my thinking on my own feelings, and use the trial and error method to deal with problems. Now thanks to what I have learned, I am now well equipped with a variety of multidimensional and more logical thinking methodologies.
(V.D.Q - Student from the College of Natural Sciences)
… This subject should have been taught to us before any other subjects as it provides the best approaches to other subjects.
(N.M.T - Student of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy)
… From the beginning to the end of the course, most of what I learned was new, interesting, and useful for me.
The lesson on inertia, which helps me to better understand myself and human beings, was very heplful in perfecting my character and behaviour.
The lesson on 40 principles, which help me develop my systematic working habits and reasoning thinking, in particular Segmentation, Prior Counteraction, Prior Action, Cushion in Advance, Convert Harm into Benefit, Dynamicity, Periodic Action, Rushing Through, Changing the Color.
… As a high school math teacher, I will apply what I have learned in teaching and counseling my students.
(D.T.T.H - High school math teacher)
Upon completion of the CM course, by means of 40 principles I have a thorough and sound understanding of improvements, inventions and innovations in new products offered on sale in the market. I can also identify the defects of a particular new product, the improvements to be made, and anticipate its solutions regarding this product.
I am planning to incorporate the spirit and knowledge of this subject into my teaching in order to increase efficiency of my training, enabling my students to learn more systematically and take initiative on their own.
(N.H.H. - Teacher in physics, Mac Dinh Chi high school)
… I have been wondering why so many people have used the trial and error method without ever being able to find the right approach, but what is meant by the right approach? Why is this subject not introduced in high school to save time and energy?
… I teach literature, so developing students’ imagination is essential and the best approach is not to discourage new ideas resulting from cognitive needs. Consequently, students will learn the lessons more easily, and what they have discovered by themselves they will bear in mind.
(D.T.M.H - High school literature teacher)
… Creativity Methodologies enable us to overcome weaknesses of working by rote, and restore the intrinsic quality of creativeness of humans.
…I teach dialectics to students. I think if we combine all the laws and principles of dialectical materialism with techniques of Creativity Methodologies, my lectures will be more interesting. Students will be more interested in philosophy, which will therefore be more practical. I would like this subject to be included in the curriculum of Hanoi University.
(T.N.T - Philosophy lecturer, University of Hanoi)
…Before the course I had never been able to think independently and systematically. If I can apply what I have learned I will be successful in both work and life.
… In an interview at the end of the course, both the interviewers and the interviewees concentrated on the youth. I am totally in favour of that. However, it would be unfair not to include the old generation as course learners. This was agreed on by a senior high school teacher at the meeting. If only leaders of the Ministry of Education and Training would spend some time attending the course.
(T.T.D.T - High school teacher)
Your course gives me a new dimension of creative thinking. Now I can see everything through your 40 principles of TRIZ which help me a lot to solve the problem systematically, minus Trial and Error Method, plus 6 steps of the Reduced Program of Problem Solving.
(Z.S. - Educational administrator, Ministry of Education, Malaysia)
This is one of the most valuable courses that I have ever attended. It really opens my eyes and stimulates my thinking after being exposed to so many new concepts and approaches in creativity learning and problem solving which you skilfully introduced to us. The numerous interesting examples and stories that you appropriately inserted are in themselves masterpieces of creativity. We sincerely look forward for more of such courses.
(L.K.S. - Educational administrator, Ministry of Education, Malaysia)
I am glad and very thankful for attending this extraordinary thinking course. After this course I now realize that contradictions could be united and should not be viewed separatedly. Instead of treating opposite elements as attacking each other, now with TRIZ both are combined to resolve problem in "win-win" situation.
TRIZ methods encourage me to see things and analyze problems objectively. There is no trial and error which is considered wasting time giving limited output. Your methods are convenient to our daily life.
(M.H.Z. - Educational administrator, Ministry of Education, Malaysia)
My present job doesn't sound to be one that has anything to do with science and technology. With the tools that I have learned, I have made various designs of new blouses, some of which I find really good. Though I have no plan to become a fashion-designer in the future, this ability to design new models of clothes can help me become an owner of a well-known dress-making shop. Also, thinking methodically will help me work more efficiently with a program carefully envisaged from A to Z, with no redundant operations that waste my time. If I had attended the CM course right after I finished high school, my career prospects at that time must have been different.
