By Kalevi Rantanen
Dr. Martha Gardner shared how TRIZ and Six Sigma methods are used at GE. The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving has been used in the framework of Six Sigma, with significant economic impact.
Systematic innovation/TRIZ Leader, Amir Rogger, shared about TRIZ training at Intel. The training has been conducted in the last year all over the world by the company. The last evolution phase is "synergy with other methods."
Dr. Semyon Litvin from GEN3 Partners talked about the change of paradigm in the work industry on the basis of many years of work by several industrial companies. It was noted that the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving produces ideas and inventions, but companies need products, not ideas or inventions. It is necessary to find a way from the idea to a product. Other thoughts included that it is best not to invent at all, but to adopt the ready idea from some other industry.
Litvin's team has developed tools for the search of useful technologies. They have also built a global network of thousands of experts that can provide necessary knowledge. As an example Litvin shared that a solution to an allergy problem in health care was found by adopting a technology from the cement industry.
A common denominator of the three speakers was integration. The clear and important conclusion was that in order to get good results in your industry, the classical TRIZ method should be complemented with other tools.
The most famous success stories of using TRIZ applications come from big companies. But what can small companies do?
Professor Young Wong Song from Korea and TRIZ expert Marat Gafitulin shared how small- and medium-sized enterprises can be helped to acquire TRIZ. In February 2009 they conducted a TRIZ project in the Republic of Korea. The initial results have shown promise.
One way to bring TRIZ into companies is to teach it in schools and universities. For example, Mihail Plaksin from Russia shared how TRIZ elements can be embedded into the integrated course of computer science in III-IV level classes in schools. Elena Reznikova, also from Russia, considered the problems of using TRIZ in university education. The problem at the moment is the absence of disciplines and proper literature based on TRIZ. One solution is to include elements of TRIZ to existing engineering courses.
Many other topics were considered in speeches and discussions at the conference. Theoretical works elaborating all sides of TRIZ were presented.
As a whole the conference reflected the steady spread and evolution of TRIZ all over the world.
Kalevi Rantanen worked in Finnish youth organizations, primarily on problems of education, in the 1970s. From 1979-1985, he studied in the former USSR and earned his M.Sc in mechanical engineering and was introduced to TRIZ. Rantanen worked in Finnish industry until 1991, while also a TRIZ trainer. Since 1991, he has been an independent entrepreneur and has concentrated on science and technology journalism since 2002. Contact Kalevi Rantanen at kalevi.rantanen (at) kolumbus.fi.