ARIZ on the Move

Boris Zlotin and Alla Zusman



The first of these articles are devoted to ARIZ (the Algorithm for Inventive Problem Solving). We chose this subject for two reasons:

  1. It is clear that, after five years of excitement over the Contradiction Table and the 40 Innovation Principles (both of which were developed in the mid-1960s), the interests of new and potential TRIZ users has shifted to more powerful tools like ARIZ. Actually, ARIZ is the opposite of the Contradiction Table in terms of complexity and effectiveness. Non-selective application of this extremely powerful though very complex and complicated tool can be very frustrating because ARIZ is cost-effective only for those problems which are truly unique. Usually, the solution to these problems cannot be drawn by analogy from other knowledge domains, but rather should be built from scratch the way a unique house is made from bricks according to a special design rather than from ready-to-assemble modules. According to Altshuller’s research, less than 5% of the problems encountered in daily engineering activity are problems of this type. (It should be noted that attempting to apply the Contradiction Table to non-typical problem situations is no less frustrating due to its own limitations.)
  1. Another reason is that the history of the development of ARIZ is a good illustration of the process developed by Altshuller for introducing new and advanced TRIZ tools. This process included a judicious and centralized initial presentation of the tool along with mandatory testing of its validity and applicability. Each modification to an existing tool or theory was first tested on educational case studies by Altshuller and the best TRIZ specialists, then utilized experimentally during TRIZ seminars, and finally tested on different real-life situations. This process was an effective way to prevent the damage that might otherwise have resulted from the irresponsible introduction of untested modifications. In the case of ARIZ it was a simple matter to recommend changes – on the surface, ARIZ appears deceptively uncomplicated and merely rewording or changing the order of its steps can constitute significant revisions whose effectiveness can only be determined by rigorous testing. (In fact, modifications to ARIZ and other tools became the favorite pursuit of TRIZ novices.)

Embarking, then, on this historical journey of rediscovery, the following two articles published in the Journal of TRIZ in 1992 (Volume 3, Issue 1) are offered here:

Henry Altshuller The History of ARIZ Development
Boris Zlotin and Alla Zusman Problems of ARIZ Enhancement

 The History of ARIZ Development

G. S. (Henry) Altshuller
Petrozavodsk, Russia

The following article has been condensed from information presented at the seminar "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving" held at the School of Management, Simferopol, Ukraine, 1986

Why we need this session

The notion that technological systems evolve according to certain patterns that can be understood and purposefully used to solve problems emerged in 1946. Since 1948, the work in this area has become vitally important.

Initially, the intention was to build a method for inventing as a set of rules such as: "Solving a problem means finding and resolving a technical contradiction," or "For any given solution, the less material, energy, space and time used, the more powerful it is." This method was intended to include typical innovation principles such as segmentation, integration, inversion, changing the aggregate state, replacing a mechanical system with a chemical system, etc. These rules and principles were to be (and are) based on research and information compiled about the inventive activities of famous inventors, by interviewing known inventors, the analysis of personal inventive practices, and other available technical information including the history of technology.

  1. A pre-program achievement


ARIZ-56 is a set of steps for problem solving rather than an algorithm or program (in the way that a Table of Contents is not yet a book). It was influenced by the practices of the best inventors of the past; the analysis of patents was not yet a main tool for ARIZ development. The operational part of ARIZ-56 recalls Synectics because of its reliance on analogic thinking (primarily in its use of natural prototypes). Journal: Questions of Psychology, 1955, #6.

Strengths of ARIZ-56

An example of the practical implementation of ARIZ-56 is the solution of the problem of developing a thermal protection suit.

In the mid-1950s, a strong understanding had grown that all inventors, even the most successful ones, work extremely ineffectively. They used trial-and-error methods and it was therefore senseless to attempt to uncover and put to use the "secrets of creativity." What did make sense was to build a completely new technology based on the objective patterns of technological evolution, which could be revealed through a systematic analysis of the extensive bulk of patent information.

  1. The synthesis of a program for problem-solving begins


ARIZ-59 represents the beginning of a long journey toward a structured algorithm supported by a set of tools for sequential use (operators, knowledge base units, etc.). The first steps, a chain of operations, appears. As of yet there is no system – the steps can be interchanged. "Natural prototypes" are moved to the end of the operational portion of ARIZ. A new and important step is introduced: identification of the Ultimate Final Result (Solution). Journal: Inventor and Innovator, 1959, #10.

ARIZ-59 resulted from a number of seminars conducted in the construction industry of Azerbaijan. Examples of practical implementation: electro-thermal jack, spiral binding for clamps (J. A. Ismailov), and a grape espalier without poles.

By the end of the 1950s it became obvious that a "method of inventing" must include, besides ARIZ, the patterns of technological evolution and the constantly growing knowledge base. In fact, what was originally intended, as a "method of inventing" would be more appropriately termed a science of invention. There was strong resistance – those opposed to the notion of a science of invention had become accustomed to the existence of a "method of inventing." After all, it merely amounted to a set of useful recommendations based on analysis of the experience of inventors. A science of invention, however, threatened more than a few "sacred cows." It denied the uniqueness of history’s great inventors and intruded upon the common perception of the incomprehensible nature of the creative process. While "method of inventing" helped in terms of gaining insight to inventive thinking, a "science of invention" in effect cancelled the old notions, including that of creativity as an innate capability. This, in other words, was nothing less than pure heresy . . .


ARIZ-61 was an improved version of ARIZ-59, based on a set of seminars conducted in cities other than Baku in Donetsk, Tambov, Ryazan. The operational part of ARIZ-61 is extended but the rules for fulfilling the recommendations of each step are still missing, as well as the special steps later incorporated for controlling psychological inertia. (H. Altshuller, "How to learn how to invent". Tambov Book Publishing House, 1961).

Examples of practical implementation are problems related to a mine pile (Donetsk) and the sequential transport of oil products (Stavropol).