(N.T.M.D. - Dress-maker)
In my production work, by using brainstorming and the table of creativity principles in solving technical contradictions, I have taken the initiative in improving a lifting machine using a manual pump, which was highly appreciated by the people in my factory.
(T.B.H. - Worker)
To illustrate, below I will describe one of my successful efforts since I finished the CM course at the CSTC:
Company Fujitsu sent over 210 Vietnamese to Japan for training. After they had been in Japan for a while, once a week the company arranged for some of them to talk with their families via television bridge. Once there was a technical problem: the participants could only see one another's faces without any sound. Our manager had decided to postpone the meeting. This meant that the families should return home and come back in a week. Among them there were many from very far provinces. Remembering the point "Using the intrinsic resources inherent in the given system" (principle Self-service) in the CM course, I came up with an idea: participants talk on the international telephone of Fujitsu's net while seeing one another on the television screen. All trainees and their families were happy. Because of this, I also felt happy.
(T.T.T.C. - Employee, Company Fujitsu)
…I graduated in Law, and became involved in management … I was interested in the lessons from which I learned a wide range of thinking techniques (40 principles and methods) that I can apply in solving socio-economic problems. I have found that these techniques are essential to daily activities. Creativity Methodologies help me to identify my shortcomings, in particular, psychological inertia, performing jobs by rote, lack of initiatives. I have been trying to get rid of these weaknesses and practising Creativity Methodologies.
(V.K.C. - Scientific research officer, Vietnam National Center for Sciences and Technologies)
Now things have become different after the CM course. I don't mean that it is a sort of miracle. But undoubtedly, if I learn how to think in a more creative way, then I can save more time for more work. Now whatever work I take charge of, big or small, I view it as a problem. I use the new methods to solve it and I can do it faster. Good-bye to my old-fashioned way (the trial and error method). In my hospital, I have reorganized the rooms and medical devices, giving each of them more functions (the principle of Universality) without ill affecting the treatment and order. I now realize fully that: Without methods, great persons can get lost; with good methods, ordinary persons can do great things.
(N.T.Q.L. - Doctor)
I used to feel proud of my ability to create, as compared to other people in the small community where I work. But July 3rd, 1991 was a turning point in the development in my thinking since it was the day I began attending the CM course. Looking back, I realized now that what I had before were small and mediocre ideas. What I can be sure about is that if I had attended this course nine or ten years earlier, I could have done things much more effectively.
(H.T.K. - Engineer in Computer Science)
It is the course I took from the CSTC that helped me to cope with my research problems to which I was unable to find appropriate solutions.
I had never thought that after only ten days of learning I could become so much more scientific in both my work and life.
(N.N.D. - Researcher, Research Institute for Policies of Scientific and Technological Strategies)
After learning the CM course with you, I have put it into practice to solve a variety of challenging problems that I meet in real life. I would like to inform you of that so you can share my happiness.
[Further, he presented in detail how to solve his three specialized problems applying what he learned from CM course and drew the following conclusion:]
I have found that the reason why I could find the solutions to my problems is that I have mastered ARIZ. This helped me quickly identify the problem, with its technical and physical contradictions. I determinedly pushed the contradictions to extremes to resolve them by TRIZ tools. Using ARIZ, I find that my ability to solve problems has augmented ten times. And in my daily life CM have made me feel more confident and comfortable.
(L.V.K. - Mechanical engineer)
During the course, I have used 40 creativity principles and had four inventions in improving wood processing technically.
(T.K.T. - Graduate from Trade School of Chemistry)
Happily, after applying what I have learned to my job, I have made three little inventions and some improvements.
(N.T.T. - Dentist)
Half way through the course, I began applying what I had learned in my research work, in particular, by using such principles as "Local quality", "Prior Counteraction" and "Segmentation". I was able to control the growing of the mushrooms. This has brought about mechanization of mushroom raising, the problem to which I had been looking for a solution. And now I have been able to find the answer. In addition, the size of a mushroom can be controlled to meet market demand. I have recently been conducting a number of experiments for which the results are satisfactory.
