инновационный консалтинг и внедрение ТРИЗ в бизнесе
Управляю инновациями - решаю задачи, создавая и улучшая инженерные и организационно-управленческие системы.
Вы можете подумать, что это магия. А можете познакомиться с Теорией решения изобретательских задач (ТРИЗ) и начать делать то же самое, что и я, изменяя свое рабочее место, подразделение, Компанию или создавая Стартап мечты.
А еще, вы можете узнать ТРИЗ глубже и стать частью моей Команды по совершенствованию Мира.
высшее, квалификация с отличием – информатик-экономист, специальность «Прикладная информатика (в экономике)» (Факультет Компьютерных Технологий, в объеме 7812 ч.).
дополнительное (к высшему), квалификация с отличием – преподаватель высшей школы (включая педагогику и психологию, в объеме 1080 ч.).
Профессиональная деятельность в ТРИЗ:
2019–по н.вр. 1) Кураторство и содействие внедрению ТРИЗ в непромышленных Бизнесах (логистика, недвижимость, страхование, лизинг, финансы, хорека, реклама). 2) Индивидуальная подготовка руководителей Бизнесов. 3) Ревизия и улучшение стратегий бизнесов с ТРИЗ. 4) Групповая подготовка ИТР промышленных предприятий. 5) Подготовка педагогов-наставников в рамках Национальной online школы «Technostartup». 6) Консультационная поддержка деятельности команд, сформированных под Проект по решению прикладных задач бизнеса с использованием инструментов ТРИЗ:
19 проектных тем в группах обучения
2018–2019 1) Реализация углубленного курса подготовки внутренних тренеров-решателей (400 ауд. ч.). 2) Реализация курса подготовки ТРИЗ-100 для ИТР (200 ауд. ч.). 3) Проведение проектных сессий по решению задач бизнеса в качестве методиста:
39 проектных тем в группах обучения, за 2018 год
70 проектных тем в группах обучения, за 2019 год
2017–2018Проведение проектных сессий по решению задач бизнеса и Экспертиза проектов (в т.ч. на предприятиях Корпораций «Роскосмос», «Ростех», а также – на предприятиях среднего бизнеса):
17 проектных тем в группах обучения
2016–2017 1) Экспертное судейство на Международных русско-корейских воркшопах «Global Capstone Design Workshop» для бакалавров, магистров и аспирантов (2016, 2017). 2) Экспертиза Проектов (нефтеперерабатывающая сфера):
8 проектных тем
2015–2016 1) Реализация курсов повышения квалификации в бюджетных учреждениях. 2) Подготовка ИТР промышленных предприятий (электрометаллургическая, нефтеперерабатывающая и самолетостроительная сферы) в рамках Президентской программы повышения квалификации инженерных кадров «Новые подходы к решению производственных задач»:
20 проектных тем в группах обучения
2008-2012 Разработка прогнозов развития городских и сельских поселений:
2009–2017 1) Обучение ТРИЗ в рамках спецкурсов бакалавриата и магистратуры («Теория развития искусственных систем», «Теория систем и системный анализ», «Развитие творческого воображения») в системе ВПО. 2) Выполнение подрядных работ на внутренний рынок:
Повышение доходности логистической компании в сегменте B2B
Разработка стратегии по сдаче неликвидных площадей в аренду
Разработка нового цифрового продукта в сегменте С2С
Формирование конкурентных преимуществ в сегменте В2С
Повышение спроса на услуги компании в крупных городах по магистральным маршрутам
показать полный список
Повышение доходности логистической компании в сегменте B2B
Разработка стратегии по сдаче неликвидных площадей в аренду
Разработка нового цифрового продукта в сегменте С2С
Формирование конкурентных преимуществ в сегменте В2С
Повышение спроса на услуги компании в крупных городах по магистральным маршрутам
Переход на солидарное управление взаимоотношениями с клиентами (без агентов)
Повышение активности агентской сети в регионах
Повышение точности планирования инвестиционной деятельности филиала
Поиск путей обеспечения 100%-выполнения инвестиционного плана
Оптимизация структуры собственного автопарка