  1. Clarification of the program


ARIZ-64 introduces the section on "Clarifying and verifying the problem statement." This is a significant change and one that indicates a new direction in ARIZ development – as that of a tool for obtaining powerful solutions to difficult problems. The rules for fulfilling the recommendations have been introduced (step 2.1). The first table of Innovation Principles has been developed. (H. Altshuller. "Basics of the Method of Inventing," Voroneg, Central Chernosem Publishing House, 1964).

Example of practical implementation: Washing windows in a manufacturing plant.


In ARIZ-65 the first limited contradiction table is introduced. The operational portion still contains the analysis of natural prototypes. The word "algorithm" has been introduced as an indication of the long-term objective for the development of ARIZ. (H. Altshuller. "Attention, an Algorithm of Invention." economics newspaper, September 1, 1965).

A pattern:

If certain steps in the evolution of TRIZ are identified as A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, etc. and currently TRIZ is, for example, on step E, TRIZ allows us to see steps F, G, and H, for example. In contrast, the opponents have so far accepted steps A, B, and C. They are doubtful but silent about steps D and E, and are aggressively arguing against F and G. Then TRIZ moves to step F, after which the opponents accept step D, do not want to talk about E and F, and argue against G, which (to others) is utterly obvious as the step that follows F, and so on . . .

When we spoke of a "method of inventing," rivals were insistent that we refer to nothing more than a collection of useful recommendations, considering an algorithmic approach absolutely out of the question. When TRIZ emerged, they accepted the notion of an "algorithm" and transferred their resistance and aversion to TRIZ, TRTS (Theory of Evolution of Technological Systems) and OTSM (General Theory of Powerful Thinking) . . .


The first chapter of ARIZ-68 is divided into two parts: Selection of the problem and clarification of the problem statement. Special steps for handling psychological inertia are introduced. The knowledge base is significantly extended and structured: systematic analysis of patents has revealed 35 Innovation Principles and the next version of the Contradiction Table. Paleo-bionics has been introduced instead of natural prototypes. (H. Altshuller. "Algorithm of Invention," 1st edition, Moscow Worker, 1969).

Example of practical implementation: Icebreaker problem.

Until 1968, enhancements to ARIZ were based on the analysis of patent information. Seminars were conducted from time to time; I was the only individual teaching TRIZ. After 1968 the situation was different. In anticipation of the mass utilization of TRIZ, the preparation of teachers and modification of ARIZ for a general audience became necessary.

During the next three years – from 1968 to 1971 – TRIZ seminars were organized in the following cities (all within the former Soviet Union): Sverdlovsk, Kaunas, Moscow, Dzintary, Dushanbe, Baku, and Gomel. A comprehensive course in TRIZ was completed in the inventive schools for youth in Baku. Selected portions of ARIZ were tested via surveys. Altogether, more than 5,000 records related to 150 problems were available and provided for the transition to the next version: ARIZ-71.

  1. The program becomes one of the algorithmic type


With ARIZ-71 the program becomes more rigorous. In the process of analysis, the operational zone and its contradictory requirements have been identified (a prototype to the later physical contradiction). A psychological operator for modifying Dimensions, Time and Cost (DMC) has been introduced. The Contradiction Table has been brought to completion and additional Innovation Principles have been identified (up to 40 and, later, to 50). (H. Altshuller. "Algorithm of Invention," 2nd edition, Moscow Worker, 1973).

Recommendations, notes and examples of use have been added. The main operations are integrated into a system and the links between steps are more rigid. A new section for evaluating ideas that have been found has been introduced.


On one hand, ARIZ-75 is a logical continuation of ARIZ-71: more precise recommendations for each of the steps and stricter requirements for completing them. Continued analysis has revealed the existence of physical contradictions.

On the other hand, ARIZ-75 is the first modification built like TRIZ and is intended to work together with the Patterns of Technological Evolution, substance-field transformations and the compiled guides of effects. H. Altshuller. "Analysis of Invention Case Studies." Collection of articles entitled "The Theory and Practice of Inventive Problem Solving". Gorkiy, 1976.


ARIZ-77 is a logical completion of the line that began with ARIZ-71: an algorithmic type of program has been constructed. Again the rigorousness of the program is significantly improved. The text includes multiple rules, notes and examples. A prototype of the physical contradiction on a micro-level (Micro-PhC) is introduced (Step 4.1). Analysis of the solution process has been included as well. Bridging of the steps and the knowledge base (substance-field transformations and effects) has begun. The Contradiction Table remains as an auxiliary unit. (H. Altshuller. "Creativity as an Exact Science." Soviet Radio, Moscow, 1979.).

The 1970s represent a stormy time in the evolution of TRIZ. Dozens of TRIZ schools, courses, seminars, etc. are teaching TRIZ, various mistakes and information helpful for fixing them are quickly being revealed. All TRIZ subjects are in existence: the algorithm, standard solutions, substance-field analysis, knowledge about the Patterns of Technological Evolution and innovation guides. Methods of teaching TRIZ improve.

On the cusp between the 1970s and 1980s, new information necessary to provide for the next step from TRIZ to TRTS (Theory of the Evolution of Technological Systems) started to accumulate within TRIZ. After 1982 educational programs change, with the main objective is preparation to teach TRTS and, further, to teach OTSM (General Theory of Powerful Thinking), that is, to the theory of solving problems in any area.

Beginning with ARIZ-82, a paradoxical process of specialization/generalization begins. In technology, ARIZ is targeted specifically toward the solving of difficult non-typical problems and the development of new standard solutions. At the same time, ARIZ gains some universal features as it is applied toward the solving of scientific problems, problems in the arts, etc.

ARIZ-82 (modifications A, B, C and D) and ARIZ-85A

Information on educational and practical applications of the algorithm quickly accumulates. Other TRIZ tools and applications improve as well, contributing toward the further enhancement of ARIZ.

A new trend is in action: all recommendations and notes made by a teacher must be incorporated into the algorithm. All chapters of ARIZ (with the exception of the first) are improved, especially the operators having to do with transitioning from a physical contradiction to methods for eliminating it. A unit for analyzing the problem model has been introduced. A definition of "micro-physical contradictions" and the second (refined) Ideal Ultimate Result (IUR-2) have been introduced as well. (For ARIZ-82 see "Technology and Science," 1983, #2-4, 6. For ARIZ-85A see H. Altshuller, B. Zlotin, V. Philatov. "Profession – the Search for New Ideas." Kartya Moldovenyaska Publishing House, Kishinev, 1985).