(N.H.D. - Agro-engineer)
After the CM course, one of my successful efforts was making improvements in the design and packaging of our product by creativity tools. As well as that, in organizing the production process I made a change to a piece of equipment: a container full of products with a weight of 100 kg made it difficult for workers to load it onto a cart, and then carry it to a steam-heated furnace. In fact the workers were able to handle a load of 70 kg (because 100 kg is too heavy for them), short of 30 kg. I applied the following principles: "Continuity of Useful Action", "Dynamicity", "Segmentation" and "Consolidation". The container was divided into two separate parts, with 50 kg product for each. But once inside the furnace, the two halves were joined with special hooks, and turned into one container to be fitted to the furnace's power. Thus, the container always holds the content of 100 kg without any waste.
(L.C. - Deputy director, Beverages Company)
I feel ashamed of myself for being unaware of this subject, a useful tool for management work, although I have been working for many years at the National Center for Scientific and Technological Information (NCSTI).
(T.T.L. - Department head, NCSTI)
I have to blame myself for taking the CM course so late although it has been in existence in Vietnam for over 22 years. Unlike other courses, this subject impressed me right from the very first lessons with the first concepts.
I am happy to learn that this subject, which is a new science in the world, has been introduced in Vietnam. Everyone can do worse than take up this subject.
(T.M.D. - Deputy General Inspector, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment)
I am a researcher with 18 years of experience in scientific research and 10 years in business management. The subject astonishes me and I have a feeling that I have been making unnecessary efforts to clear the weed to make a path for me to go while there is a wide asphalted road not far from where I am. I wish I had learned this subject earlier.
(B.B.Q - Ph.D. Depury General Director of the company EMECO)
Before taking the CM course I had never thought of such an excellent course being available in Vietnam.
As a training manager I had participated in many courses and seminar-workshops held by different international schools in Vietnam and abroad. I think the CM course is the most interesting course I have attended up to now.
(T.H.H. - Head of Training Department, Company UNILEVER-VIETNAM)
This subject has helped us to realize how harmful it is to think without orientation, to do things from habits and by trial-and-error. In our case, it is even worse because we are teachers, whose duty is to train students to be creative (as we had been asked by our teachers) without ever asking ourselves how to do it. It's silly to ask people to do things we don't know ourselves! TRIZ and the methods activating thinking can help anyone who has mastered them in his/her work. And I think there should be a movement to eradicate "the illiteracy in Creativity Methodologies" for every working person so that he/she can rearrange his/her work in a more creative way.
(L.T.A. - University lecturer)
Conclusions and Visions
1. As TRIZ disciples we must enlarge TRIZ into non-technological areas and make real attempts on the path toward creation of the general theory of creative problem solving like Mr. Altshuller wanted us to.
§ The efforts for enlarging TRIZ and teaching enlarged TRIZ for the large public should be made on the basis of definite requirements, rules and resources to avoid distorting TRIZ philosophy/spirit.
§ On the basis of our own experiences in using TRIZ for solving different kinds of problems (not only technological), teaching enlarged TRIZ for the large public for more than 20 years and experiences of our former learners, we believe that our activities are on the right road to implement Mr. Altshuller’s humane ideal.
§ Teaching enlarged TRIZ has the purpose to prepare creativity methodologies users on a daily basis. We believe that learners will actually apply creativity methodologies in all aspects of their lives only when the program can induce inside learners the needed emotions promoting them to do that. So our program involves many examples, stories, cases taken from different areas of human activity, graphic depictions, cartoons and exercises that may inspire such emotions.
§ In spite of the achieved results, there are many points we would like to make better, for example, teaching and training works at our Center are often overloaded so we lack the time for processing all obtained results, doing research and writing new textbooks.
§ Judging by
a) the composition of our classes which are mixed in ages, levels of education, professions and positions. By March 2001, we had worked with nearly 8,000 people from all economic and social sectors (more than 180 courses in all and each course consists of 60 hours),
b) the financially self-supporting work of our Center from the very beginning,
we believe that, with appropriate ways, enlarged TRIZ can be introduced into any system (organization, society…) and accepted by its people.