Оптимизация системы управления складскими запасами
Оптимизация методики анализа и ремонта закладных трубопроводов
Оптимизация решений по использованию охранной сигнализации подстанций
Исключение слеживаемости кальцинированной соды в силосе готовой продукции
Повышение устойчивости подъездных автомобильных дорог в теплый период
Оптимизация схемы оборотного водоснабжения
Предотвращение сброса нефтепродуктов в воду
Предотвращение несанкционированного доступа в сеть
Разработка способа защиты технического манометра
Снижение аварийных отключений сети
Снижение времени разборки ротора при реконструкции гидроагрегата
Снижение дебиторской задолженности управляющих компаний
Снижение затрат времени на техническое обслуживание трансформаторных подстанций
Снижение затрат при проведение ремонта на сетях ХВС
Снижение количества аварийных сходов с линии самосвалов из-за топливных систем
Снижение количества брака при ремонте паропровода
Снижение себестоимости производства за счет обеспечения вертикальности монолитных конструкций
Снижение случаев повреждений уплотнений затворов холостых водосбросов
Сокращение времени схождения показаний датчиков уровня в барабане котлоагрегата
Увеличение времени безотказной работы электроконтактного манометра
Увеличение время наработки рабочих колес
Увеличение пропускной способности плужкового сбрасывателя
Увеличение срока службы основания для разливки жидкого кремния
Уменьшение брака при производстве вибропрессованной продукции
Уменьшение затрат времени на ожидание допуска по наряду-допуску в цехе
Мое знакомство с ТРИЗ началось в 2017 году, когда эта тема стала одной из ведущих в компании в области обучения сотрудников. Тогда это представлялось только общим знанием и отсутствие понимания, как это можно применять не в производстве.
В начале этого года я прошла обучение по ТРИЗ и его инструментам у прекрасного тренера Елены Редколис. Поскольку само обучение было направлено на офисный персонал, то его инструменты и методики были откорректированы с уклоном на офисный персонал. Для меня было открытием, что инструменты ТРИЗ можно применять еще и в офисных проектах, и что самое важное очень успешно. Для реализации проекта с помощью методик ТРИЗ я выбрала направление Кадровый резерв. Нужно было оценить, как работает система сейчас, «вытащить» имеющиеся проблемы и продумать к ним решения.
В этом направлении со мной работала Лена. Никогда не думала, что из меня с помощью разных инструментов можно «вытянуть» столько информации и еще систематически ее уложить в моей голове! Но Лена не просто помогла мне, она дала мне возможность стать на ступеньку выше в рамках своей квалификации, более того, я не просто смогла систематизировать всю информацию и определить проблемы, я смогла подготовить практически стратегию развития кадрового резерва в Компании с формированием проблем и решением по каждой проблеме.
Теперь я могу с уверенностью сказать, что ТРИЗ, его инструменты и методики работают абсолютно в любых областях деятельности, но самое важное, это то, кто тебе преподает эту информацию. Мне действительно повезло! У меня был лучший преподаватель! Елена, огромное Вам спасибо! Без Вас моим «внутренним» изменениям не суждено было бы случиться!
Усова Александра Сергеевна, Начальник Отдела Оценки и Развития Персонала, Руководитель программы "Кадровый резерв", РУСАЛ
Formulation of Problems and Selection of TRIZ Tools at Different Management Levels
The companies that have put their stake on development and have chosen the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) as the means to achieve strategic goals for the launch of innovative products (services) and setting up of a creative ecosystem at enterprises usually find it difficult to get their bearings on a number of issues at the initial stage:
Why should the personnel at different management levels use TRIZ?