ARIZ-85B and C

Significant changes in structure are introduced, including the second line of operations and the analysis of substance-field resources. The former first chapter is no longer part of the algorithm as it is not rigorous enough compared to the other chapters. The orientation towards ideality strongly increases as a void (empty space) is recognized as the most effective resource.

The link between the algorithm, the system of standard solutions, and the patterns of technological evolution becomes stronger. The second half of the algorithm – that devoted to the development and utilization of ideas that have been found – is improved as well. (H. Altshuller. "ARIZ-85B and ARIZ-85C." Dnepropetrovsk, 1984, 1985: pre-prints made for the seminars conducted at continuos education courses held by the Ministry of Iron Metallurgy, Ukraine.)




What will the next steps be in the development of ARIZ?

The following main directions can be highlighted:

  1. The tradition of increased rigorousness in the evolution of ARIZ continues due to more thorough and increased utilization of the Patterns of Technological Evolution.
  2. Significant strengthening of the bridge between physical contradictions and the methods for resolving them.
  3. Extension of the knowledge base and strengthening of the bridge between ARIZ and the standard solutions.
  4. Separation of the second portion of ARIZ (the development and utilization of ideas) into a separate algorithm
  5. Development of a new first chapter (or a separate algorithm) for revealing new problems to be solved.
  6. Strengthening of the philosophical function of ARIZ as a tool for developing the skills for powerful thinking.
  7. Continual increase of universalization (i.e., encompassing more types of problems other than technical).


Problems of ARIZ Enhancement

Boris Zlotin and Alla Zusman
Kishinev, Moldova

Translated by Alla Zusman



Back in 1985, after a set of experimental versions had been developed, a definitive version of ARIZ (ARIZ-85C) was introduced. With this, along with the guidance of experienced TRIZ teachers, the attendees of TRIZ seminars became quite successful in handling special training case studies (i.e., problems with well-defined statements). Still, students learning ARIZ had to overcome many difficulties, so further explanations, comments and illustrations were needed. Some of the steps in ARIZ required a significant number of exercises. The most serious problems took place, however, when students were trying to solve real life (and thus poorly formulated) problems, due to the absence of a "problem clarification and formulation" steps in ARIZ-85C. This section existed in previous modifications of ARIZ (ARIZ-71, 77), but was excluded in later versions due to the lack of improvement it had undergone compared to other, more rigorous and quickly-evolving sections of ARIZ.

TRIZ educators from various schools were looking for the ways to overcome the difficulties mentioned above. Some educators accumulated fairly extensive lists of recommendations related to further ARIZ enhancements, including attempts to develop new versions of ARIZ. By 1989, several TRIZ individuals and groups presented and tested their own versions, for example, V. Korolev (Belaya Tserkov), Y. Andrievskiy (Petrozavodsk), a group from Novosibirsk, and others. This could be considered a dangerous situation, because it could set the stage for students getting low-quality educational materials and/or cause TRIZ schools to lose a common educational platform.

Two ‘paths’ toward the enhancement of ARIZ could be considered. One was arranged by Henry Altshuller, the sole author of all versions of ARIZ – versions which had been successfully used over several decades. All recommendations and suggestions for improvements to ARIZ were sent to Altshuller, who would decide to incorporate them, if necessary, into the next version of ARIZ recommended for use in TRIZ schools. This time, however, Altshuller ignored the requests of TRIZ educators for a new version. He was convinced that ARIZ-85C was good enough. He also explained that he preferred, for the present time, to direct his efforts in the area of the Theory of Development of a Strong Creative Personality (TRTL) rather than involving himself with ARIZ.

Another of these ‘paths’ included organizing a group of TRIZ developers to collect all the recommendations, develop the next version of ARIZ, and submit it to Altshuller and other TRIZ specialists for discussion and approval. This approach presented a problem as well: ARIZ was Altshuller’s intellectual property and it was therefore impossible (or rather, unethical) to work with it. This problem was eventually eliminated, however. During the first meeting of the Board of the TRIZ Association in October 1989, Altshuller granted formal permission for work to be done on ARIZ.

During the 1989 TRIZ Conference in Petrozavosk, a roundtable discussion was devoted to the enhancement of ARIZ. The following TRIZ specialists participated, under the leadership of S. Litvin: K. Sklobovsky (Obninsk), M. Sharapov (Magnitogorsk), M. Bdulenko (Krasnogorsk), S. Sychev (Rostov-on-Don), V. Kaner, A. Pinyaev, E. Zlotin, V. Kryachko, V. Petrov, V .Dubrov, A. Lubomorskiy, (all- St. Petersburg); G. Frenklakh (Gomel), V. Ladoshkin, A. Torgashev (Novosibirsk); E. Martinova, S. Pernitskiy (Zukovskiy), G. Pigorov, Y. Stupniker (Dnepropetrovsk); N. Khomenko (Minsk); I. Goihman (Mitishci); A. Zusman, B. Zlotin, Z. Royzen (Kishinev); V. Korolev (Belaya Tserkov), Y. Andrievskiy (Petrozavodsk), E. Kagan (Volgograd), and others. Litvin offered the most comprehensive list of suggestions for improvement; many suggestions were presented by E. Zlotin, V. Petrov, and TRIZ educators from Kishinev and other schools.

Immediately following the conference, Litvin, Zusman, B. Zlotin, E. Zlotin and Petrov met in St. Petersburg to discuss the results of the roundtable discussion. The result was a decision to begin to work jointly on the new version of ARIZ, with the following objectives in mind:

  1. Increase reliability and provide a higher probability of success using ARIZ to solve real-life problems.
  2. Improve teaching methods to provide high-quality education within a reasonable time, taking into consideration an increasing demand.
  3. Implement the new developments and suggestions made over the last five years.
  4. Prepare ARIZ for effective computerization.

