A New Problem-Solving Algorithm

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  • By Gregory Frenklach


    Historically, each TRIZ tool was developed (and could be used) independently for problem solving. That is why each tool had its own mini-algorithm. Trials to bring them to work together (e.g., with ARIZ) were not enough, in my opinion.

    This work is a revision of the main TRIZ tools so that they work together as parts of the same system. The presented algorithm consists of three main parts. (There are four additional parts, explained in Appendices 4-7, which are intended to help overcome possible difficulties with the application of the main parts of the algorithm).

    The main parts are:

    The additional parts are:

    Problem Formulation [9]

    Describe the situation in a simple and understandable way, using words and expressions that will be clear to an inexperienced person. Match the situation to one of the following two types:

    A: Necessity to perform a function but the appropriate system or facility for this are absent or unknown.
    B: The problem is connected with an undesired effect (UDE) inside the existing system.

    Table 1: Sub-procedures for Both Types of Problem Situations
    Type AType B 

    A1: Formulate the function to be performed.

    Note: Formulation includes verb + noun. In case of difficulty, imagine what kind of UDE appears in the case of non-execution of the function and try to define the action necessary for this effect elimination – it will be the sought function.

    B1: Formulate the UDE. 

    A2: Define the function object.

    Note: A function object is a substance toward which an action is directed. It is something that is being processed, measured, etc. A function object is always some material substance and never a parameter.

    B2: Define the element, connected with the UDE.

    Note: You can check if you correctly defined the element that is connected with the undesired effect. Mentally remove this element from the system. The original UDE disappears but a new UDE emerges.

    A3: Select a known system for this function realization.

    Note: In case of difficult, choose a system of a close function.

    B3: Formulate the function of the element.

    Note: Formulation includes verb + noun

    A4: Define UDE that appears during the realization of the previous step.

    Note: In case of difficulty with finding a known system, skip steps A2 and A3 – it will be easier to select the direction of problem solving.

    B4: Define the object of this function.

    TRIZ Tools Search

    Table 2: Search for an Appropriate TRIZ Tool
    Problem-Solving DirectionType of Function or UDENumbers of Recommended Inventive PrinciplesRecommended Conceptual Solution Group (Appendix 3)Recommended Physical Effects From an Attached Short Register (Appendix 1)
    Function realization without function carrierChanging of parameters or properties 5, 6, 14, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 33, 36, 37 Group 1 – energy linesMechanical effects: 1, 5, 14, 15, 16
    Thermal effects: 2, 3, 4
    Electric effects: 6, 8, 9, 10, 11
    Magnetic and electro-magnetic effects: 7, 12 
     Measurement or indication18, 23, 26, 28, 32, 36, 37Group 2 – measurementsMeasurement: 1, 2, 6, 7, 87, 11, 12, 14
    Indication: 4, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15
    UDE removalHarmful interactionObject change: 1, 2, 15, 18, 24, 26, 27, 29, 34, 35
    Action change: 13, 19, 21, 28, 36, 39
    Compensation: 9, 11, 22, 27, 34
    Group 3 – elimination of harmful interactionRemoval of harmful interaction between substances: 4, 6, 9, 10, 14, 15
    Removal of harmful action of field on the substance: 4, 5, 9, 10, 14, 15
     Poor efficiency of function realizationObject change: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 40
    Action change: 5, 10, 12, 13, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, 28, 38, 39
    UDE compensation: 5, 8, 11, 25, 27, 34
    Group 4 – transformation linesRise of idealization: 3, 4, 7, 15
    Rise of dynamization: 1, 3, 4, 7, 14
    Rise of manipulation ability: 3, 7, 12, 14, 16
    Macro-micro levels transitions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12

    Template for Physical Contradiction Removal (Appendix 2)

    1. Specify the substance/field resources of the system.
    2. Specify the substance/field resources of the external environment.
    3. Select the corresponding resource from the resources specification.
    4. Formulate the resources actions (to perform function or to remove UDE).
    5. Define the properties of the selected resource for the required function realization (or UDE removal).
    6. If a new UDE arrears use separation principles. (Appendix 3)

    Searching for the Idea of Solution

    1. Formulate the correlation among the elements, actions and UDE in the model of the problem and the elements, actions and UDE in the recommended instruments (standards, principles, effects).
    2. Formulate the idea of the solution using the recommendations from the concrete instruments. If you have problems, go to overcoming of the psychological inertia (Appendix 4), restriction overcoming (Appendix 5) or to problem re-formulating (Appendix 6). In case you need to estimate and/or develop the solution idea, go to evaluation and development of the idea of solution (Appendix 7).


    Classic TRIZ examples demonstrate how the algorithm works.

