Integration of a Service Taxonomy

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    By Reuven Karni and Maya Kaner

    The 40 Inventive Principles for Conceptualizing the Components of a Service System


    In a like manner to physical products and processes, services are composed of a large number of various components that need to be specified when designing a service.1 Several articles have appeared during the past few years, applying TRIZ to non-technical areas: business4, quality7, marketing, sales and advertising6, education5, and services8,9. Services provide a particular challenge to conceptualization techniques, as they encompass, in a general sense, elements (as opposed to physical components) such the following

    Because of the wide range of elements constituting a service, architecture is useful for formalizing the representation of a service. We provide this formalization by means of a taxonomic model or service capstone model. This model constitutes a framework into which the conceptualized elements can be pigeon-holed. On the other hand, the multiplicity of elements requires a powerful method to trigger ideas for a solution – and this is provided by the 40 inventive principles of TRIZ.

    This paper presents a methodology that integrates these two aspects and provides an innovative procedure for developing a new service.

    Taxonomic Definition of a Service System

    A service system is an organized set of processes that transforms inputs into outputs; the system achieves an organizational purpose and meets the need of customers through the use of human, physical and informatic enablers in a sociological and physical environment).2,3 It is structured as a set of nine interlinked classes of objects:

    1. Customers:those benefiting from the service (or otherwise affected by it)
    2. Goals: aims, purposes or central meaning of service provision for the organization and its customers
    3. Inputs: physical, human, financial or informational elements to be serviced
    4. Outputs: physical, informational or human elements after being serviced
    5. Processes:service provision and support activities
    6. Human enablers:human resources owning and/or providing the service
    7. Physical enablers: physical and technological facilities and resources which aid in providing the service
    8. Informatic enablers:information and knowledge resources supporting the service
    9. Environment – physical, economic, technological, social, ecological or legal factors and contexts influencing the service

    These nine categories, or major classes, of service system elements are decomposed into 75 basic features, or main classes, within these categories (Appendix 4). These features are further decomposed into more than 400 elements (Appendix 1), which constitute our basic unit of design. The taxonomy was developed on the basis of an extensive literature review in the service domain and has been extensively updated as a result of study of the integration of the service taxonomy and TRIZ.2,3

    Integration of the Service Taxonomy and TRIZ Principles

    We applied our ideas of integration to the conceptualization of the elements in the case of an after-sales service facility. We used the TRIZ principles and the three-level taxonomy at the element level to trigger ideas. We had three goals in mind: 1) to test whether fruitful ideas could be triggered by each principle and sub-principle, 2) to demonstrate that each idea could be linked to the taxonomy and 3) to verify that the two approaches could be advantageously integrated.

    Our scheme incorporates, as far as possible, a super-set of the sub-principles appearing in the various articles to test the power of TRIZ in generating ideas at the element level. (The outcome of this part of our study is detailed in Appendix 3.) It resulted in the utilization of all 100 sub-principles and the generation of close to 200 elements, all linked to the major and main classes of the taxonomy. This encouraged us to develop a formalized procedure for generating ideas by selecting a feature or element and applying the inventive principles to it. Idea generation can happen by one of two methods: 1) use of the contradiction matrix or 2) using the proposed procedure, selecting a promising inventive principle.