Exactly what kind of TRIZ tools should the employees be trained to use and what extent of training is required, considering the differences in personnel competencies?
Personnel of what level should formulate problems to be further analysed and solved by efforts of the project teams, and what information should be used as the basis for formulating problems?
What can lead to errors when formulating problems, and will this have any impact on the subsequent solving thereof?
Labor-intensive mastering of a new practice in a company can only be effective when the difference in the planning horizon and objectives of the employees at different management levels is taken into consideration and when these employees are first of all trained to use only the TRIZ tools which are most in-demand within their area of activities. Non-fulfilment of the said conditions will result in a failure to achieve the expected economic effect from implementation of TRIZ projects, as well as in personnel’s ingrained cognitive dissonance in respect of yet another methodology applied for improving their performance.
The paper discusses how to avoid unnecessary costs both at the initial stage of introducing TRIZ to personnel and at the stages of preparation and direct work on the project.
1 Competencies of Personnel at Different Management Levels
Goal setting is carried out differently at different management levels.
The top institutional level implies formulation of the company’s mission and setting of the strategic objectives of the company’s activities; these serve as the basis for the following: long-term planning, making decisions which affect all the divisions, designing response to the changes anticipated in the foreseeable future. Besides that, solutions are devised for regular interaction with the external environment (competitors, government, non-governmental organizations, etc.), including the supersystem (larger groups and aliances in whose activities the company is involved).
Management at this level is provided by top managers (company presidents and vice-presidents, directors of divisions, enterprises, and branches, discipline heads).
After that, decisions are made at the managerial level where process productivity is ensured through management of company division operations, in order to accomplish the strategic objectives formulated at the institutional level. Management at this level is provided by middle managers (heads of autonomous divisions and departments, disciplines, and project teams).
The most local decisions which do not affect the activities of the entire company are made at the technical (operational) management level where jobs standardized at the enterprise level are regularly performed with the use of certain equipment. Decisions at this level are made by low (first-line) managers (shop foreman, site supervisor, project manager, manager), and their activities are referred to as operational management.
Note that employees at different management levels tend to define the problems using different “value systems”. Not every problem identified should be solved by the means of TRIZ tools. Modern TRIZ provides for dividing problems into non-inventive and inventive ones in the course of the project; the said problems are identified using TRIZ analytical tools procedures.
The problems of the first type can be subtle and can take some time to identify (due to superficial analysis or initially misleading formulation); however, it is almost always that once identified, such problems are rather easy to solve. The problems of the second type are rooted in a conflict (contradiction) which in the first approximation seems absolutely impossible to resolve, using the strategies which would be advantageous for all the parties. Such problems have five levels of complexity, with consideration, among other things, to the extent and reversibility of the changes made in the initial business process or product.
A sensible top manager will address the image of the company (the mission and strategy of its development) and the image of the product (or service) which the consumer needs, as well as determine the requirements and restrictions by identifying problems at the level of interaction with the supersystem and the external environment.
Once a middle manager receives the input data from the top manager, they will, in the first approximation, identify problem areas at the interface of (or within) business processes and determine the company divisions that are responsible and participate in optimization or reengineering of the problem areas.
The operational manager of the division who is in charge of the area of concern will localize the problem and organize the problem solving work, based on the business process audit findings. The problem can be associated with a subprocess, certain individual operations, or the pieces of equipment used for carrying out operations.
Thus, two conclusions can be made. First, some problems can be solved without using TRIZ tools. The attention of the personnel trained in application of TRIZ shall be focused on the inventive problems only. Second, problems arise at every level of managerial decision making and reflect various aspects of business operations (interaction with external environment, business process functioning, utilization of labor and material resources in the local problem areas).
The difficulties that emerge during selection and formulation of problems will be described in section 3. Now, as part of the discussion about goal-setting and difference in competencies, we will turn our attention to the recommendations regarding the contents, scope, and format of TRIZ application skill transfer for personnel at different levels.
