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TRIZ and ID

TRIZ (a Russian acronym that is usually translated “theory of inventive problem solving” and is pronounced treez) was developed by Russian scientists and engineers trying to understand technological evolution. I’ve touched on TRIZ’s relevance to ID in a number of my writings (go here, for instance). Some useful sites for understanding TRIZ are the following:

The Triz Journal: http://www.triz-journal.com/

Ideation Triz: http://www.ideationtriz.com/

Technical Innovation Center: http://www.triz.org/

One of the most useful books I’ve found on TRIZ is Semyon Savransky’s Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ Methodology of Inventive Problem Solving (Boca Raton, Fl.: CRC Press, 2000) — to view/purchase at Amazon.com, go here.

Interestingly, it now appears that there is a contingent in the TRIZ community that wants to separate TRIZ from ID, namely the publishers of the new Anti TRIZ-Journal (notice where the hyphen is; these people are not against TRIZ as such, but against its vulgarization, as they see it, at the hands of industry and ID proponents). For the Anti TRIZ-Journal website, go here. For a brief note on that website explicitly against ID, go here.

In this note, G. L. Filkovsky remarks that “TRIZ is limited to a kind of evolution, which constitutes only an insignificant subset of evolution processes. This makes the use of TRIZ equally insignificant.” What’s interesting about this remark is the devaluation of TRIZ in order to ensure that it has no relevance to biological evolution.

In fact, TRIZ is much broader in scope, as a reading of the Savranky text above will make clear. As Savransky notes, TRIZ includes all forms of technological evolution, including not just the solution of routine problems (i.e., small, incremental improvements and adjustments of existing technologies), but also innovative problems, which can constitute technological revolutions. The connection between TRIZ and ID is not going to go away simply because a small splinter group in the TRIZ community doesn’t want the two connected.

I’ve been in touch with a key leader of TRIZ. The issue for him is not whether TRIZ and ID are connected or even how, but rather how to incorporate ID into TRIZ to solve novel problems. TRIZ is not only a theory of technological evolution but also a practical problem solving technique that engineers employ to put bread on the table. Simply put, this TRIZ leader wants to know how ID is going to help him earn more money. That’s a legitimate question and one we in the ID community are working on.

As a side note, Jonathan Wells’s present research on centrioles (go here for an earlier post on this blog) was directly inspired by a visit to this key TRIZ leader that he, Paul Nelson, and I made in 2002.

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8 Responses to TRIZ and ID

  1. http://www3.sympatico.ca/karas.....inism.html

    the matter (any matter) is not completely dumb and itself possesses creativity !

    In living creatures this potential is materialized into actual thinking. But in stones it still remains in a latent form
    /blockquote>

    I don’t bother reading further when I encounter statements like those. This case was no exception. I hope I haven’t offended any rocks in so doing.

  2. The link you provide to Ideation International speaks of “technological and social evolution…market and organizational evolution.” Are you sure you want to walk this road, Dr. Dembski? How much evolution are you willing to allow until the rudder gets stuck or your wheels fall off?

    This is a surprising move, though of course I’d read before your 2001 paper/speech “ID as a Theory of Technological Evolution,” I never thought you’d follow it up since likely you don’t speak or read Russian and have never been to Russia. An Americanized version of TRIZ is something altogether different and inauthentic, as the anti TRIZ-journal suggests.

    “the evolution of engineering systems is not a random process, but obeys certain laws” … “TRIZ is all you need to develop Innovative products!!!” – TRIZ.org

    Obeying laws of innovation!? This is not (especially the latter) authentic TRIZ!

    It is ironic how TRIZ is employed to support ID. Isn’t everything supportive of ID?

    “The connection between TRIZ and ID is not going to go away” … “the devaluation of TRIZ in order to ensure that it has no relevance to biological evolution.” – W. Dembski

    TRIZ is real indeed and not some Cold War fairy tale. But it will defeat you and the ID Movement before it will further your argument for scientific ID legitimacy. It is not concerned with biology and doesn’t pretend to be, lest you devalue it for your own biology-in, biology-out purposes.

    The irony of course, is that appealing to TRIZ and engineers to legitimize the IDM and ID theory will eventually require ID theorists to define just which forms (varieties) of evolution they accept and which forms they reject. Are ID theorists really prepared to do this? Is William Dembski prepared to do this? Evolution would become the problem then, not neo-Darwinism and how to dissent.