    Option One: Contradiction Matrix

    Table 1: Using the Contradiction Matrix for Idea Generation
    ProcedureExample: Person
    (product designer, service provider, service supporter, customer, client, consultant, expert)
    Example: Tangible Element
    (physical products, components, parts, facility, amenity, equipment, furnishings)
    Example: Intangible Element
    (goals, service environment, external environment, information environment)
    Example: Activity
    (processes, events, systems, functions)
    (a) A feature is selected from the generalized service system capstone model (Appendix 4) – select a main classHuman enablers (major class), 41: owner organization (main class)Informatic enablers (major class), 62: component reparability (main class)Goals (major class), 8: service goals (main class)Processes (major class), 31: service operations (main class)
    (b) A specific element to be incorporated into the service is selected (Appendix 1) – identify a class-related element or characteristicEmpowermentA component to be repaired, or its reparability or upgradeabilityService uniquenessService regime
    (c) A contradiction is identified when conceptualizing the elementEmpowerment allows an employee to execute a range of actions independently, instead of referring to superiors; this wide range assumes extensive experience and so tends to reduce the ability of the employee to make reliable decisionsReparability is related to ease of repair of the serviced item; this may necessitate an increase in the length (size) of the item and complicate the repair operationUniqueness requires an increase in versatility and adaptability; this may necessitate more effort on the part of the service providersIt is important that service provision is visible in order to reduce the impatience of waiting customers; this may necessitate a loss of time if providers cannot leave their desks to consult with advisors or experts
    (d) An analogous cell is located in the contradiction matrix and the recommended principles retrieved• Improvement in ease of operation (33) leads to deterioration in reliability (27)
    • 17 (another dimension), 27 (cheap short-living objects), 8 (anti-weight or counter weight), 40 (composite materials – composite of different skills and capabilities)
    • Improvement in ease of repair (34) leads to deterioration in product size (4)
    • 3 (local quality), 18 (mechanical vibration), 31 (porous materials)
    • Improvement in adaptability and versatility (35) leads to deterioration in use of energy by moving object (19)
    • 19 (periodic action), 35 (parameter changes – transformation of properties), 29 (pneumatics and hydraulics – intangibility), 13 (the other way round – inversion)
    • Improvement in illumination intensity (visibility) (18) leads to deterioration in the effective use of time (25)
    • 19 (periodic action), 1 (segmentation), 26 (copying), 17 (another dimension)
    (e) One of the TRIZ principles in the cell is selected40, composite materials (composite of different skills and capabilities)31, porous materials29, pneumatics and hydraulics (intangibility)19, periodic action
    (f) A concept is triggered to be incorporated into the service facility designEnsure that empowerment and responsibility are tailored to the capabilities and experiences of each employee and not generalizedUtilize the increased size of the item to allow it to be snapped in and out of the productReduce the effort in validating the repair by allowing the customer to use the serviced product for one month before having to pay for the repair in order to verify satisfaction with the service obtained – an offer not presented by competitorsUtilize retired workers to step in and answer customer queries whilst the provider is busy with the advisor or expert

    Option Two: Proposed Procedure

    We used a questionnaire to link elements to the principles, with all 75 features and an example from all 40 TRIZ principles. (Appendix 2) It acts as follows: management wishes to utilize IT services (feature 56) and wishes to apply principle 5, merging/combining. From Appendix 2 the following question is retrieved: "What kinds of service can be offered on an Internet site?" Answering the question triggers an Internet-based service concept to be incorporated into the design.

    Table 1: Proposed Procedure Questions With Element Examples
    ProcedureExample: Person
    (product designer, service provider, service supporter, customer, client, consultant, expert)
    Example: Tangible Element
    (physical products, components, parts, facility, amenity, equipment, furnishings)
    Example: Intangible Element
    (goals, service environment, external environment, information environment)
    Example: Activity
    (processes, events, systems, functions)
    (a) A feature is selected from the generalized service system capstone model (Appendix 4) – select a main classHuman enablers (major class), 41: owner organization (main class)Informatic enablers (major class), 62: component reparability (main class)Goals (major class), 8: service goals (main class)Processes (major class): 31: service operations (main class)
    (b) A specific element to be incorporated into the service is selected (Appendix 1) – identify a class-related element or characteristicEmpowermentComponent to be repaired, or its reparability or upgradeabilityService uniquenessService regime
    (c) A TRIZ principle is selected from the set of 40 inventive principles; this identifies a specific principle to be used when conceptualizing the element 1, segmentation and sub-principle, divide an element into independent parts26, copying and sub-principle, instead of an unavailable, expensive, fragile element, use simpler and inexpensive copies29, pneumatics and hydraulics (intangibility) and sub-principle, use intangible parts of an element instead of tangible parts19, periodic action and sub-principle: instead of continuous action use periodic or pulsating actions
    (d) Juxtaposition of the element and the principle leads to a question about the element (Appendix 2)What kinds of independent decisions can be made by each employee?How can components replaced during an upgrade be reused?How can intangible service goals be utilized to incentivize customers?How can quiet periods in service demand be gainfully utilized?
    (e) Responding to the question triggers a concept to be incorporated into the service facility design Provide employees with a budget with discretion to use the budget as they see fit for carrying out their functionsReuse serviceable parts replaced during upgrading to cheapen repair of non-upgraded productsAllow the customer to use the serviced product for one month before having to pay for the repair in order to verify their satisfaction with the service they obtained – an offer not presented by competitorsRequire all employees to keep themselves abreast of product upgrades by studying the new manuals during quiet periods