It was noted that the above objectives could be achieved by improving the rigorousness of ARIZ and incorporating additional steps and rules (micro-algorithms).

Basic considerations for improvement

During the five years that ARIZ-85C had been taught, TRIZ educators – including those from Kishinev – had gained sufficient experience in its use. The most typical difficulties and mistakes made by students had been documented, and some of them are described below.


Identifying the ‘mini-problem’

Singling out the so-called mini-problem from the innovation situation does not usually represent an obstacle when dealing with training case studies which have well-defined conditions with no more than two hierarchical system levels. However, when more than two levels exist (which is the case in practical situations) it is much more difficult. The recommendation placed in Note 1 to Step 1.1 (ARIZ-85C), and which reads as follows: "Everything remains the same or becomes simplified, while a desired action or feature is provided (or an undesired action or feature is eliminated)" sounds too vague. It is not clear which undesired effect to choose – in practical situations there are usually several of them with complex interconnections – or which desired improvement to focus on (see Exhibit 1 for details).

Moreover, practical experience in solving problems stated by an individual with no TRIZ education had shown that the stated problem statement was incorrect nearly all the time, since it had been stated "casually." This contributed toward making the solution process extremely difficult. To transition from such a problem statement to a correctly defined mini-problem in one shot was a challenge even to experience TRIZ specialists.


Formulating the mini-problem

Nearly every novice encounters the situation where the problem statement does not clearly indicate a technical contradiction. Special recommendations (Note 3 to Step 1.1) are introduced to help formulate an artificial contradiction, however, additional explanations from the trainer are required. Moreover, although an artificial contradiction allows processing of the problem in ARIZ to formally begin, it does not provide an opportunity to apply typical recommendations for eliminating technical contradictions, because it does not reflect the real situation.

Another difficulty is caused by the absence of a strict form for the TC by way of a logical clause:

IF [condition] THEN [some positive statement], BUT ALSO [some negative statement].

Keeping in mind that students in our traditional schools (editor’s note: non-TRIZ schools) had never heard of such a subject as Logic, they often formulate the technical contradiction following the pattern: "My wife is not pretty, but she is a poor wife." Confusion is even greater because the technical contradiction may be expressed in terms of parameters (e.g., "While productivity increases, quality deteriorates") or in terms of actions or functions as well (such as "The solution, when heated, degrades." Actually, both types of technical contradiction are valuable (the parameter for the technical contradiction helps the user to enter the Contradiction Table, while the functional technical contradiction helps unveil the interactions and processes taking place in the system). A lack of accuracy in the definitions, however, negatively impacts the rigorousness of ARIZ.


Identifying conflict elements and conflict type

The main problem here is with the selection of a tool and article when there are more than two elements mentioned in the problem description. Also, the situation does not become any easier when the same elements play opposite roles of a tool or article related to a positive action versus a negative one (e.g., a mill (tool) machines (positive action) a metal part (article) but the metal part (tool) wears (negative action) the mill (article)).. Typical mistakes made in Step 1.3 are to indicate properties or parameters as conflict elements instead of actual parts; forgetting to indicate two conditions of the tool. The reason for this is the same as that mentioned above – that is, the absence of a procedure for separating the mini-problem from the innovation situation. Too many elements result from several problems each having their own elements simultaneously analyzed. Situations such as these have a special name in TRIZ – putanka (entangled) – and there was a recommendation to separate problems in this situation, although there was no explanation as to how to accomplish this. ARIZ-85C provides that multi-link conflicts be built and that they be convoluted. All in all, the procedure is too vague.


Choosing the Main Manufacturing Process (MMP)

Step 1.4 recommends choosing as the MMP one, which provides the best performance for the main useful function of the system. However, Note 13 points on an exception related to problems of measurement and/or control. In the latter situation, it is recommended to choose the function of the system as a whole rather than the function of its measurement sub-system. At the same time, a similar situation may occur when there is a protecting sub-system. For example, in the problem with the lightning rod and antenna it is recommended to choose the reception function of the antenna as an MMP rather than the function of protecting the antenna from lightning. To summarize the situation, it is possible to offer a more general recommendation indicating that in both cases we are dealing with auxiliary functions. In general, auxiliary functions include correcting ones, that is, actions to correct some negative consequences in the system’s functionality such as chiseling out the remaining slag from a ladle. But identifying whether a function is main or auxiliary is a relative matter and depends entirely on the number of hierarchical system levels taken into consideration, as well as the choice of separating a problem to be solved from the innovation situation. If this level has not been identified, mistakes are possible.

A question: why do we need to choose the MMP, and thus a technical contradiction, at all? Of course, when we formulate two technical contradictions (let’s call them TC1 and TC2) we get two completely different problems. ARIZ recommends that the most promising one be selected, but how do we know which is the most promising? A. Lubomirskiy once indicated that, as a rule, one TC is connected with an existing system and selecting this one means working in the direction of improving the system, while selecting the opposite TC usually means focusing on searching for an alternative way of getting the desired result (i.e., developing a new system). Because it is difficult to estimate ahead of time which direction might result in a better solution, it makes sense to abandon the selection altogether, especially since there is a precedent in ARIZ-85C for a parallel analysis of resources (Step 3.2). Taking the above into consideration, we recommend working with both technical contradictions in parallel up until Step 3.3 (formulation of the Physical Contradiction) when it is no longer important which conflict has been chosen.

In our opinion, the absence of the problem statement formulation chapter was the reason new steps should be introduced, forcing the user to work with main functions such as choosing the conflict, convolution of multi-link conflicts, and several others.


Other issues

A large number of mistakes are associated with the lack of micro-algorithms for helping to formulate steps. However, micro-algorithms cause a ‘swelling’ of the tool, which is already very complex, overloaded with rules, notes, examples, etc. It is necessary to restructure ARIZ to allow its enhancement to remain transparent and to provide for the main line of analysis being easily understood.