    Arago

    p.s. It is not surprising that IDists are inspired by those who ‘solve novel problems.’

    p.p.s. I do indeed hope you will help TRIZ ‘leaders’ earn money, especially the Russian ones. Please post that report when you do!

    p.p.p.s. Some interesting nuggets in the links: “[I]t has absolutely nothing to do with a technical evolution: Darwinism is exclusively a biological theory.” – Filkovsky

  3. Looks like it’s new in the U.S. at big patent shops which might explain why I hadn’t heard of it as a member of the patent committee at a big patent shop. I reviewed about 1000 abstracts and approved probably 200 for filing over the course of two years but that was over 5 years ago.

    Here’s a couple links with names of companies looking at it. My last employer isn’t on the list but many of our biggest customers and suppliers are.

    http://www.imeche.org.uk/manuf....._jumbo.asp

    ftp://download.intel.com/research/events/triz(3).pdf

    One of my pet peeves in the area of computer patents is lack of expertise in patent examiners at the U.S. Patent Office. A lot of crap makes it past them and gets granted when it should be thrown out for obviousness or prior art. I wonder if TRIZ would help the examiners flush out bogus patent applications?

    There was in interesting bit in the first link above that caught my eye (pun intended):

    The simple fact that over 90 per cent of the underlying generic problems product and process designers face today at a given company have already been solved at another company or even in a completely different industry-perhaps even for entirely unrelated situations.”

    This reminds me of one of my own patents for battery power saving in laptops. I was on a flight to Japan and happened to get seated next to an engineer that was working on a new device called a cold-cathode electron-beam flat panel. An interesting property he mentioned was that a pixel would consume electricity in proportion to how brightly it was lit. Normal LCD flat panels don’t work that way.

    What led to the invention was thinking about how the eye and brain work and correlating with how windowing operating systems function. The eye & brain monitor a large visual field but only focuses tightly on small bits of it at a time. I got the bright idea to monitor operating system control messages to see which window the user was focused on at any one time and gradually reduce the brightness of the out-of-focus windows which would reduce the power being consumed in the new type flat panels.

    So it wasn’t another industry but a design found in living things that inspired the invention.

  4. Does Bill believe that the designer is GOD?

  5. Read my introductory essay to Mere Creation (IVP, 1998).

  6. Ed Brayton on Panda’s Thumb is now trying to conflate Cosmic ID with Biological ID saying that ID proponents must claim both or neither.

    It occurs to me (and since this thread is about patents) that we should structure the claims of ID like they’re done in a good patent.

    We start out making broad claims and work down to more and more specific claims. Claims are made in that way because even if a broad claim does not hold up when challenged a narrower claim may still hold up and provide some reduced measure of protection.

    Thus we would begin with the broad claim:

    Claim 1: ID claims detectable signs of intelligent design in any structures or laws anywhere in the universe or the natural laws of the universe. (ID)

    Narrower claims would then be:

    Claim 2: ID claims detectable signs of intelligent design in the way the physical constants of the universe combined to allow carbon based life to exist (fine tuning)

    Claim 3: ID claims detectable signs of intelligent design in the way that inanimate chemicals organized into a replicator (abiogenesis)

    Claim 4: ID claims detectable signs of intelligent design in the way that the first replicator diversified into all the extant forms of life we see today. (biogenesis)

    …..

    Claim n: ID claims the bacterial flagella displays signs of intelligent design

    A good patent in an area as broad as ID would have probably dozens of claims. Of course ID isn’t being patented but it should probably be presented in independent claims from broadest to narrowest. Everyone in the tent gets accomodated that way and if any specific claims are found invalid others will remain intact.

    Thoughts? Other claims?

  7. Technological and social evolution…market and organizational evolution…cultural evolution, psychological evolution…the evolution of golf, the evolution of music, the evolution of evolutionary theories.

    Just not naturalistic, secularistic, materialistic evolution?

    Otoh, what about ID for ‘all humane studies,’ where does that fit into an ID patent? Are they claims or patents? Do Americans have to check Russian patents, since TRIZ is a Russian idea (Теория Решения Изобретательских Задач)?

    Interesting idea by DaveScot. Probably deserves its own thread.

    g.

  8. g_arago

    Forgive my small knowledge of TRIZ. I left patent work early in the year 2000 and TRIZ in the U.S. at big patent shops seems to have begun catching on after that, correct?

    I googled TRIZ and “patent claims” and found a tool to assist in diagramming claims within the “Innovation Workbench” suite.

    Is there an integrated TRIZ tool that is hotlinked into free uspto.gov databases to make the database easier and more intuitive to use – sort of an intelligent front end for this clunker…

    http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/search-adv.htm

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