    A service owner presents a requirement for a new service. The designer, with the aid of the service taxonomy, begins to visualize the service as a compilation of elements, which needs to be specified. In order to specify the elements, questions must be asked about the elements. In this way, a satisfactory (regular) design – and even innovative (creative) design – solution to the requirement can be found. A powerful and integrated method is needed to both identify and specify these hundreds of elements. A solution is the combination of a comprehensive service taxonomy (in the form of a three-level capstone model) and the 40 inventive principles. This is provided by combining a comprehensive service taxonomy, in the form of a three-level capstone model, the 40 inventive principles and the contradiction matrix. With and without the contradiction matrix demonstrates that both approaches are highly effective in service design.


    1. Goldstein, S.M., Johnston, R., Duffy J., Rao, J., "The Service Concept: The Missing Link in Service Design Research?," Journal of Operations Management, 20, 121-134, 2000.
    2. Kaner, M., Karni, R, "Engineering Design of a Service System – An Empirical Study," Information Knowledge Systems Management, 6, 235-263, 2007.
    3. Karni, R., Kaner, M., "An Engineering Tool for the Conceptual Design of Service Systems," in Spath, D., Fähnrich, K.-P. (eds.), Advances in Services Innovations, Springer, 65-83, 2000.
    4. Mann, D., Domb, E., "40 Inventive (Business) Principles With Examples," The TRIZ Journal, September 1999.
    5. Marsh, D.G., Waters, F.H., Marsh, T.D., "40 Inventive Principles With Applications in Education," The TRIZ Journal, July 2004.
    6. Retseptor, G., "40 Inventive Principles in Marketing, Sales and Advertising," The TRIZ Journal, April 2005.
    7. Retseptor, G., "40 Inventive Principles in Quality Management," The TRIZ Journal, March 2003.
    8. Zhang, J., Chai, K.H., Tan, K.C., "40 Inventive Principles With Applications in Service Operations Management," The TRIZ Journal, December 2003.
    9. Zhang, J., Tan, K.C., Chai, K.H., "Systematic Innovation in Service Design Through TRIZ," Proceedings of the EurOMA-POMS 2003 Annual Conference, Cernobbio, Lake Como, Italy, Vol 1, pp. 1013-1022, 2004.

    Appendix 1: Three-level Service System Taxonomy


    1. Customer organization: type, size, economic sector
    2. Customer features (personal data): type, number, demographics/geographics, nationality, age, language(s) spoken, importance (value)
    2. Customer association: connection (potential/new/repeat/member/lost), segmentation, profitability
    4. Customer attitudes: socio-economic level, social level, profession
    5. Customer preferences: functionality, cost, novelty, reliability, versatility, expectations, preferences, a-priori perceptions (of quality), needs, buying behavior


    6. General strategic goals: positioning, survival, growth, market, profits, leadership, image
    7. Service-related strategic goals: differentiation, customer relationship, competitiveness, sales, service vs. sales
    8. Service goals: service level, service quality, service flexibility, service uniqueness, service effectiveness, service efficiency, service recovery, product availability (uptime)
    9. Customer goals: service response, service variety, service personalization, customer participation, customer empowerment, service value
    10. Economic goals: revenue opportunity, profit control, cost leveraging, operational efficiency
    11. Enterprise culture goals: organizational culture, employee welfare


    12. Physical factors: item (before service), raw materials, components, spare parts, finished goods, inventories
    13. Human factors: clients (before service), consultants, temporary staff
    14. Demand factors: demand (regular, peak), anticipation/uncertainty, seasonality, purchasing behavior (frequency, quantity), orders, demand management
    15. Utilization factors: usage context, usage intensity (frequency), patterns, risks, availability requirements (uptime), effects of service delay
    16. Customer factors: problem identification (customer), customer requirements, referrals, complaints, authorizations
    17. Constraint factors: client limitations (physical/age/health), client limitations (financial), client limitations (goods availability), client limitations (goods non-availability), service limitations (urgency)
    18. Financial factors: subsidies, financing
    19. Customer payment factors: accounts receivable, payments, means of payment, terms of payment, discounts, customer participation
    20. Informatic factors: FAQ query, customer data, complaint data, assumptions, plans


