in Innovation


chess.jpgIn late 1940’s the brilliant soviet inventor Genrich Altshuller had the idea that it’s possible to develop a scheme in order to free innovation process from the inevitability to progress by attempts. Analyzing thousands of patents, Altshuller noticed that, at the right level of abstraction, the inventive principles that sustain the most innovative ideas were a few, even if in different application fields, and were about the overcome of conflicts that arise from different technical needs. He detailed the TRIZ method (TRIZ stands for Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch, or Theory of Solving Inventive Problems) that, apparently in contrast to techniques such as brainstorming (that is based on random idea generation and discussion), wants to create an algorithmic way to analyze problems and find new ways to solve them. After several years of oblivion, now the process is still alive and TRIZ matrixes are going to became one of the most tricky dispute between people who “knows” the truth…Do you need more explanation about TRIZ or you are skilled enough about? Here is what you need (if needed).

I was immediately astonished by the idea that a scientist, even if a Russian scientist (Russians are so peculiar), could start to think about a way to “help” the creative process establishing rules and methods…It depends on the fact they are (most of them) (Russians I mean) atheist? So everything needs to be explained or, better, guided, fitting in a matrix all the possible results of your thinking and matching the results in order to guide your thoughts to a rational end? I’d like to know which kind of process he followed in order to obtain this innovative idea…Do you think that such a Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch (or something like this) can substitute beer in the difficult task of open your mind and enlighten the Mystery of the Universe?

Why do I blog this?
We can discuss for a week about culture, knowledge, rules and conventions, but everything looks like the experience of a chess player: he started to study how to move the Knight and the King, then he goes deeply into Overtures and Center Control & Occupation, and then the Final, and then he goes to the Club and loses the match against a twelve-years-old-spotty-girl named Sue. There is always a moment during the fight where theory leaves you alone and you need your genius to survive to Sue’s attach. And I’m convinced that TRIZ can’t substitute your genius.