    Example 1: Syrup in Chocolate

    Problem description: How to produce a candy with syrup inside the chocolate bottle?
    Problem type: Technical system is absent
    Function: To place syrup into chocolate candy
    Object of function: Syrup, chocolate
    Known system: The pouring machine
    Undesirable effect: Complexity, high cost
    Problem solving direction: Performing function without object (without pouring machine)
    Function type: Changes of parameters or properties
    Tool 1: Conceptual solutions
    Recommendation: Usage of thermal energy
    Tool 2: Technical effects
    Recommendation: Usage of phase transitions
    Tool 3: Principles
    Recommendation: The principle of the reverse
    Solution idea: The syrup in form bottle is frozen and then dipped into the liquid chocolate

    Example 2: Sewing of Fabric

    Problem description: During the sewing of fabric of various colors by usual thread the seam is visible and that is not good
    Problem type: Undesirable effect in technical system
    Undesirable effect: Seam is visible
    Element connected with UDE: Thread
    Function: To connect parts of fabric
    Object of function: Parts of fabric
    Problem solving direction: Undesirable effect's removal
    Undesirable effect's type: Poor effectiveness of the system
    Tool 1: Principles
    Undesirable effect's removal direction: Changing object
    Recommendation: The principle of changing color
    Solution idea: The sewing is made by colorless (transparent) thread

    Example 3: Polishing Disk

    Problem description: A polishing disk is poor at processing complicated shape products. What can be done?
    Problem type: Undesirable effect in technical system
    Undesirable effect: Versatility of the disk is low
    Element connected with UDE: Disk
    Function: To polish (complicated shape) products
    Object of function: Products (of complicated shape)
    Problem solving direction: Undesirable effect's removal
    Undesirable effect's type: Poor effectiveness of the system        

    Search for Tool with Table

    Tool 1: Conceptual solutions
    Recommendation 1: Use magnetic materials and fields
    Recommendation 2: Increase dynamics
    Tool 2: Technical effects
    Typical direction: Increase of management               
    Recommendation: Usage of ferromagnetic substance    
    Tool 3: Principles
    Undesirable effect's removal direction: Changing object
    Recommendation 1: The principle of fragmentation      
    Recommendation 2: Replacement of a mechanical pattern
    Recommendation 3: Changing the aggregate state

    Search for Tool with Template for Physical Contradiction Removal

    Tool: Physical contradiction removal principles
    Resource: Disk
    Needed property of resource: To be soft to fit complicated shape products
    New UDE originates? Yes – soft disk will not polish, so it should be hard
    Recommendation: System transformation
    Solution idea: Make the disk from ferromagnetic particles baked with abrasive ones

    Algorithm's Appendices

    Appendix 1: Physical Effects

    Usage of liquid and gas properties

    Usage of thermal expansion

    Usage of shape memory effect

    Usage of phase transitions

    Usage of capillary phenomena

    Usage of the electrostatic fields

    Usage of the magnetic liquids

    Usage of the piezoelectric effect

    Electrokinetic's phenomena

    Usage of electrolysis

    Usage of the corona discharge

    Usage of the ferromagnetic

    Usage of phosphor

    Usage of oscillations

    Usage of foam

    Usage of the centrifugal forces

    Appendix 2: Physical Contradiction Removal Principles

    Principles of the physical contradiction removal part [See reference 7]

    Appendix 3: Conceptual Solutions (based on Altshuller's standards)

    Standards part [See reference 7]

    Appendix 4: Overcoming of the Psychological Inertia

    Denial of special terminology

    Dimension-time-cost operator [6]

    Ideal final result (based on ARIZ ideal final result's demands)

    Appendix 5: Overcoming restrictions (based on Altshuller's standards)

    Limitation overcoming part [See reference 7]

    Appendix 6: Problem reformulating [5]

    For each UDE we can now choose what kind of problem to solve (Which problem to solve depends on the resources you have to choose from):

    Appendix 7: Evaluation and development of the idea of solution

    Evaluation of the solution idea (based on ARIZ ideal final result's demands):

    The idea's development is connected with [10]:


    1. Altshuller, Genrich, Creativity as an Exact Science, NY, Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, 1984.
    2. Altshuller, Genrich, To Find an Idea (in Russian), Novosibirsk, Nauka, 1986.
    3. Selutsky, A., Editor, Daring Formulas of Creativity (in Russian), Petrozavodsk, Kareliya, 1987.
    4. Official Genrich Altshuller Foundation's website.
    5. Frenklach, Gregory, "Efficient Use of the System Operator," The TRIZ Journal, January 1998.
    6. Frenklach, Gregory, "Efficient Use of the DTC Operator," The TRIZ Journal, January 1998.
    7. Frenklach, Gregory, "The Research (Diagnostic) Problems' Classification," The TRIZ Journal, March 1998.
    8. Frenklach, Gregory and Savransky, S.D., "New Advantages of Cross-Fertilization of TRIZ and Some Quality Methods," The 1998 International TRIZ Conference, Industry Hills, CA, U.S.A. 
    9. Frenklach, Gregory, Pomerantz, Michael, "Problem Situation Specification," The TRIZ Journal, April 2007.
    10. Litvin, S., Gerasimov, V., Materials of Value Engineering and TRIZ Course (in Russian), Leningrad, 1990.

    About the Author:

    Gregory Frenklach is a R&D engineer at Medinol in Israel. Contact Gregory Frenklach at gregory_f (at) 012.net.il.

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