New requirements for ARIZ

Besides the issue of problem statement formulation, another impeding factor in the existing ARIZ is the focus on a single solution that is close to the Ideal Ultimate Result. In real life, however, it is practical to have options. Such an option would perhaps be to choose solutions which are less ideal but which are, for some reason (technical, organizational, legal, personal, etc.), easier to implement – solutions which, in other words, have a higher local ideality (see Exhibit 2).

The focus on obtaining an ‘array’ of solutions dictates changing the approach to ARIZ regarding the integration of the analytical and solution-generating steps. It has always been perceived that the line of analysis should not be interrupted. This is why solution-generating tools such as the Principles or the Standard Solutions are always addressed after completing a certain portion of the analysis. At the same time, it is known that each step brings certain changes to our understanding of the problem, and toward its reformulation. In addition, if one takes into consideration that the main way to solve a problem is by using some type of analogy, each step may change the problem such that it becomes similar to one available in the knowledge base – that is, the solution may be obtained at any step. Moreover, we know from experience that attempts to find a solution at each step provide a super-effect, i.e., they lead to a much better understanding of the problem. Keeping in mind the need to obtain an array of solutions, it is worthwhile to apply solution-generating tools after each appropriate step. Again, we have an example of this approach in existing ARIZ-85C, when the Standard Solutions are used in three places. All we need is to expand this practice. ARIZ-85C does not make use of the Innovation Principles for eliminating technical contradictions, in spite of the fact that we formulate technical contradictions and therefore the possibility exists for applying the Principles. At one point in time, the Principles were removed from ARIZ in anticipation that the Standard Solutions would be much more effective. However, practical experience has proven that these two tools were complementary.

In 1985, V. Kryachko (St. Petersburg) noted that when we formulate two technical contradictions (Step 1.1), we automatically obtain all the components necessary to formulate the initial physical contradictions for the tool’s contradictory states or other conditions (many lightning rods versus a few; a high-speed gas stream versus a low-speed gas stream, etc.). This means that an opportunity exists for applying the Separation Principles right away. The solutions that can be obtained at this stage are not necessarily the same as those obtained in Step 5.3 – in Step 3.3 the physical contradiction is formulated for a selected resource which usually differs from the tool’s conditions. As a result, formulation and resolving of the initial physical contradiction may contribute toward obtaining multiple solutions.

Special requirements apply to ARIZ as a ‘base’ for computerization. First, micro-algorithms are necessary, as steps must be accurate and detailed enough so that the next step can be logically drawn from the previous one in only one way. In the case when a user must add specific information to the next step, this information should be available in the form of various menus, i.e., lists of typical drawbacks (physical or others), macro- and/or micro- conditions, etc. Typical formulations (templates) are also necessary to allow the user to introduce specific information related to the problem under consideration according to an organized scheme. Further, it is necessary to provide users, which don’t have a comprehensive TRIZ education with the opportunity to begin working with ARIZ using his/her "natural" engineering language. These users should be able to transition to typical problem statements from various original problem statements (that is, to ‘pull’ typical statements in the same way one pulls the whole chain by picking just one link).

In summary, the following changes should be introduced into ARIZ:

  1. Introduce sections related to the problem formulation process, including one which will facilitate an attempt to solve the problem as it is stated in the original problem statement, and then another, which will help restore the complete innovation situation and provide for the selection of a new (and more promising) problem statement.
  2. Provide the possibility for applying the solution-generating tools as much as possible during the work with ARIZ.
  3. Develop various menus with typical problem statements.
  4. Make ARIZ convenient to use – i.e., structured, with separation between micro-algorithms, examples, and definitions in separate volumes.


Continuing the story

The principles and ideas mentioned above formed the basis for development of the first experimental version of ARIZ-KE-89/90, which was tested during TRIZ seminars conducted by the company Progress (five groups of courses, each consisting of 200 hours). The second experimental version implemented the results obtained from testing the previous one and additional materials provided by Litvin. Recommendations from V. Dubrov and A. Pinyaev were taken into consideration (in part) as well. The Kishinev TRIZ school presented the new version of ARIZ at the meeting organized by the NILIM theoretical department (St. Petersburg, department head: S. Litvin) in January, 1991. TRIZ specialists V. Korolev, A. Torgashev, A. Kuryanov, A. Lubomirskiy, A. Pinyaev, V. Gerasimov, V. Dubrov, and A. Zusman participated as well. As subjects for discussion, other materials were presented, as follows:

ARIZ – SMVA 91 (E) version


The structure of ARIZ-KE-89/90 was similar to that of ARIZ -85C. We succeeded in maintaining the same number of sections, although a section for analyzing the innovation situation was added. However, implementation of recommendations resulting from testing, as well as those made by S. Litvin, have blown apart the old structure. Segmentation of steps often required that some of them be converted into separate chapters to avoid multi-level numeration, which could hinder understanding of the ARIZ process. Most importantly, however, was that it had become obvious that, with such level of detail, ARIZ was more suitable for execution by computer rather than manually. In other words, what was supposed to become ARIZ-91 was converted into a platform for a "machine" version. Taking into consideration that in spite of introducing new chapters, the main ideas and procedures of ARIZ-85C remained, it became a platform for the machine version of ARIZ-85C. For this reason, it was called ARIZ-SMV 91 (E) which meant Scenario (S) of Machine (M) Version (V) based on ARIZ-85C, Experimental (E) version.