    21. Physical factors: item (after service), materials, goods, containers, tags
    22. Human factors: clients (after service)
    23. Informatics: FAQ response, authorizations, contracts, warranties, information (statements), lessons learned, plans, answers to FAQ
    24. Financial factors: accounts receivable, payments, earnings, profits
    25. Organization payment factors: accounts payable, payments, restitution, compensation, means of payment, terms of payment
    26. Waste factors: service materials, discarded components, rejected goods


    27. Service configuration: portfolio of services, partitioning of services (explicit, implicit/support), technology, organization, complexity, customer partitioning (batching), worker partitioning (teams, specializations, departmentalization)
    28. Service variability: industrialization/routinization/standardization/variability/customization/personalization/flexibility, product/service upgrading, special circumstances
    29. Service initiation: order taking, booking reservation and registration, problem identification (customer), problem identification (provider) and registration, problem severity
    30. Service provision: workflow, service transformation, after-sales service, field service, self-service, product delivery to center, product delivery to customer
    31. Service operations: regime, days, shifts, work hours (fixed, flexible), breaks, service time, uncertainty, risk, turnaround, capacity (regular/peak)
    32. Service quality control: functional/technical quality control (provision, deliverable), service/customer verification, service/customer evaluation, inspection (repair) (provider), inspection (repair) (customer)
    33. Service payment: procurement, billing, payment
    34. Service recovery: malfunctions, complaint handling, conflict resolution, recovery technique, recovery speed, restitution and compensation procedures
    35. Customer contact: channels, help desk, customer involvement, intensity, queries, instructions (advice), promotion, sales, after-sales service coordination, field service coordination, language(s)
    36. Customer relationships: lead handling, promoting and marketing, customer loyalty management, CRM analytics, priorities
    37. Service support: material handling, inventory management, facility maintenance, equipment maintenance, security
    38. Planning and control: forecasting, budgeting, capacity, service load, service level, service system constraints, scheduling, workflow, service tracking, service unavailability (temporary) control, service improvement
    39. Waiting line management: organization, wait time
    40. Call center (management): call center service, call routing, call escalation routing, waiting line management

    Human Enablers

    41. Owner organization (enterprise): economic sector, organizational structure, distribution of authority, autonomy, empowerment
    42. Service providers: types, skills, numbers, qualifications, organization, dress, age
    43. Support providers: types, skills, numbers, qualifications, organization, dress, age
    44. Employee management: style, recruitment, induction, tenure, compensation, advancement
    45. Provider/employee culture: productivity, creativity, incentives, evaluation, evaluation cycle, risk management
    46. Employee competency (skill acquisition): training programs, training workshops, training duration, certification, qualification procedures, skill levels, seniority

    Physical Enablers

    47. Service center (physical): type, number, size, organization, layout, ambiance, de-centralization of facilities (in-house, outsourcing), ownership
    48. Facilities: service facilities, reception facilities, repair facilities, testing facilities, support facilities, payment facilities, inventory facilities, disposal facilities, facility partitioning, ownership partitioning
    49. Amenities (supplementary services): customers (wait line), employees, safekeeping, ownership
    50. Equipment: service equipment, support equipment, automation, standardization, specialization
    51. Furnishings: service/support/general furnishings, ambiance, wall notices and advertising posters
    52. Service vehicles: type, number
    53. Geography: service center location (macro, micro) service center dispersion, repair facility location, spare parts stores location
    54. Access: employee/customer transport to center, employee/customer parking, signposting
    55. Call center (physical): location, organization, CTI hardware/software
    56. Information technology: hardware, software, channels, Internet site

    Informatic Enablers

    57. Product/service information (content, language(s)): own catalogs, own manuals, supplier catalogs, supplier manuals, videos
    58. Promotion: channels, advertising (message), scripts, "promises"
    59. Official reference documents: contract templates, price/charge lists (prices, tariffs, fees, rebates, warranties, insurances), conditions of service/sale, guarantee conditions, post-guarantee conditions
    60. Configuration (physical product): structure, variants, attachments, upgrades, customization, materials, customer/service assembly
    61. Attributes (physical product): lifetime, transportability, fragility
    62. Reparability of components: reparable, replaceable, irreparable, upgrade ability, maintainability, reparability by customer/service
    63. Procedures and processes: service provision/support/operations/recovery, customer relationships, job design, planning and control, quality management, decision procedures, decision support systems
    64. Service and product appraisal: feedback (from customer, service provider, product designer), feedback (to customer, service provider, product designer), service/product performance analysis, service/product quality analysis
    65. Performance measures: general (e.g., ISO) standards, company standards (service, quality), service (provision, recovery), product (functioning, reliability), customer (value, satisfaction), employee (productivity, customer contact), financial
    66. Prices and charges: product (goods), service (provision), customer calls (help desk), warranties, warranty extension, rebates and refunds
    67. Costs: facilities, operation, equipment, promotion, spare parts
    68. Information sources: customer databases (service, behavior), product knowledge base, FAQ knowledge base, professional workshops


