TRIZ, (pronounced [treez]), is a Russian acronym for "Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskikh Zadatch" (Теория решения изобретательских задач), a theory of inventive problem solving developed by Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues since 1946.

TRIZ is an established science, methodology, tool set, knowledge base, and model-based technology for generating innovative ideas and solutions for problem solving. TRIZ science expands aproaches developed in systems engineering and provides powerful tools and systemic methods for use in problem formulation, system analysis, failure analysis, and patterns of system evolution (both 'as-is' and 'could be'). TRIZ, in contrast to techniques such as brainstorming (which is based on random idea generation), aims to create an algorithmic approach to the invention new systems, and the refinement of old systems.



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TRIZ way for creative problem solving

Is it possible to learn to be an inventor? Russian engineer and scientist Genrich Samuilovich Altshuller believed that such a thing was in fact possible. To prove it, he developed TRIZ, the theory and practice of the science of invention.

On initial stages of work Genrich discovered, that principles found while analyzing patents from one industry are applicable for problems in other industries. TRIZ was evolving also by transferring strong principles, from one field to another.

His results are being applied to solve creative invention problems not just within all branches of engineering, but within many other technical and non-technical fields as well.


Speaking that all is not new under the moon. Predecessor and related method "And - And" by R. L. Bartini is older than 20 years. Both of a methods have grown from dialectic logic independently and at various times.

Altshuller began to develop TRIZ methodology while working in USSR patent office at the time of Stalin. He and his colleagues analyzed in detail over 200,000 patents in order to find out in what way the innovation had taken place. Incarcerated under political charges, he continued his work on TRIZ while in the Gulag labor camps. He eventually developed 40 Principles of Invention, several Laws of the Evolution of Technical Systems (Laws of technical systems evolution), the concepts of technical and physical contradictions that creative inventions resolve, the concept of Ideality of a system and numerous other theoretical and practical approaches; together, this extensive work represents a unique contribution to the development of creativity and inventive problem-solving.

While Samuilovich Altshuller was still alive, he repeatedly stated, "TRIZ, as a science, must belong to all." Saying that TRIZ should have no limitations to whom and where it can be used. Three years after the death of Altshuller, the MATRIZ Association (M.S. Rubin, director) filed the application for trademark registration on TRIZ. The application was filed secretly, without informing the heirs of TRIZ’s developer. No inquiry was made by MATRIZ as to their opinion, nor was the will of the developer addressed.

The tools developed under Altshuller's leadership are: 40 Principles 1946-1971, ARIZ 1959-1985, Separation Principles 1946-1985, Substance-Field Analysis (Su-Field Analysis) 1973-1981, Standard Solutions 1977-1985, Natural Effects (Scientific Effects) 1970-1980, Patterns of Evolution 1975-1980... The different schools for TRIZ and individual practitioners have continued to improve and add to the methodology.

Grounds & relation with other disciplines

Foundational knowledge which TRIZ is based on are dialectics and the scientific method. TRIZ was created as an abstraction of the "world's best solutions", as appearing in the development of inventions.

TRIZ is interdisciplinary and is closely related with ontology, logic, systems of science, psychology, history of technlogy, history of culture and more.

TRIZ in the world

TRIZ essentials

Basic TRIZ terms

Structure of TRIZ:

Physical), Resource, Natural Effect (syn. Scientific Effect, Inventive Problem, Maxi-Problem, Su-Field (Substance-Field), System, Technical System (TS), Operation Time, Work Tool (Work Unit, not Unit of Work), Main Manufacturing Process MMP, Worthy Goal, ... for more see BASIC TRIZ TERMS/version 1.0 (

Identifying a problem: contradictions

A problem, says Edward de Bono, is simply "the difference between what we have and what we want". Altshuller believed that problems stem from contradictions (one of the basic TRIZ concepts) or tradeoffs between two or more elements, such as "If we want more acceleration, we need a larger engine - but that will increase the cost of the car". That is, more of something desirable also brings more of something else undesirable, or less of something else also desirable. These are called Technical Contradictions by Altshuller. He also defined so-called Physical or inherent contradictions: we may need at the same time more and less of something. For instance, we may need higher temperature in order to melt a compound more rapidly, but less temperature in order to achieve a homogeneous mixture.

