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STEP-BY-STEP LOGIC TO TRANSFORM INITIAL SITUATION AT SEVERAL CASES
M-J Song†,1, S-C Kim1, S.Antonov1, V.Lenyashin2
1 Research Innovation Group, CTO team, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, San14, Nongseo-dong, Kyheung-gu,
Yongin, Kyunggi-do, 449-712, Korea
2 SC_Group, Central Research Institute, Samsung Electromechanics, Maetan-3-dong, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon, Kyunggi-do, 443-743, Korea
ABSTRACT Even if TRIZ is very powerful tool for idea generation, many people have difficulties to apply TRIZ for a real project. One of reason is that as a rule the real initial situation is very unlike to the problem model of classical TRIZ. There are lots of initial situation spectrums. Sometimes, formulating function model of the system is enough to apply conventional TRIZ tools. In other cases, it is inevitable for the problem solvers to understand whole historical map of the system and supersystem to formulate ‘meaningful problem model’. According to various initial situations and objectives of the problem solver, step-by-step logic to formulate the problems from initial situation is presented with case studies. Multiscreen canvas and alignment with Six Sigma and R&D procedure are key features of the presented logics.
Key words: TRIZ, initial situation, technology development, Six Sigma, Multiscreen canvas, R&D management procedure
TRIZ has been recognized at present as the most successful methodology to create innovative concepts in technical field (TRIZ implementation in non-technical field is out of the scope of this article). The idea, “TRIZ can resolve contradiction”, is so attractive for almost all engineers and executive boards that many people have wanted to utilize TRIZ for their own problems. However, resolving contradiction is a double-faced blade to TRIZ itself. Many people just think TRIZ is only useful problem solving. Introducing TRIZ in SAIT and Samsung group, TRIZ experts have focused on problem solving in the early stage because problem solving could show off the usefulness of TRIZ within short time.1
SAIT has a role to survey up-front technology and pick up most promising technology for SAMSUNG and organize such technology into product concept level, in other words theme finding. Before 2005, SAIT dealt with theme finding took a small portion of SAIT R&D activity. After 2006, SAIT has turned theme finding as main activity. TRIZ approach organized before 2005 should change its direction to come up with theme finding activity. Responding the change of company strategic direction, TRIZ experts in SAIT have studied theme-finding activity and organized a new scheme of TRIZ approach for theme finding activity.
This study summarizes a step-by-step logic for initial situation analysis for TRIZ activity from theme finding to just solving give problem especially focusing on theme finding activity.
Objective and Background of this study
TRIZ has so many good features with bad features. For parameter optimization, for material screening test, TRIZ works little. Even if there are several stages of technology, TRIZ contributes important but narrows scope. It is necessary to understand the characteristics of R&D to find out appropriate TRIZ touch points. In this phase, the authors introduce typical R&D procedure model and elucidate where and when TRIZ can helpful most effectively. After figuring out such touch points, initial approach methods can be designed for case by case.
R&D procedure model
The most important outcome of research institute in company is intellectual properties including patents, standards, know-how, and so on. The objective of company institute is to show new opportunity of business based on technology innovation. In the beginning of R&D, it is necessary to find out ‘appropriate theme’. Some themes come from elsewhere out of internal institute. Other themes come from extremely organized workshop of business unit and engineer group and consumer group. No one can say almighty procedure to pull new theme at once. To find out upstream theme, many big companies organize their own proprietary procedure to manage R&D process.
GE has used CECOR process to provide new theme and strategy since October 2003. The outcomes of imagination breakthrough or CECOR procedure could be input of new technology introduction process2. 3M has NTI process for technology development3.
SAIT also has similar procedure of front-end technology R&D4 . Figure 1 shows rough schema of SAIT technology innovation framework and usual R&D activity list from (1) theme finding to (7) product realize. Along whole R&D procedure in SAIT, TRIZ has played important roles in patent ideation, problem solving (4), and concept differentiation (2) since introduced in 20001.
Since 2005, SAIT start technology prediction activity by TRIZ approach. Because finding right opportunity domain is more difficult than doing it right ways. To grasp opportunity as much as possible, SAIT tries global networking as well as internal opportunity exploring. Since opportunity domains never come from nothing, SAIT uses special methodology, opportunity search originated from SRIC5 to explore technology related business opportunity.
Figure 1 R&D management procedure of SAIT / Technology Innovation Framework
If opportunity domain is found, patent map elucidate most promising technology development area (2 in figure 1). In case of future technology prediction model using TRIZ, SAIT experts should align with conventional flow in SAIT environment. There are 3 supersystems in SAIT for logic design. The first is R&D management framework, the second is six sigma, and the third is opportunity search that is conventional theme survey and prediction model in SAIT.