    69. Market factors: market needs, need persistence, segmentation, product manufacturers (original, competition), service provision (competition)
    70. Geographic factors: manufacturer location, market location, competitor location, supplier location, subcontractor location, spare part location, land availability
    71. Economic factors: economic climate, suppliers, subcontractors (outsourcing), economic sector of manufacturing organization
    72. Technological factors: availability of technologies, availability of methodologies, availability of knowledge, availability of manpower (labor market), availability of skills
    73. Social factors: political climate, social climate, local populace, holidays
    74. Ecological factors: constraints on waste/noise, waste disposal
    75. Legal factors: constraints on customers, constraints on employees, constraints on location, constraints on service fees, standards, regulations, accreditation (regulator, manufacturer, organization, suppliers)

    Appendix 2: Concept Trigger Questionnaire

    FeatureElement (Example)TRIZ Inventive PrincipleQuestion
    1Customer (organization)24How can the customer organization help to advertise the service?
    2Customer (person)1How can customers be segmented so that service will be most effective?
    3Customer (connection)4How can both old and new customers be incentivized to use the service?
    4Customer (socio-economic)33How can customers from all socio-economic levels be incentivized to use the service?
    5Customer (expectation)4How can the facility cope with different customer expectations?
    6Organizational goal35How can the organizational goals adapt to changes in the product marketability?
    7Sales versus service goal38How can the continued upgradeability of a product help to provide a wide(r) range of services?
    8Service goal29How can intangible service goals be utilized to incentivize customers?
    9Customer goal23How can customer feedback be exploited to achieve service goals?
    10Economic goal22How can cheapening service charges help to further economic goals?
    11Enterprise culture goal23How can the "voice of the employee" be exploited to synergize the effectiveness of the service?
    12Component2How can spare part availability not turn into a bottleneck in the service process?
    13Temporary staff8What kinds of temporary staff can be used to counteract staff shortages?
    14Demand (product/service)14What kinds of standard forecasting methodologies can be adapted to predict demand for after-sales services?
    15Product usage (intensity)9How can the effects of a service delay on a customer be minimized?
    16Customer (as user)1How can the different uses to which the product is put be exploited to provide more customized service?
    17Limitations (customer)3How can the service be customized to accord with physiological limitations of the customer?
    18Subsidy, financing37How can sources of financing be expanded when upgrading is required?
    19Customer payment (terms)4What kinds of terms of payment be offered to encourage customer utilization of the FAQ facility?
    20Complaint6How can customer/complaint information be registered using a standardized template?
    21Item (after service)28How can electronic tagging be used to track the product repair?
    22Client (after service)23How can feedback from customers after the service be streamlined?
    23Warranty34How can warranties be kept up to date with product and service upgrades?
    24Organization payments11What kind of compensation fund can be set up in the case of an onerous claim?
    25Compensation (customers)36What kinds of compensation can be offered to customers for a defective product or unsatisfactory service?
    26Discarded components25How can discarded components be used for other purposes (instead of being scrap)?
    27Service partitioning2What kinds of services can be given outside the service facility?
    28Customization9What kinds of service or repair can be offered to minimize the likelihood of future product failures?
    29Service order entry3How can different channels of service initiation (frontal, telephone, Internet) be handled?
    30Work flow13What kind of mechanism can encourage customers to resolve the problem by themselves?
    31Tasks (working hours)19How can quiet periods in service demand be gainfully utilized?
    32Quality control mechanism2How can customer criticism improve the quality of service for that customer?
    33Service payment21What kind of methods can be used to expedite the billing procedure?
    34Service recovery11What kind of proactive action can be taken in the face of a recurrent complaint?
    35Customer (contact)12How can all customers obtain equal attention to their queries?
    36Customer (prioritization)2What kind of procedure can be instituted for handling VIP customers?
    37Maintenance2What kind of procedure can be instituted for handling critical spare parts?
    38Scheduling20How can quiet periods in service demand be utilized for planning and control?
    39Waitline organization16What kind of diversions or auxiliary services can be provided in order to counteract boredom of waiting customers?
    40Call routing1What kind of functions or services can be carried out by the call center?
    41Empowerment1What kinds of decisions can be made by each employee?
    42Provider (task allocation)15What kinds of activities can be carried out through mobile services?
    43Supporter (dress)3What kinds of dress code can be selected for service support workers?
    44Provider (advancement)10What kinds of conditions can be specified for employee advancement?
    45Provider (locality)3How can local employee hiring contribute to the organization?
    46Provider (training)18What kinds of training should be instituted so that employees are multi-functional?
    47Center (layout)3What kind of layout the most suitable for the service center?
    48Center (partitioning)1How can the (partitioned) service process be laid out to minimize customer waiting?
    49Amenity (customer waiting)3What kinds of amenities can be made available to customers?
    50Service equipment6What kinds of functions can be performed by the same equipment?
    51Furnishings, interior design1What kinds of furnishings are required for each type of service?
    52Mobile service vehicle2What kinds of equipment can be installed in mobile service vehicles?
    53Service location (micro)7What kinds of location for the service center can be selected relative to the point of sale of the product?
    54Parking facility10What kinds of access can be provided to ensure swift and easy access to the service center?
    55Call center (organization)9How can the call center anticipate negative customer responses?
    56Internet site5What kinds of service can be offered on an Internet site?
    57Media (format)40What kinds of multi-media channels can be used to inform customers about the correct use of the product?
    58Promotion channel8How can various promotion channels be used to counteract competitive products or services?
    59Price list6What kinds of prices can be charged for standard and customized services?
    60Product (customization)32How can service be made flexible for dealing with customized products?
    61Product (lifetime)26How can the expense of service provision be related to product lifetime?
    62Component (upgradeability)26How can components replaced during an upgrade be reused?
    63Quality management38What is the relationship between quality service and product lifetime?
    64Feedback (customer/designer)17How can feedback be used to improve both services and products?
    65Service standard (quality)6What kind of standards can be used as a basis for developing performance measures?
    66Prices and charges1What kinds of prices and charges can be set for each type of service?
    67Costs (operations)31How can new services proposed by customers be costed rapidly for implementation?
    68Databases5What kinds of common information can be disseminated to all service branches?
    69Market (competition)8What kinds of possible cooperation with competitors can be envisaged?
    70Location (competitor)22How can a nearby location of a competitor be exploited?
    71Economic climate30How can the service center adjust to fluctuations in the economic climate?
    72Labor market27How can expensive experienced workers be replaced by inexpensive beginners?
    73Social climate39How can the effects of an industrial action be neutralized?
    74Waste disposal6What kinds of standards exist for the disposal of different types of components?
    75Accreditation2What kinds of facility and worker accreditation are required to operate the service center?