It is clear that conversion to a software scenario will take a substantial length of time. Furthermore, even when it is complete, not everyone will have a computer. However, we would be remiss to ignore the possibility of significantly enhancing ARIZ at the present time. This is why we have decided to consider adapting the scenario for manual use. To achieve this, the complexity of the algorithm had to be substantially reduced. From the main text, definitions, rules, notes and micro-algorithms repeatedly used have been removed. The resulting structure now represents ARIZ-SMVA 91 (E), where "A" stood for Adaptation and included the following volumes:

  1. Introduction and glossary
  2. Main steps
  3. Appendices
  4. Case studies

The main steps (Volume 2) were divided into 18 chapters as follows:

  1. Becoming familiar with the problem and its description in the original statement
  2. Systematizing information about the system in which the problem exists
  3. Restoring the innovation situation and selecting a problem for solving
  4. Formulation of the mini-problem
  5. Formulation and resolution of the initial physical contradiction
  6. Conflict enforcement
  7. Formulation of the problem model
  8. Applying Substance-Field transformations and Standard Solutions
  9. Analysis of the operational zone
  10. Formulation of the Ideal Ultimate Result (IUR-1) and preliminary analysis of the ways for its realization
  11. Formulation of physical contradictions
  12. Resolution of physical contradictions
  13. Formulation of the Ideal Ultimate Result IUR-2
  14. Solving new physical problems in the IUR-2 statement
  15. Changing and/or replacement of the problem
  16. Comparative analysis of ideas obtained and increasing their ideality
  17. Revealing super-effects (new opportunities resulting from new ideas)
  18. Analysis of the solution process

Volume 3 included the following appendices:

  1. List of typical drawbacks
  2. List of typical prohibitions for changing the system
  3. List of typical problem statements
  4. Procedure for applying the Innovation Principles
  5. Procedure for applying the Standard Solutions
  6. Information about competing (alternative) systems
  7. Rules for building a functional diagram of useful and harmful functions
  8. Recommendations for selecting a problem for solving
  9. Rules for building key nodes
  10. Rules for formulating functions
  11. Rules for building the conflict diagram
  12. Rules for formulating physical contradictions
  13. Rules for resolving physical contradictions
  14. Rules for conflict enforcement
  15. Rules for identifying the operational zone and operational time
  16. General rules for modeling using Smart Little People
  17. Rules for mobilization of resources
  18. Rules for taking a "step back" from the IUR
  19. Rules for creating a preliminary "portrait" of the x-resource
  20. Recommendations for selecting the main resource
  21. Rules for creating a final "portrait" of a required physical effect


Analysis of the innovation situation

The first chapters of ARIZ-SMVA deal with analyzing an innovation situation – formulating the problem statement. Chapter 1 helps address the problem in its original statement. A problem randomly picked up in the occasional problem statement is converted into a typical problem statement, thus allowing the following main TRIZ tools to be applied: the Contradiction Table and the Standard Solutions. To achieve this, the user chooses an appropriate item from a list of typical drawbacks. Then, depending on the situation (i.e., if known ways to eliminate a drawback are not available or they cannot be utilized for some reason), ARIZ helps in choosing the typical problem statement as well as an appropriate tool to deal with it (Principles, the specific group of Standard Solutions, Value Engineering or Scientific Problem solving methodology, or Anticipatory Failure Determination). Besides this, the user documents limitations with the help of the list of typical limitations. Also documented are the expected economical, technical and other effects (some of these steps existed in the version of 1977). In some cases, promising ideas can be generated at that time, however, continued use of the tool is encouraged.

Chapter 2 includes a procedure for becoming acquainted with the system in which the problem emerged, in detail: the main elements, their structure and functioning. The purpose here is to prepare the background for Chapter 3 (restoration of the innovation situation). However, after assessing additional information, a second attempt to solve the problem as it appears in the original problem statement may be performed. Along with the recommendation of S. Litvin, information about alternative systems to the one under consideration is included. Whatever the results obtained at this stage, the analysis should be continued.

The main purpose of Chapter 3 is to build cause-and-effect chains of useful and harmful functions and effects, and a combined graphical ‘tree’ based on these chains. The cause-and-effect relationships can also be represented in a matrix format (A. Pinyaev’s recommendation), however, even a rather simple innovation situation may have multiple branches and in our opinion the tree format provides much more visibility than the matrix. The purpose of building a graphical tree is to reveal key nodes – places where the same factor or function provides useful results and at the same time is the reason for the harmful one. It is quite obvious that it is better to eliminate a cause rather than its consequences – that is, to solve a key problem. However, there may be many key problems in the situation.

Building chains of useful effects is similar to developing FAST diagrams ("Reference Book on Value Engineering" by M. G. Karpunin and B. I. Maidanchik, Moscow, Finances and Statistics, 1988). In fact, for each known function, two specific questions are applied:

  1. What is the purpose of performing this function?
  2. What is necessary to perform this function?

Answering the first question allows the chain to be continued to the right while the second question helps continue the chain to the left. For harmful chains, two different questions require answers:

  1. What is the result of this harmful factor (action)?
  2. What is the cause of this harmful factor (action)?

Following these questions, two separate chains (useful and harmful) can be built. To reveal key nodes, it is necessary to combine them, that is, to find the places they connect. Actually, they connect in the following situations:

As a result, for each link from a useful or a harmful chain two additional questions should be asked. For a link from a useful chain:

  1. Does this useful function cause a harmful function?
  2. Is this useful function introduced to correct a harmful factor?

Accordingly, for a link from a harmful chain:

  1. Is this harmful factor caused by a useful function?
  2. Is any useful function introduced to correct this harmful factor?

Answers to these questions help connect useful and harmful chains, and add new chains that were not obvious from the beginning.

Once the tree is built, for every link a typical problem statement may be formulated as follows:

Once all adequate problem statements have been formulated they are placed in hierarchical order, taking into consideration how drastic are the resulting possible changes to the system. Having done this, the user can prioritize the list based on recommended criteria and the specifics associated with that user.

If for any reason the first problem statement chosen is not a "key correcting" problem, it is recommended that the user return to Chapter 1, select an appropriate typical problem statement, and apply the recommended tools. If a key correcting problem is selected, a transition to the next chapter can be made.


New features related to other chapters of ARIZ

Chapter 4 is devoted to the formulation of the mini-problem. The difficulties mentioned above are overcome because all necessary elements are drawn from fairly rigorous transformations of the key node, representing the key problem. These transformations are made with the help of pre-formulated precise frames (templates) for useful and harmful functions (actions), technical contradictions, and the mini-problem as a whole. For example, the typical frame for a function looks like this: "A tool [indicate the tool] impacts [indicate how] an article [indicate the article]." It forces the user to identify a tool and article from the very beginning, and to do so separately for a useful and a harmful function. These elements may be (partially or completely) the same for both situations – otherwise there would be no conflict. An unambiguous meaning of the choice of conflict elements is determined by the prior choice of the key node. A special operator to eliminate special terminology (Litvin’s suggestion) and micro-algorithms for building graphical conflict diagrams have been introduced.