2 TRIZ Training for Personnel at Different Levels
Let us take a look at the set of TRIZ tools recommended to be mastered by employees at each of the management levels in a company (Tables 1, 2). The headers of Tables 1, 2 specify the basic tools of modern TRIZ (the numbering is the same), including the following:
KCVA means key customer value analysis (modified version of the MPV method, Main Parameters of Value);
TC means technical contradiction;
CEA means cause-and-effect analysis;
FCA means function-and-cost analysis;
FA means function analysis;
FlA means flow analysis;
ALTSE means analysis based on the laws of technical system evolution;
Limits mean system evolution limit analysis;
BM means benchmarking;
DA means diversion analysis;
SO means system operator;
Vepols (Su-Fields) means vepol (substance-field) analysis;
IS means Ideal System;
IFR means ideal final result;
FIM means functional ideal modeling;
PC means physical contradiction;
FOS means function-oriented search;
TP means transfer of properties;
40P means 40 principles for eliminating technical contradictions;
4P means 4 principles for resolving physical contradictions;
Standards mean standards for solving inventive problems.
Table 1 — Demand for the Tools at Different Management Levels
Problem ANALYSIS Tools
Operations, individual resources (objects)
Table 2 — Demand for the Tools at Different Management Levels (continued)
Solution SYNTHESIS Tools
Mission, product, supersystem
Operations, individual resources (objects)
The symbol “II” in Tables 1, 2 stands for the TRIZ tools which are mandatory and first to be mastered. The symbol “I” stands for the tools for which mastering is optional; such tools can be used at different hierarchical levels of detail of the structure, functioning, and goal-setting of the company.
As we can see, the most useful TRIZ tools for top managers are those that allow for conveying their values, as well as expectations and requirements of the supersystem (partners, consumers, government) in respect of the company and its products. These tools are 1) KCVA, 4) FCA, 11) SO. The following tools can be used at the level of problem formulation for employees of other levels: 2) TC, 13) IS, 18) TP.
Middle managers should have the skills to apply a wider range of TRIZ tools. Such employees are in the middle of the management hierarchy and they should adequately convey the values of the management team to the first-line management staff as well as have the possibility to “look” at the entire business process system of the company, identify the main bottlenecks in it, and formulate specific instructions for elimination thereof in a language understandable for low managers. The only set of tools which is not first-priority for them are the tools breaking the system down into individual objects in local zones. These tools are as follows: 5) FA, 16) PC, 19) 40P, 20) 4P, 21) Standards. The tools 9) BM, 14) IFR, 15) FIM can be used at the levels of technologies and comprehensive technical solutions. The tools 10) DA, 11) SO, 12) Vepol (substance-field) analysis, 13) IS can be used for problem reformulation for the employees one level below.
Finally, employees at the technical (operational) management level usually work with the tools which can simulate behavior of the system in relation to individual objects in local zones. First of all, these are 3) CEA, 5) FA, 14) IFR, 16) PC, 19) 40P, 21) Standards, partially: 6) FlA, 10) DA.
Thus, the scope of TRIZ training can differ for employees at different levels, and the ratio of the overview-and-lecture component to the practical component can vary.
Top managers usually prefer individual overview-type formats for the first iteration and short-term (e.g. three-day-long) formats focused on practical application of the tools — for the second iteration.
In case of middle managers, long-term formats (up to 200 hours long off-the-job training) can be used if the company intends to integrate TRIZ procedures into regular business processes, and the middle manager requires an additional skill set to evaluate and prioritize innovative projects as well as to manage works and monitor the progress thereof.
Low managers often receive high-intensity five-day-long off-the-job training aimed at solving one new problem or one known stagnant problem. Employees at this level can also familiarize themselves with TRIZ through the execution of projects in the format of three-day-long off-the-job modules delivered over the course of several months. The essence of such training consists in the immediate practical application of the newly learned tools to a real-world production problem set by the management team. The employees who have received such training can later become the company’s succession candidates able to solve non-typical problems. These and other training formats are discussed in article .