    Appendix 3: Examples of Integration Among TRIZ Principles and the Service Taxonomy

    Note: Numbers in brackets at the end of an example refer to the references from which the example was taken directly or modified. When a number is not given, the example was generated in the framework of this article.

    1 – Segmentation

    A. Divide an element into independent parts

    B. Make an element easy to disassemble or sectional

    C. Increase the degree of fragmentation or segmentation

    D. Transition to micro-level

    2 – Taking out

    A. Separate an interfering part or property from an element, or single out the only necessary part (or property) of an element

    B. Extract the only necessary part (or property) of an element

    3 – Local Quality

    A. Change an element's structure from uniform to non-uniform

    B. Change an external environment (or external influence) from uniform to non-uniform

    C. Make each part of an element function in conditions most suitable for its operation

    D. Make each part of an element fulfill a different and useful function

    4 – Asymmetry

    A. Change the shape of an element from symmetrical to asymmetrical

    B. Change the shape of an element to suit external asymmetries

    C. If an element is asymmetrical, increase its degree of asymmetry

    5 – Merging (Combining)

    A. Bring closer together (or merge) identical or similar elements, assemble identical or similar parts to perform parallel operations

    B. Make operations contiguous or parallel; bring them together in time

    6 – Universality

    A. Make a part or element perform multiple functions; eliminate the need for other elements

    B. Use standardized features

    7 – Nested Doll

    A. Place one element inside another; place each element, in turn, inside the other

    B. Make one part pass through a cavity in the other

    8 – Anti-weight (Counter-weight)