Because we do not select a preferable conflict to continue analysis, its enforcement (Chapter 6), a problem model (Chapter 7), and the application of Substance-Field Transformations and Standard Solutions (Chapter 8) are made for both conflicts. Instead of "x-element" we use the term "x-resource," which enforces the focus on IUR.

A distinguishing feature is that identification of the operational zone and/or the operational time is now separate for useful and harmful functions. As a result, one can estimate right away the possibility of separating the conflict in space or in time. Resources unveiled during study of the operational zone are placed in a special table. Besides substance- field resources, processes, substance flows, energy and information are identified and separated into useful and harmful resources.

In ARIZ-SMVA 91 (E), a set of physical contradictions is formulated. First, the initial physical contradiction mentioned above is formulated (Chapter 5, immediately after technical contradictions have been identified). Then, physical contradictions for process, macro- and micro- conditions, and flow have been identified (Chapter 11). To facilitate formulation, special lists of typical macro- and micro- conditions, flows and processes are offered. The analysis of physical contradictions begins from formulating an auxiliary one for a parameter. (G.S. Altshuller and others. Search for new ideas: from insight to methodology. Kishinev, Kartya Moldovenyaska, 1989, p. 36). A suggestion made by V. Dubrov related to the same subject was taken into consideration as well.

IUR-1 (Chapter 10) is formulated for both technical contradictions. In this chapter, the following steps must be made:

IUR-2 is formulated for each physical contradiction (Litvin’s suggestion). As a result, a block of new physical problems is developed which it is recommended be solved with the use of the Standard Solutions and/or the Innovation Effects Guide (Chapter 14).

Chapters 15 through 18 do not differ considerably from the corresponding chapters of ARIZ-85C. (They will be elaborated ahead.)


Continuing the story

As was mentioned above, the following three complete versions of ARIZ were presented at the meeting held in St. Petersburg, together with the list of suggestions from S. Litvin:

The main discussions took place regarding the basic concept for the new version of ARIZ, which could be submitted to the Board of the TRIZ Association for approval and recommendation for use in all TRIZ schools. Ms. Zusman made a suggestion to use the Kishinev version because ARIZ SMVA 91 (E):

  1. Is the only one that contains sections for the analysis of the innovation situation and problem formulation
  2. Incorporated the most complete set of recommendations from other TRIZ schools
  3. Has been tested in TRIZ seminars with satisfactory results: students were learning it with minimal help from the trainers and in less time (36 hours instead of 50).

Other meeting participants did not accept this suggestion. Mostly, they didn’t like the fact that the ARIZ structure had changed considerably. Explanations that structural changes were inevitable because numerous suggestions had been implemented did not help. The following decision was made: to recommend that Mr. Litvin make an attempt to develop another version which would incorporate useful suggestions within the existing structure – that is, that would again be without the formulation sections. The Kishinev school was allowed to continue working in the direction chosen.

We "followed" this recommendation. ARIZ-SMVA 91(E) did a good job for another four groups with good results, especially in solving practical problems. The number of case studies doubled, detailed teaching plans were developed. New additions have been made as well. Lastly, a new system of Standard Solutions adapted for use with the new version of ARIZ is in development.


What’s next?

We are continuing our work on enhancing the analytical and solution-generating components of ARIZ in the following directions:

  1. Consider the Administrative Contradiction introduced earlier by Mr. Altshuller and not used in ARIZ. An Administrative Contradiction is defined as a situation where performing an action is required but impossible due to some limitation or prohibition (such as a violation of natural laws, economic or social conditions, etc.). Depending upon the nature of the limitation and the particular details, appropriate principles similar to the Separation Principles can be applied.
  2. A new approach to resolving physical contradictions. Dealing with a set of physical contradictions has proven that the general Separation Principles can be specialized because some work better than others do with physical contradictions for flows, initial physical contradictions, etc. New tables for resolving different physical contradictions are in development.
  3. Development of a new system of Standard Solutions, partially incorporating the Innovation Principles and Patterns of Evolution. In particular, working with the modeling processes for dynamic substance-field structures in accordance with the Patterns. Another feature is the extension of resource nomenclature focusing on products resulting from the processes that take place in a technological system.
  4. Development of the closing chapters of ARIZ, in particular, procedures for enhancing the obtained solution concepts (this is of increasing importance given our integration into the worldwide economic system), which will possibly be separated in to a special algorithm. Introduction of a new chapter that allows one to reveal and prevent potential implementation problems ahead of time (based on subversion analysis).
  5. Development of a special educational section with typical recommendations for teachers, Q&A, etc.
  6. Bringing ARIZ into a close relationship with applications other than those for problem solving, such as TRIZ forecasting, AFD and TRIZ Value Engineering.




We asked our students not to disclose the version ARIZ-KE-89/90 they received (including the one copy deposited in the Chelyabinsk Scientific Library), as it was an experimental intermediate version with certain deficiencies (version 89KE doesn't exist any more, later version ARIZ-91 (E2) or ARIZ-92 exists in Russian only. There is a version of ARIZ-95 (ARIZ-92 without

formulation part as it was supposed to work together with the IWB software providing automated formulation) which was translated (translation is pretty poor) and not edited.). The SMVA version is complete (though still experimental) and, in general, is ready to be used for self-learning. Expansion of the testing base will also be helpful. For those reasons, we distributed 15 copies of this version between leading TRIZ schools and specialists during the Second TRIZ Association Conference in Petrozavodsk. Since August, 1991 the SOTEC from Ekaterinburg has been distributing ARIZ-SMVA 91 (E). We appreciate any response, critique and recommendations.