In the full program of teaching TRIZ there is one important part: Development of Creative Imagination. Additionally, in Nine-Systems Thinking Display there are three systems in the future: supersystem, system and subsystem. According to TRIZ tradition, this paper would be insufficient if we did not give some thoughts about the future which can be influenced by TRIZ.
2. Mankind’s history has shown that civilization has been created not because of enhancing (amplifying) human psychological and/or physiological abilities. Instead, civilization has been created mainly by people working with more and more perfect tools (in the largest meaning) which have been built on the basis of discovered objective laws and are appropriate for the great masses.
Among three areas: nature, society and thinking which should be understood and transformed by humankind, thinking had been receiving the least attention until recently. This imbalance between these three areas has served as a deep cause for a great number of tragedies at personal, group, even national and global levels.
In the thinking process for solving problems and making decisions, the trial and error method is a natural tool which has a great amount of disadvantages. In contrast, TRIZ with its system of artificial thinking tools is created on the basis of discovered objective laws of systems development. In this relation, the TRIZ approach is significantly stronger than an approach based only on human psychology and has much larger prospects.
Imagine how great humankind’s civilization will be when ordinary people work with the perfect tools in thinking as they do in the other two areas: nature and society? To realize this point, TRIZ needs to be developed towards becoming tools for the great masses, not for engineers only.
§ Human life is a succession of problems. Because of many contemporary challenges, with time, the amount of problems increases at all difficulty levels. To convert the challenges into opportunities, everyone should be a good solver in the meaning that he/she is able to solve all problems he/she is faced with in a scientific way without errors during all of his/her life. In this regard, we believe that beside traditional professions which are different for different people there is a common profession for all: the profession of solving problems and making decisions. In other words, a need for inventing the general theory of creative problem solving has emerged.
TRIZ with its great advantages and potentials is one of the best candidates for that.
§ The education (in the largest meaning) we need is creative and innovative education which educates all people in creativity and innovation - the utmost humanity. Such an education will prepare solvers who can solve successfully any problem they encounter in their life and work to satisfy their just needs and thus to satisfy social needs of sustainable development.
TRIZ philosophy in general, TRIZ win-win logic and its science-based tools in particular will contribute to constructing the creative and innovative education in order to beat catastrophe.
§ Preparing good solvers will help to kill several birds with one stone.
a) to solve problems such as how to find relevant information in the information ocean, how to handle (process) information streams effectively, how to transform information into knowledge (see Figure 12).
b) to prepare the creative and innovative workforce (in the largest meaning) which is so needed for the knowledge economy, because, essentially, the knowledge economy is the economy based on creativity and innovation.
c) to raise moral and cultural levels in societies, because the tools’ user not only uses the tools but the tools also influence the user. In the case of thinking tools, they can improve greatly the user’s attitude, behaviour, life skills, emotions and actions in relation to other people and nature.
d) to enable us to establish concordance at all levels from group to global easier and faster than before, because all people have the common thinking language and methodology.
e) to prepare people who will become the masters of their lives and make an active improvement of the quality of their lives not waiting passively for assistance from outside.
§ TRIZ is a large theory. To master TRIZ requires a lot of time to learn, exercise and practise let alone to master the General Theory of Creative Problem Solving (GTCPS) in the future. One practical solution is combining TRIZ with personal computers through creating appropriate software.
What is more essential, we think, is to teach enlarged TRIZ (or GTCPS when it has been created) from kindergarten to higher schools (of course, with programs corresponding to related learners) for some dozen hours each year so the full program is completed when the user graduates from university, see Figure 13 and 14. Furthermore, teachers of other disciplines need to study TRIZ (or GTCPS) and also to teach their disciplines in its light and help their students to themselves discover/invent knowledge of these disciplines in a scientific way.
§ TRIZ has been built relying on a lot of sources, see Figure 1. Developing TRIZ further, we believe that, in its turn, developed TRIZ will help these source-sciences to solve their problems more creatively and innovatively.
At last, please enjoy looking at Figures 15
For detailed information on some of the points presented in this paper, please consult the following articles, books and journals in Vietnamese and English
-------End of part 2. Look for part 3 in the August 2001 TRIZ Journal