    A. To compensate for the weight (downward tendency) of an element, merge it with other elements that provide lift

    B. To compensate for the weight (downward tendency) of an element, make it interact with the environment (e.g., use aerodynamic, hydrodynamic, buoyancy and other forces)

    9 – Preliminary Anti-action (Prior Counter-action)

    A. If it will be necessary to do an action with both harmful and useful effects, this action should be replaced with anti-actions to control harmful effects

    B. Create beforehand stresses in an element that will oppose known undesirable working stresses later on

    10 – Preliminary Action

    A. Perform, before it is needed, the required change of an element (either fully or partially)

    B. Pre-arrange elements such that they can come into action from the most convenient place and without losing time for their delivery

    11– Beforehand Cushioning

    A. Prepare emergency means beforehand to compensate for the relatively low reliability of an element

    12 – Equipotentiality

    A. In a potential field, limit position changes (e.g., change operating conditions to eliminate the need to raise or lower elements in a gravity field)

    13 – The Other Way Round (Inversion)

    A. Invert the action(s) used to solve the problem (e.g., instead of cooling an element, heat it)

    B. Make movable parts (or the external environment) fixed, and fixed parts movable

    C. Turn the element, or process, upside down

    14 – Spheroidality (Curvature)

    A. Instead of using rectilinear parts, surfaces, or forms, use curvilinear ones; move from flat surfaces to spherical ones; from parts shaped as a cube (parallel-piped) to ball-shaped structures

    B. Use rollers, balls, spirals, domes

    C. Go from linear to rotary motion, use centrifugal forces

    15 – Dynamics

    A. Allow (or design) the characteristics of an element, external environment, or process to change to be optimal or to find an optimal operating condition

    B. Divide an element into parts capable of movement relative to each other

    C. If an element (or process) is rigid or inflexible, make it movable or adaptive

    D. Increase the degree of free motion

    16 – Partial or Excessive Actions

    A. If 100 percent of an element is hard to achieve using a given solution method then, by using slightly less or slightly more of the same method, the problem may be considerably easier to solve

    17 – Another Dimension

    A. Move an element in two- or three-dimensional space

    B. If an element continues to moves in a plane, consider use of dimensions or movement outside the current plane

    C. Use a multi-story arrangement of elements instead of a single-story arrangement

    D. Tilt or re-orient the element, lay it on its side

    E. Use another side of a given area

    18 – Mechanical Vibration

    A. Cause an element to oscillate or vibrate (shake things up)

    B. Increase its frequency (even up to the ultrasonic)

    C. Use an element's resonant frequency

    D. Use piezo-electric vibrators instead of mechanical ones

    E. Use combined ultrasonic and electromagnetic field oscillations

    F. Use external elements to create oscillation/vibration

    19 – Periodic Action

    A. Instead of continuous action, use periodic or pulsating actions

    B. If an action is already periodic, change the periodic magnitude or frequency

    C. Use pauses between impulses to perform a different action

    20 – Continuity of Useful Action

    A. Carry on work continuously; make all parts of an element work at full load, all the time

    B. Eliminate all idle or intermittent actions or work

    21 – Skipping (Rushing Through)

    A. Conduct a process or certain stages (e.g., destructive, harmful or hazardous operations) at high speed

    22 – Blessing in Disguise (Turn Lemons Into Lemonade)

    A. Use harmful factors (particularly, harmful effects of the environment or surroundings) to achieve a positive effect

    B. Eliminate the primary harmful action by adding it to another harmful action to resolve the problem

    C. Amplify a harmful factor to such a degree that it is no longer harmful

    23 – Feedback

    A. Introduce feedback (referring back, cross-checking) to improve a process or action

    B. If feedback is already used, change its magnitude or influence

    24 – Intermediary

    A. Use an intermediary carrier article or intermediary process

    B. Merge one element temporarily with another (which can be easily removed)

    25 – Self-service

    A. Make an element serve itself by performing auxiliary helpful functions

    B. Use waste (or lost) resources, energy, or substances

    26 – Copying

    A. Instead of an unavailable, expensive, fragile element, use simpler and inexpensive copies

    B. Replace an element, or process with optical copies

    C. If visible optical copies are already used, move to infrared or ultraviolet copies (use appropriate out-of-the-ordinary viewing situations)