There are lots of interesting areas to be considered when we analyze initial situation. Size and depth of the interest area is depends on the purpose of TRIZ and the time when TRIZ is applied. Initial situation analysis logic should designate how much interest domain is surveyed.
This study shows trials of SAIT TRIZ experts to align with TRIZ and conventional flow in R&D institute for several situation from theme search to bottleneck problem solving, especially focus on (1)~(4).
TRIZ touch points in R&D procedure
A critical factor for the quality of technology innovation framework (denoted in figure 1) and opportunity search is ‘idea’ induced by ‘trend’ analysis. We need plentiful and fancy ideas as many as possible. We need an innovative mind set to re-organize past to present trend of product, technology, industry, culture and so on. Even if TRIZ is very powerful tool but there are lots of useful tool for specific situation, so it is appropriate organizing a way with preserving strength of TRIZ and making a reasonable links with current R&D management process and theme finding process.
Theme finding period, finding theme itself can be an important TRIZ touch item. Next to the found theme is patent survey and goal setting/strategy planning. To make a decision for appropriate R&D direction, TRIZ can contribute.
In theme finding activity, TRIZ can tough trend analysis part by evolution theory. Before pioneer research and/or proof project, patent analysis and IP strategy creation is very important. Evolution theory and toolkit of TRIZ can contribute wide IP positioning. To remove hurdle to breakthrough issues in the selected technology, domain experts needs enabling IP to break. Many activities in R&D innovation framework can be summarized into following 4 different cases.
Case 1. Future Opportunity Prediction (1 in figure 1)
Case 2. IP Positioning (2 in figure 1)
Case 3. Early Stage Concept Design (3 in figure 1)
Case 4. Bottle Neck Problem Solving (4 in figure 1)
Classifying TRIZ necessary R&D activities are as following. Among such activities, initial approach methods to the three representative activities will be discussed in the paper.
Survey Current Approaches
It is worth while surveying approach of other TRIZ experts for several cases to develop customized initial approach for SAIT interests.
Case 1. Future Opportunity Prediction
Opportunity means a product or services or process (all around TRIZnicks call it as just ‘system’ or ‘technical system’) which seems promising in the future time-span in some pace for some people.
Traditional TRIZ evolution approaches can be classified as a deductive way to understand past and present. This process can deliver most likely direction of the system evolution will take. According to the predicted system, we can identify critical problems and solve the problem a priori with the assistance of classical TRIZ toolkits. Multiple conceptual models of next generation are classified and estimated in the next phase. Selected design could be fed into the company technology plan. This approach can provide concrete background of idea direction, but it is time-consuming and tedious to analyze. One more drawback is this approach needs very good understanding about several types of evolution patterns case by case. There are two well known meta-process to analyze initial situation in prediction stage.
- Ideation’s Directed Evolution6
- Fey’s TechNavTM process7 8
The other approach to understand past and present is Opportunity Search5 (abbrev. OS) originated from SRIC, which means summarizing real cases makes an abstract model. Since 1999, SAIT has introduced OS for new theme finding. This approach enables us to handle several spectra of ideas and make a common rule for prediction in very ambiguous situation. However, the firmness of the rule is relatively weak, which might draw a weak prediction. In this approach, just brainstorming for ideation is used also. Up to now no meaningful combine has been tried between these two types of future opportunity prediction method into one in the world.
Case 2. IP positioning
For IP positioning, patent map skill is applied conventionally. Patents map9 shows what kind of patents/prior arts have been appeared in the world. Approaches of Ideation and Fey et al are good way for IP positioning also.
Case 3. Early Stage Concept Design
Usual R&D procedure, concept design different from competing technology in the early stage is one of the most important tasks. When opportunity profile is given, engineers survey related technical concepts to deliver the product/services in the determined opportunity domain. When concept of the product seems fancy enough, CEO can make a go/no-go decision more easily and project manager can draw more concrete milestone to realize the concept.
Traditional ways of TRIZ industry to deliver the concept design in the early stage of R&D are two ones which are incorporated into as SW, Goldfire Innovator TM. The one is trimming and the other is feature hybrid. Fey et al and Zlotin et al touch this issue in the prediction logic. However, even if we made no evolution analysis, TRIZ can be very useful to construct early stage concepts differentiated from the competitor’s. Yezersky10 has released an interesting initial situation analysis logic named as general theory of innovation, which focuses on system and function. He suggests formulating relevant diagram TM guides innovation direction.