Exhibit 1

About Mini-problem

It is well known that the parts of technological systems are firmly linked and that a failure in one part (even a part of minimal importance) can cause the whole system to fail. At the same time, this provides the opportunity to correct the situation by changing other parts of the system rather than fixing the part that is causing the problem. As a result, many problem statements can be formulated for a given innovation situation – and for this reason selection of the mini-problem is necessary. The selection criterion is formulated in Note 1 of Step 1.1 (ARIZ-85C): "Everything remains the same or becomes simplified, while the required action or property emerges or the undesired action or property disappears." The main reasons for addressing the mini-problem are the following:

  1. There is usually only one mini-problem so it easier to "separate" it from the innovation situation
  2. Formulating a mini-problem means focusing on achieving the desired results with minimal changes – that is, achieving higher ideality.
  3. Minimal changes to the system generally make the process of implementing the solution easier.

The main difficulty is that this formula can produce more than one mini-problem. In his notes to ARIZ-77, Altshuller wrote: "The mini-problem can be obtained from an innovation situation following the principle: the existing situation minus the drawback or plus a desired advantage (new quality)." (H. Altshuller. "Creativity as an Exact Science." Soviet Radio, Moscow, 1979, p.44). However, even in this format there may be several problem statements because it is not clear at which level of the system hierarchy we should "freeze" changes. For example, in the situation with transporting slag, the following problem statements can exist:

In ARIZ-82 an extended formula for the mini-problem has been introduced with the added clause "or simplifies." This allows for the selection of a mini-problem at any level of the system hierarchy. So then, which level in particular? Obviously, the level at which the required changes are minimal. But is it possible to identify this level at the onset?

It is also well known that a high level of ideality can be achieved by utilization of the resources available in the system for resolving contradictions. Obviously, each level has its own resources and contains unique possibilities for using them (see Exhibit 2 for more on this). Is it possible to evaluate the resources before the problem statement is selected? In general, the answer is yes, however, it means substituting analysis with the random exploration of resources, and this is not that far from the usual method of trial-and-error.

Given the above, we conclude that the criteria imbedded in the formula of a mini-problem do not allow only one to be unambiguously defined. Moreover, it can be shown that the following two criteria: "Everything remains the same" and "everything becomes simplified" can lead one in opposite directions. For example, imagine that we have a minimal standard innovation situation with two system levels: a system with a drawback D1 where an attempt to remove this drawback causes another drawback, D2. If we want to "keep everything as it is" we must solve the problem of removing D2. If, however, we select "becomes simplified" we must to address the drawback D1, because if we find a satisfactory solution for this problem statement we do not need an existing means for eliminating the drawback D1 and we can expect some simplification as a result of that.


About the psychological aspect of seeking minimal changes to the system. It is true that this function of formulating the mini-problem is usually performed successfully. However, one may fail to recognize that the system did in fact change, and that these changes could affect any system level in a positive and/or negative way. ARIZ-85C includes a procedure for revealing the necessary changes that must be made for implementing the solution and looking for new solution applications. This, however, is not enough. V. Gerasimov believes that the situation must be made even "stronger" such that the statement "Everything has changed" can be made after the solution is obtained. Today we have ways to reveal both positive changes (super-effect) (Gerasimov and Litvin. Basics of the method of conducting Value Engineering. Manuscript, 1991), and negative (subversion analysis) (Zlotin and Zusman. Searching for new ideas in science. Collected articles "Solving Scientific Problems." Kishinev, "Progress," Kartya Moldovenyaska, 1991).

All of the above provide for the conclusion to be made that, so far, there is no objective criteria for identifying the mini-problem from an innovation situation. This does not mean, however, that any preliminary (or at least probabilistic) estimation of the most promising directions is impossible. Some criteria may be elaborated, but they are fairly subjective (see ARIZ-SMVA 91(E), Chapter 3, Exhibit 8).

Exhibit 2

About Local Ideality

Besides general ideality which reflects the level of technological evolution, there is local ideality determined by the specific resources of a given system and situation. For this reason, a solution with high general ideality may not be all that ideal from the local point of view. Typical illustration: a problem concerning a circuit breaker (Zlotin and Zusman. "Come to a firing range". Part 2. Collected articles "How to Become a Heretic" Book series: "Technology – Youth – Creativity": Petrozavodsk, Kareliya, 1991).

Reviewing the situation, we note that the problem solved by Zlotin’s student B. Lyarskiy (Electrosila, St. Petersburg) related to the following situation: It was necessary to protect a thermal bi-metallic plate from rupturing. The rupture resulted from the large amount of heat released due to an extremely high level of electrical current. The destruction mechanism was as follows: Each layer of the bi-metallic plate had its own coefficient of thermal expansion. Because of the strong heat, the difference between the actual expansion of each layer was so high that it caused the plate to rupture. The obtained solution recommended the use of an electro-dynamic breaker (another mechanism of the system under consideration) for shunting the circuit. Implementing this solution required very small changes to the system – that is, making several holes in the existing design.

Later, Altshuller was working with this problem in front of TRIZ educators during the First TRIZ Conference in Petrozavodsk in 1980. Two additional solutions were obtained:

  1. make one layer of the bi-metallic plate from "shape memory" material to compensate for the excessive expansion of the other layer under extreme current
  2. bend the plate ahead of time in the direction opposite the one that results from overheating. This will double the temperature range of safe operation of the plate.

Let us compare the solutions described above. It is obvious that the solution, which uses the shape memory effect, possesses the highest ideality, since it doesn’t require any changes to the design. The solution with preventive bending has lower ideality while the first solution (shunting) has the lowest ideality. However, if we reconsider ideality from the local point of view it becomes clear that the shape memory solution is practically useless – the plant cannot purchase this material. Moreover, this plate is a part provided by a supplier, who will not like any changes. At the same time, making a couple of holes in the existing design to implement the first solution is not a problem at all. Given the above, this solution has the highest local ideality.

The concept of local ideality leads to a requirement that ARIZ must provide an array of solutions rather than only one solution. Once a set of solutions is obtained, the one with the highest local ideality can be selected. It might also be necessary to return the 40 Innovation Principles back to ARIZ. Although the Principles usually produce solutions on level 2 (for Standard Solutions, level 3), it can very well be that the level 2 solutions have higher ideality, which means that the Standard Solutions cannot replace the Principles.

Delivered August 30, 1991

1998 Ideation International Inc.