3 Problem Formulation at Different Levels
3.1 Subject Matter Filtration
Usually, middle managers are the ones to face the necessity to prioritize the problems placed to the “to be solved” stack; these are the employees who are aware of the company’s business strategy, as well as of the values of top management and clients.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine how many inventive problems will be concealed in it and how complex they will be before the work on a solution to the problem starts. Therefore, the “need for invention” cannot serve as the initial filter at the problem selection stage.
There are also known cases when top managers require that their subordinate employees subjectively prioritize revealed problems on the following criteria:
presence of the image component in the project;
expected economic effect from implementation;
presence of the labor safety component;
presence of the environmental component;
scalability of the problem (how local is the zone (work shop, plant, enterprise, etc.) affected by the problem);
replicability of the solution (how standardized the solution is or how insensitive it is to non-standard requirements of other shops, plants);
importance of the solution (for the country, world), etc.
Regardless of the subjectivity of the criteria listed, the evaluation based thereon is compounded by the relation of the criteria formulations to the result (i.e., to the solution which does not actually exist yet) as well as to the initial problem.
Moreover, it should be remembered that the more complex the initial subject-matter filter, the fewer problems will ultimately be addressed in the form of a project. With such an outcome, it is highly likely that the initial “funnel” of the problems will be narrowed down to such a degree that even “understandable” non-inventive problems may remain unaddressed due to their non-obviousness (non-surface nature).
And yet, middle managers are not exempt from the task of prioritizing the problems identified. This is, as a minimum, due to the fact that companies may have several sources for replenishment and update of the problem stack, for example: interviews and questionnaires for employees, direct “random” access by employees, applications to the information systems designed for idea and suggestion management (similar to the 4I System developed by TEKORA). Problems brought up by any divisions of the enterprise and which are relevant at different management levels (for individual workplaces, structural units, and the enterprise as a whole) can be accepted for consideration. Therefore, the task of filtering the problems that require solving continues to be relevant.
The experience of implementating lean manufacturing systems in Russian corporations shows that prioritization can be based on the criteria specified in Table 3. The attempts to use this set of criteria for TRIZ projects demonstrate its inadequacy as well as the already mentioned problems of its subjectivity and non-applicability to the solutions which are yet to be obtained.
Table 3 — Approach to the Evaluation of Manufacturing System Projects
4 — economic effect of over 30 million rubles
3 — economic effect between 10 million rubles and 30 million rubles
2 — economic effect between 1 million rubles and 10 million rubles
1 — economic effect of up to 1 million rubles
4 — patent obtained
3 — application for a patent has been filed
2 — the solution has not been used anywhere before
1 — the solution is used everywhere
Scalability of the problem
3 — solving an industry problem
2 — solving a Company problem
1 — solving a plant / enterprise problem
Costs for implementation of the solutions
3 — up to 0.5 million rubles
2 — up to 1 million rubles
1 — over 1 million rubles
The author’s experience of working in the internal organizational structures of the Russian corporations implementing TRIZ shows that several general procedures are sufficient for initial filtration of problems. These are:
subject-matter classification of the initially identified problems;
assessment of the estimated labor intensity of TRIZ tools application with respect to the problems formulated.
Let us discuss each procedure separately.
The first one consists in drawing up Questionnaires on the problems (subsequently, project cards, Table 4), which, in addition to the description of the general concepts, provides for determining the types of problems (paragraph 6 of Table 4). The basic types of problems can be as follows:
reduction of commercial costs,
reduction of the material intensity of production,
reduction of the energy intensity of production,
reduction of process time,
reduction of the process labor intensity,
optimization of personnel workload,
improving the quality of the products manufactured,
improving the quality of implementation of the process operations,
increasing repair interval,
improving equipment reliability,
improving the efficiency of work,
improvement of serviceability and maintainability of equipment.
