Seung-Hyun Yoo, Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Ajou University, Suwon Vice President of Korea TRIZ Association, Korea

Abstract: Current status of TRIZ in Korea is described in this report. The history of TRIZ which was introduced at 1995 and development in Korea are summarized. TRIZ is now blossoming in Korea in industries like Samsung, POSCO and LG. Many universities are adopting TRIZ as regular curriculums and companies are training TRIZ in addition to 6 sigma practices. General societal acceptance of TRIZ as a principal method for innovation is addressed.

History of TRIZ in Korea

TRIZ was introduced to Korea in 1995 by Dr. Jang of Korea ASI to LG Electronics company. He learned about TRIZ program from ASI during his activities introducing Taguchi method. LG invited TRIZ masters like Zinovy Royzen, Boris Zlotin and Alla Zusman to train its engineers. LG (LG Production Engineering Research Center) made a TRIZ team and dispatched engineers to Ideation International for a project on 'Noise problem of air conditioner'. This was the first successful example in Korea and also in Asia.

Samsung started TRIZ at SAIT (Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology ) by making a first report on TRIZ in 1997 but Samsung Electronics was not ready to appreciate the potential of TRIZ. Instead Samsung SDI started TRIZ study by the firm order from the president at that time, Sun Wook, in 1998. He played important role as the TRIZ champion and is still active in speaking for TRIZ in Korea. Samsung SDI held TRIZ seminars and invited Zinovy Royzen. They also bought TRIZ softwares and benchmarked Mitsubishi of Japan. TRIZ is blossoming in Samsung from then on.

On the other hand people outside of Samsung and LG started to learn TRIZ at TRIZ seminar by Korea SANNO and Korea Management Association. But there were no follow up activities until Korea TRIZ Study Group was formed at June, 1999. This study group is continuing now and plays core roles in KTA (Korea TRIZ Association). There appeared TRIZ consultants and companies devoted in TRIZ in this period. But TRIZ activities at LG were diminished in general but LG cable (now LS Cable) continued TRIZ activities and produced some notable results. POSCO (Pohang Iron and Steel Company) and KT (KT Corp.) are also active in utilizing TRIZ. Major TRIZ softwares such as Goldfire Innovator, IWB (Innovation Workbench) and CREAX are introduced in Korea.

KTA (Korea TRIZ Association) launched at August, 2002 registering on MOCIE (Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, Korea). KTA is representing Korea TRIZ community collecting all efforts outside the closed company activities. KTA became 31st member of MATRIZ at December 2003. There are 6 institutions in Korea which became members of MATRIZ including Samsung and KTA.

TRIZ has been known widely by some successful examples. The first one was 'water saving toilet system' as shown in Fig. 1. This was invented by a university study group and showed the potential of TRIZ as this case exemplified that moderate education of TRIZ could produce profound results. The idea was to solve the 'physical contradiction' by using 'separation of time' principle. Now this system can save water from 13 liters to 3 liters.

Figure 1. New water saving toilet bowl system.

Even though we heard that Samsung produced many good results, there are few publicly known results. Next example is one of the success stories of Samsung. It is said that they reduced the cost in amount of 0.1 billion US dollars for 3 years by applying TRIZ to DVD pickup head. As these news spread out, many companies started to show interests and eagerness to study TRIZ.

Korean TRIZ Study Group has translated some TRIZ books. Following is the list of TRIZ book in Korean language.

And suddenly the inventor appeared, 1998

The innovation algorithm, 2002

40 Principles, 2002

Systematic innovation, 2003

ASIT, 2003

Simplified TRIZ, 2005.

Current status of TRIZ in Korea

Currently TRIZ is now gaining momentum in Korea. Major companies are now introducing TRIZ.

Most companies are trying to train their engineers TRIZ in addition to 6 sigma. Many universities including Korea Polytechnic University, Hanyang University, Ajou University and Myongji University are adopting TRIZ as core courses in their curriculum. There were no formal conference meetings on TRIZ until last winter. The first conference was held on December, 2004 as a session of 'The 13th Knowledge management society of Korea academic symposium'. Next was a TRIZ session of '2005 Society of CAD/CAM engineers annual conference' on January 2005. Now most of the academic societies include TRIZ session as their formal sessions. Recently 5 problems were on TRIZ in the Trial University Entrance Exam held on June 1st, 2005. The problems were on language area and asked about technical and physical contradictions. It means that about 600 thousands students were asked on the basic concepts of TRIZ. As Korean economy is stagnated around 10 thousand US dollars per capita income, whole country is trying to find the way to make innovations. Many top managerial and engineering executives recognize that TRIZ may be the last resort. So TRIZ is known to every engineer from industries and universities.

But there are many hindrances too. The first problem is that many trainees of TRIZ confess that TRIZ is difficult. They are following well until concept of contradiction. But they are lost when ARIZ is formally introduced. Second problem is that there are not enough TRIZ experts even though many TRIZ manias learned by themselves or received systematic training. There is no formal institution which trains TRIZ systematically. The universities teach TRIZ as one or two semester course. As shown above there are several TRIZ books in Korea, but the number is not enough to introduce TRIZ to Korean layman. As TRIZ people are busy to learn and digest there is no comprehensive and integrated view of strategic tools with TRIZ. So many companies train TRIZ as a subset of 6 sigma activities. Many engineers want to have simplified version of TRIZ such as ASIT, USIT. But there is no expert in Korea to educate them with thorough understanding of these tools and clear analytical criticism.

In spite of those difficulties, TRIZ is expected to blossom in Korea with help from TRIZ masters all over the world.

My personal experiences show the trend in Korea. I approached TRIZ as a mechanical designer and an engineering professor. I should confess that I have not received education on creativity. Instead originality was stressed on R&D process. I put much efforts to find a systematic way to introduce creativity to students through design curriculum. I found a book titled 'Essence of Creativity' authored by S. Kim of MIT. I translated that book and lectured at LG. I heard about TRIZ at the meeting in 1996. I started to learn TRIZ from then. As I started career from structural mechanics, I am still doing projects on stress analysis and reliability. But projects from biomedical engineering take large parts currently. TRIZ sheds light on my design methodology and it evolves into a 'product development course'. I collected my personal experiences and learning of TRIZ into a book and published in the title of 'Designer's creativity'. Now I am involved in TRIZ related projects. One is from KIPO (The Korean Intellectual Property Office) to develop texts to educate middle school students. The other is on developing future plan for KIMM (Korean Institute of Machinery and Materials) using TRIZ concept. Also I am lecturing on TRIZ in addition to my regular courses at Ajou University. I feel the demand is growing and this is the concrete reason that TRIZ is blossoming in Korea.


The author stated current status of TRIZ in Korea briefly. As Korean situation demands a new paradigm changing tool for innovation, TRIZ is rapidly spreading in Korea. As there are many obstacles ahead, the wisdom and experiences of TRIZ masters will be helpful for Korea TRIZ community. The oral presentation will show more examples illustrating recent Korean activities.


In addition to the TRIZ books translated in Korean as shown in the text, 1.

Yoo, S.-H., "Designer's Creativity", Ajou University Press, 2004 (in Korean). 2.

Kim, H.-J., "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving TRIZ", Jihye, 2004 (in Korean). 3.

Kim, I.-C., "Formula of invention and patents", 2001 (in Korean). 4.

Park, S.-D., "Science of inventions and patents", 1999. 5.

Several articles on newspapers and magazines.

  "MATRIZ Fest 2005"