    D. Copy creative service concepts across different industries

    27 – Cheap Short-living Objects

    A. Replace an inexpensive element with a multiple of inexpensive elements, comprising certain qualities (such as service life, for instance)

    B. Replace an expensive element by an inexpensive element

    28 – Mechanics Substitution

    A. Replace a mechanical means with a sensory (optical, acoustic, taste or smell) means

    B. Use electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields to interact with the element

    C. Change from static to movable fields, from unstructured fields to those having structure

    D. Use fields in conjunction with field-activated (e.g., ferromagnetic) particles

    29 – Pneumatics and Hydraulics (intangibility)

    A. Use gas and liquid parts of an element instead of solid parts (e.g., inflatable, filled with liquids, air cushion, hydrostatic, hydro-reactive)

    B. Use intangible parts of an element or system instead of tangible parts

    30 – Flexible Shells and Thin Films

    A. Use flexible shells and thin films instead of three-dimensional structures

    B. Isolate the element from the external environment using flexible shells and thin films

    31 – Porous Materials

    A. Make an element porous or add porous elements (inserts, coatings, etc.)

    B. If an element is already porous, use the pores to introduce a useful substance or function

    32 – Color Changes

    A. Change the color of an element or its external environment

    B. Change the transparency of an element or its external environment

    C. In order to improve observability of things that are difficult to see, use colored additives or luminescent elements

    D. Change the emissivity properties of an element subject to radiant heating

    33 – Homogeneity

    A. Make elements interacting with a given element of the same material (or material with identical properties)

    34 – Discarding and Recovering (Rejecting and Regenerating Elements)

    A. Make portions of an element that have fulfilled their functions go away (discard by dissolving, evaporating, etc.) or modify these directly during operation

    B. Conversely, restore consumable parts of an element directly in operation

    35 – Parameter Changes (Transformation of Properties)

    A. Change an element's physical state (e.g., to a gas, liquid or solid)

    B. Change the concentration or consistency

    C. Change the degree of flexibility

    D. Change the atmosphere to an optimal setting

    36 – Phase Transitions (Macro-scale Phenomena)

    A. Use phenomena occurring during phase transitions (e.g., volume changes, loss or absorption of heat, etc.)

    37 – Thermal Expansion

    A. Use thermal expansion (or contraction) of materials

    B. If thermal expansion is being used, use multiple materials with different coefficients of thermal expansion

    38 – Strong Oxidants (Boosted Interactions)

    A. Replace common air with oxygen-enriched air (enrich value added for elements)

    B. Replace enriched air with pure oxygen (increase element participation)

    C. Expose air or oxygen to ionizing radiation (employ external influences)

    D. Use ionized oxygen (enrich value added through elements)

    E. Replace ozonized (or ionized) oxygen with ozone (extreme or radical activities)

    39 – Inert Atmosphere

    A. Replace a normal environment with an inert one

    B. Add neutral parts or inert additives to an element

    40 – Composite Materials (Utilization of Combinations of Different Skills and Capabilities)

    A. Change from uniform to composite (multiple) materials

    Appendix 4: Capstone Model for Service Systems

    Capstone Model for Service Systems

    About the Authors:

    Reuven Karni is a professor of industrial engineering at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. He developed and taught a course in engineering design for industrial engineers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. During a sabbatical at George Mason University in 1995, Karni became acquainted with TRIZ as a product design methodology and also began research into design tools for service engineering; in particular, knowledge-based inferential design theory. A further sabbatical was spent in 2005 at the Service Engineering Unit of the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, where research into a comprehensive taxonomy resulted in the development of the capstone model for services. His current research interests include service system design and analysis, business process design and analysis, and knowledge process design and analysis. He has recently turned his attention to TRIZ as an effective method to create a more formalized approach to service system design. Contact Reuven Karni at doreuven (at)

    Maya Kaner is a lecturer in industrial engineering and management at the Ort Braude College, Karmiel, Israel. Her M.Sc. research dealt with the idea of a generalized categorization of services and the application of inferential design theory to the ideation of service elements. Her Ph.D. research dealt with knowledge management within project planning and management. Her current research interests include knowledge-based service systems design and modeling, knowledge-based decision-making in project management, and business process modeling. She has collaborated with professor Reuven Karni on 14 journal and international conference articles on the applications of knowledge-based methods in service system design and has recently turned her attention to TRIZ as an effective method to create a more formalized approach to service system design. Contact Maya Kaner at kmaya (at)

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