An inventive situation might involve several such contradictions. The inventor typically does not resolve a contradiction by stepping in the middle of the tradeoff -for that, no special inventivity is needed. Rather, he develops some creative approach for dissolving the contradiction: for instance, he would invent an engine that does produce more acceleration without increasing the cost of the engine.

Standard solutions

Inventive principles and the matrix of contradictions

Genrich S. Altshuller screened patents in order to find out what kind of contradictions were resolved or dissolved by the invention and the way this had been achieved. From this, he developed a set of 40 inventive principles and later a Matrix of Contradictions. Rows of the matrix indicate the 39 system features that one typically wants to improve, such as speed, weight, accuracy of measurement and so on. Columns refer to typical undesired results. Each matrix cell points to principles that have been most frequently used in patents in order to resolve the contradiction.

For instance, Dolgashev mentions the following contradiction: to increase accuracy of measurement of machined balls without incurring in expensive microscopes and control equipment. The matrix cell in row "accuracy of measurement" and column "complexity of control" points to several principles, among them the Copying Principle, which states "Use a simple and inexpensive / optical / copy (with a suitable scale) instead of an object which is complex, expensive, fragile or inconvenient to operate". From this general invention principle, the following idea might solve the problem: take a high-resolution image of the machined ball. A screen with a grid might provide the required measurement.

Laws of technical system evolution

main article:Laws of Technical Systems Evolution

Altshuller also studied the way technical systems have been developed and improved over time. From this, he discovered several trends ( so called Laws of Technical Systems Evolution) that help engineers to predict what are the most likely improvements that can be made to a given product. The most important of these laws involves the ideality of a system (another basic TRIZ concept).

Substance-field analysis

One more technique that is frequently used by inventors involves the analysis of substances, fields and other resources that are currently not being used and that can be found within the system or nearby. Note, that TRIZ uses non-standard definition for substances and fields. G.S. Altshuller developed methods to analyze resources; several of his invention principles involve the use of different substances and fields that help resolve contradictions and increase ideality of a technical system. For instance, videotext systems utilized television signals to transfer data, by taking advantage of the small time segments between TV frames in the signals.

ARIZ - algorithm of inventive problems solving

main article: Algorithm of Inventive Problems Solving

ARIZ (russ. acronym of Алгоритм решения изобретательских задач) - Algorithm of Inventive Problems Solving is list of (about 85) step-by-step procedures to solve very complicated invention problems, where other tools of TRIZ (Su-field analysis, 40 inventive principles, etc.) are not applicable.


Alternative approaches

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3 strategies for problem solving or creativity

There are several other approaches that purportedly help develop the inventive power of our minds. Most of them are quite heuristical.

  1. Trial-and-error
  2. Brainstorming
  3. Morphological box
  4. Method of focal objects
  5. Lateral thinking

Related topics


Evolution of technical systems:

Development of creative personality:


  • Altshuller, Genrich. 1994. The Art of Inventing (And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared). Translated by Lev Shulyak. Worcester, MA: Technical Innovation Center. ISBN 0-9640740-1-X
  • Savransky, Semyon D. Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ Methodology of Inventive Problem Solving. Boca Raton : CRC Press, 2000, 408 pages, ISBN 0849322553
  • Rantanen, Kalevi & Domb, Ellen. Simplified TRIZ : New Problem-Solving Applications For Engineers & Manufacturing Professionals. Boca Raton : St. Lucie Press, c2002

External links

Commercial TRIZ software

Two philosophically different software packages exist today to reduce the time needed to solve innovative problems successfully. One has been developed by Valery Tsourikov of The Invention Machine in Boston, Massachusetts, and the other by Zlotin and Zusman for Ideation International in Southfield, Michigan. Source (

fr:TRIZ it:TRIZ lt:TRIZ ru:ТРИЗ zh-cn:TRIZ


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