The author also provided logic11 to formulate initial situation when different concept design is necessary in the early stage of the project, which suggest ‘transition action’ to make ‘forced problem’. This ‘forced problem’ is formulated as ‘technical contradiction’, i.e. induced contradiction different from inherent contradiction that exists before ‘transition action’ in the system. Induced contradiction could be identified only after ‘transition action’ is applied. As transition action, we can introduce several concepts according to evolution pattern, or analogy, or axiom of ideality and so on. This logic operates well enough once opportunity domain and historical technical concepts (or related concept in other technical domain). Since 2004, many projects in SAIT have used this logic to formulate problem and create new concepts successfully.
Case 4. Bottle Neck Problem Solving
Even if standardizing and simplification for SAIT purpose is necessary, there are lots of situation analysis logics in the TRIZ world. It is enough to just remark well-known authors who clarified initial situation analysis here about problem solving. Zlotin et al12 designated their approaches in famous innovative situation questionnaire, invention machine adopt brief project description + root cause analysis as recommendable procedure for initial situation analysis of solving existing problem to improve existing system (Goldfire Innovator TM). Royzen13 (ref.) also introduces well-organized situation analysis logic; Khomenko14 15 provides simple and strong logic for initial situation analysis based on his OTSM-TRIZ. Shpackovsky16 suggest visual approaches in his famous Christmas tree diagram, which increase user-friendliness. Altshuller constructed initial approach in his earlier version of ARIZ before ARIZ-85c17.
For SAIT purpose, the authors have thought simplicity and alignment with six sigma flow is a mandatory feature of SAIT logic.
Suggest Novel Approaches
Multiscreen canvas platform
The most unique feature of the authors’ approach is “multiscreen canvas (figure 2)” as framework of all the initial analysis approach. The authors have combined two kinds of methodologies into one for multiscreen canvas: process map and multiscreen scheme.
Process map18 is a traditional method to figure out process, even thinking process. Process map is very useful but to know what area should be focused, we should read very carefully small letters before/after block diagram. The second fancy one is SRIC-BI’s commercialization framework5, which reflects multiscreen scheme of TRIZ very well. The framework shows which domain/hierarchy is interest part of a specific activity by just single looking.
Combining good features of these two designation methods, the authors suggest 2D-multiscreen process canvas. This canvas was introduced because many people struggled when they make strategy, concept design, problem solving not because there are no process but because what kind of contents are handled in each process step. As field consultants in the front edge of the technical R&D, the authors have thought such phenomena as one of the worst hurdle for the people to select and use specific procedure for their own purpose. To figure out what kind of contents will be focused in the specific stage of thinking, multiscreen canvas guide the users more intuitively than usual schema.
Figure 2 Multiscreen Canvas
The multiscreen canvas has 3 unique features as following.
1. Intuitive user interface of process flow with interest domain
– X-axis: process flow,
– Y-axis: interest scope from birds view to ants view canvas for thinking/working flow management
==> Intuitive recognition of process flows and interest domain of each step ==> small errors during approach
2. If necessary Add/remove interest scope according to the purpose of the job
3. Alignment with well-known process, for example, six sigma, opportunity search. Many engineers in SAIT have a priori training of such methodologies and procedure. By incorporating critical step with TRIZ philosophy into the existing mental procedure, we could minimize education time, adoption time, and hesitation and so on.
On the multiscreen, initial situation analysis logics for each cases are designated as following:
Case 1. Future Opportunity Prediction
In this situation, given information is nothing. Every participant should agree to assume a product or service model for the start point of initial thinking. It is necessary to deliver new promising opportunity of specific product or service model with reasonable user scenario, value, system architecture and issues after this process.
Figure 3 Future opportunity prediction
Almost procedure of the future opportunity prediction is composed of analysis part. Analyzing ‘everything’ from past to present or referring to specific analysis report, engineers create several kinds of ideas. Rough idea comes from in this stage, which will make a certain cluster by collecting similar ideas into one. During this clustering process, the engineers can recognize a certain pattern in idea, cluster, which might give a clue for future product/service model. When the engineers try clustering idea to find out a pattern, evolution tree of such cluster might illuminate which cluster is more advanced than other clusters. Evolution hierarchy between clusters can help the engineers screen most promising clusters in the next stage. After screening promising opportunity cluster, in-depth evolution analysis of product/service model and technology is very useful to make a realistic but challenging system architecture. Tracking evolution history of technology, product/services, the engineers become to get more knowledge, as a result, and reasonable decision criteria also. Issues in every interest domains with designated system (rough) architecture could be understood as technical contradiction, which can be eliminated nicely by conventional TRIZ approach. This is the whole story of initial situation analysis in theme finding activity.
