Can innovation be processized? Or in general, can creativity be processized? The answer is “Yes, to a large extent”.
TRIZ is tool that can help guide/channelize creative efforts. It was developed by the Soviet inventor Genrich Altshuller. Altshuller reviewed about 40,000 patent abstracts in order to find out patterns of innovation. Based on his research, Altshuller proposed “40 Principles of Invention” (listed below). These 40 Principles were found to repeat across many fields.
2. Taking out
3. Local Quality
7. ‘Nested doll’
9. Preliminary anti-action
10. Preliminary action
11. Beforehand cushioning
13. ‘The other way around’
16. Partial or excessive actions
17. Another dimension
18. Mechanical vibration
19. Periodic action
20. Continuity of useful action
22. ‘Blessing in disguise’
27. Cheap short-living
28. Mechanics substitution
29. Pneumatics and hydraulics
30. Flexible shells and thin films
31. Porous materials
32. Color changes
34. Discarding andrecovering
35. Parameter changes
37. Thermal expansion
38. Strong oxidants
39. Inert atmosphere
40. Composite material
TRIZ journal provides examples of implementation of each these 40 principles. Please find two of them listed below.
Principle 1. Segmentation
Make an object easy to disassemble.
- Modular furniture
- Quick disconnect joints in plumbing
Principle 17. Another dimension
Use a multi-story arrangement of objects instead of a single-story arrangement.
- Cassette with 6 CD’s to increase music time and variety
- Electronic chips on both sides of a printed circuit board
Using these 40 principles, innovation can be channelized for any product/service. For example, the cell phone manufacturers heavily utilize the principle 7 – “Nested Doll” (i.e. Place one object inside another). Today a cell phone has a clock, a camera, a phone, a sound recording device, a GPS Navigator and an internet device. The size of the cell phone has not changed much with inclusion of new objects inside it. The trend seems to be continuing as cell phone becomes more powerful every year.