Book Review: TRIZ in Progress

Ellen Domb,  

Title: TRIZ in Progress:  Transactions of the Ideation Research Group
Authors:  Alla Zusman, Gafur Zainiev, Dana Clark, edited by Victoria Roza
Publisher:  Ideation International Inc.
ISBN: none
Cost: US$25   Pages:  248      Cover:  paper
Available from:  The TRIZ Journal Products & Services, or from the publisher.


TRIZ in Progress:  Transactions of the Ideation Research Group is a set of 4 essays and 22 appendices.  It is based on the work by 15  researchers and 4 advisors that was started in the late 1980’s at the Kishniev school in the former USSR, and that continues today.  Most of the authors now live in the US, and are affiliated with Ideation International Inc. Some of the research reports deal with the development of Ideation’s software products and consulting methods, but this is definitely not and advertisement message disguised as a book.

Regular readers of The TRIZ Journal are already familiar with the style of these reports.   Appendix 8 appeared as an independent essay “Managing Innovation Knowledge” in the April, 1999 issue. and Appendix 7 appeared as “System of Operators” in the May, 1999 issue. 

The four principle essays are

  1.  “Roots, structure, and theoretical base” by Alla Zusman

  2. “Current scientific work” by Dr. Gafur Zainiev

  3. “Evolution of TRIZ Market, Applications, and Possible Markets” by Dana Clark

  4. “Problems in the Development and Marketing of TRIZ” by Alla Zusman

The 22 appendices cover a wide range of topics. In addition to the two mentioned above, some flavor of the appendices is given by this list:

2.  Analogies for TRIZ:  A comparison of TRIZ to mathematics, biology, and art.

3.  Overview of Creative Methods:  An essay and a table that compares 84 creativity methods, ranging from Delphi to de Bono to von Oech to many less well known, to TRIZ as presented in the Ideation methodology. 

Waves of Mankind’s Control of its Destiny:  Explores the control of safety, information, shelter, food, labor, social processes, etc., with remarks on the parallels to the patterns of evolution seen in TRIZ.

6. Revision of Classical TRIZ Assumptions.  This is a fascinating essay on the  development of TRIZ and comparison TRIZ during Altshuller’s active management of the process with TRIZ through the last 15 years.  From a personal perspective, I found that several of my findings teaching “American-style” TRIZ replicate the authors’ findings (the highest possible level of invention is not always best, TRIZ can be more powerful when linked to problem-identification methods already in use in an organization such as QFD, SPC, QFD, etc., patents are an incomplete database for inventions, …)  This should probably be read with Appendix 13, The Main Postulates of TRIZ.

12. Value Quality Engineering:  This is a combination of an essay on the new trends in Value Engineering and the relationship between VE, quality improvement, design for manufacturability, and the opportunities to apply TRIZ.  This is one of the few essays that does become an advertisement for Ideation’s software and training, but the concepts are well explained in the essay, and the general reader can get useful information while ignoring the advertising.

16.  Anticipatory Failure Design.  This essay, together with Appendix 21 on using AFD to debug software, gives the reader step-by-step instruction in applying the AFD method to prevent or fix failures in products and processes.