Case 2. IP positioning
Figure 4 IP positioning
Case 3. Early Stage Concept Design
In this situation, opportunity is usually defined, but system architecture is still unclear. Technical approaching methods are not clarified. It is necessary to design ‘unique concepts’ and ‘technical solutions’ for specific opportunity. It is not necessarily to consider society and culture, government and so on in this scope.
Figure 5 Early stage concept design
Even if system architecture was drafted in the opportunity search, detailed deployment of architecture and resolving issues is always necessary. Constructing more concrete concept for R&D project needs information of contemporary competing technologies for the given product/service model. In depth evolution analysis for such contemporary competing technologies or product/service model by the help of TRIZ/evolution theory and toolkit is very useful in the first stage of early stage of concept design. Evolution tree mapping for product/services/technology helps engineers choose most advanced system/technology in contemporary industry. In the R&D procedure and strategy, most important deliverable is ‘concept design’ different from competitors. To deliver such different concepts, the engineers need special skills and more knowledge. Evolution patterns identified from technology history can guide ‘first differentiation’ to the given system. To differentiate the given system, reverse engineering and modeling of the target system is inevitable. By applying transition action to differentiate the given system, we can identify what is most serious problem created by our ‘transition action’, so called ‘induced technical contradiction’. By resolving this ‘induced technical contradiction’ a priori, the engineers deliver better concepts comparing to the competitors. More than 75% of SAIT projects are in this category since 2004.
Case 4. Bottle Neck Problem Solving
In this stage, system is fixed, usually technology is also fixed, but there are some problems that are unsolved by known technology. Altshuller called this situation as ‘inventive problem’17. It is necessary to deliver ‘new technical solution’ to fix given bad situation. It is not necessarily to consider society, government, and market in this stage. (Sometimes we should consider market also) Altshuller and many other TRIZ experts organized situation analysis logic for this case well enough. SAIT TRIZ experts relate this logic with conventional six sigma logic; especially design for six sigma roadmap. With aligning six sigma, SAIT can boost up verification process and reduce trial and errors for realization. Isolating technical contradiction existing in the given system (SAIT TRIZ experts call this technical contradiction as ‘inherent technical contradiction’ differentiated from ‘induced technical contradiction’ which appears only after evolutionary transition action), the engineers can understand the object and relationship between objects more clearly around core problems, which change mindset of the engineers to consider ‘innovative way’.
Figure 6 Bottleneck problem solving
Understanding the unique characteristics of R&D procedure in the institute, SAIT TRIZ experts organized customized TRIZ approaches for three representative cases. SAIT’s proprietary initial situation analysis has three unique features. The first ones is SAIT TRIZ process are organized on the multi-screen itself, which enhances user-friendliness. The second outstanding feature is well-alignment with conventional R&D management procedure in the institute. The last one is alignment with ‘Six sigma’ for verification and realization with minimal trial and errors.
According to analysis of R&D procedures, 4 representative cases for TRIZ touch were identified for SAIT purpose. For each case, SAIT TRIZ experts suggest logic for initial situation analysis with full process.
† Corresponds should be addressed to: email@example.com, Phone. 82-31-280-6711, Fax. 82-31-280-6829.
1 Mi Jeong Song and Se Ho Cheong , “SAMSUNG’s use of TRIZ in DFSS”, IRI’s six sigma and design for six sigma in R&D workshop, march 19-21, 2007, GE Global research center headquarters, Niskayuna, NY.
2 Jeff Emelt, CEO of GE , “Growth as a process”, Harvard Business Review, June 2006, 1-11
3 Terry Potts , “3M corporate NTI & TDFSS, New Technology Introduction Systems & Technology Design for six sigma”, DFSS Forum, November, 8, 2005, SAIT
4 Technology Innovation Framework (in Korean), company proprietary document in SAIT, 2006.
8 D.Clausing and V.Fey , “Effective Innovation”, , The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, pp27-103, 2004.
10 William Fowlkes, “The general theory of innovation”, IRI’s six sigma and design for six sigma in R&D workshop, March 19-21, 2007, GE Global research center headquarters, Niskayuna, NY.
11 Mi Jeong Song et al., ”Simple logic to extract sets of technical contradictions from initial situation”., TRIZ-journal, October 2004.
12 IWB v.2.8.0, Ideation International Inc
13 Z. Royzen , “TRIZ technology of conceptual design”, Presentation material of 5-day TRIZ seminar, Samsung Electronics in Korea, 1998
14 N.Khomenko , “Seminar of Introduction of OTSM-TRIZ” , SAIT, Sep., 2002
17 G.S.Altshuller, Translated by A. Williams, “Creativity as an Exact Science”, 4th printing, Gordon and Breach Publishers Inc., 1998