Such types are distinguished based on the concept of technical system evolution towards the increase in the degree of perfection. This concept is adopted in TRIZ. Some of the problem types reflect the intention to quantitatively improve functionality of the product (service) or enhance the quality of their function. The others are related to the reduction of costs and improvement of the cost-effectiveness of company’s business processes.
In addition to the above, other types can be distinguished, of course, which can be related to the improvement of instruments, devices, equipment, processes, or products manufactured (based on the author’s observations, items 1–14 are just the most common ones).
Table 4 — Example of a Filled-Out Problem Questionnaire
1. Technical system under consideration (process, device for product manufacture, service)
2. What is the main useful feature (mission) of this system? What is its purpose?
A device designed for aeration of the pulp in the chambers of mechanical flotation machines used at sites where fluorides are produced for manufacture of flotation cryolite.
3. What is the processing object (product) of your system?
Pulp is a mixture of water and cryolite (Na3AlF6 with admixture of С, F, etc.) with the liquid-to-solid ratio (L/S) of 6:1.
4. What are the main components of your system? (subprocesses, operations, actions; subsystems, machines, parts; workstations, etc.)
Electric motor; belt transmission between the electric motor and the pulley; pulley; impeller assembly housing; shaft; stator; rotor; system for controlling the negative pressure created; air tube.
5. What undesirable effect (problem) arises during the system operation?
It is not possible to control the negative pressure in order to ensure the required technological parameters of the flotation process (negative pressure value of 30–70 Pa).
6. Problem Type
10. Improving the quality of process operations implementation
7. What causes this undesirable effect in your opinion?
Deposition of cryolite from the pulp in the negative pressure control system.
8. Have any attempts been previously made to eliminate the undesirable effect specified? What methods were used?
In cases of impeller assembly failure (negative pressure of less than 30 Pa): dismantling from the flotation machine, with subsequent maintenance and repair.
9. What was the disadvantage of the method used for elimination of the undesirable effect? Why did elimination of the problem fail?
The repair interval for the impeller assembly is 4–6 months; deposits in the control system build up a month after that; as a result, the impeller assembly is operated for 3–5 months without negative pressure control.
10. What constraints should be taken into account when searching for a solution?
The operating principle of the flotation machine cannot be changed.
Tampering with the impeller assembly design is prohibited.
Financial constraint: a low-cost solution is required.
11. What are the parties interested in the elimination of the problem? Which employees will the problem the elimination be of benefit to?
Shop supervisor, process specialist, operator, maintenance personnel.
12. What effect will the Company achieve if the problem is successfully eliminated? Where possible, give a rough estimate of such effect in physical and monetary terms.
Ensuring stability of flotation cryolite manufacture. Increasing the content of С in flotation tailings. Reducing production waste.
The experience of filling out questionnaires (Table 4) shows that the information contained therein is quite sufficient for moving to the next step of sorting the received problems based on the assessment of the estimated labor intensity of TRIZ tools application.
Such assessment is conducted when determining the following:
The main project executor (whether these will be staff members of the TRIZ Directorate or Office within the company, external experts on TRIZ, or, if the problem is conceptually quite “simple”, the personnel engaged may be limited to the first-line operational personnel of the company who have received the relevant training and who are then temporarily released from their principal duties);
Project team composition (the more large-scale and replicable the problem, the higher team diversity is required in terms of the skills of the problem solvers and experts; it is also better if employees of all three management levels are involved in the project);
The content and duration of the main project procedures (projects aimed at the development of new products as well as at satisfaction of the new customer values, in order to maintain the company’s position in the existing market segments and capture new ones, can require deeper elaboration with the use of TRIZ tools (SO, ALTSE, system evolution limit analysis); at the same time, modeling of the problems related to the improvement of business process efficiency and formulated for local operations or individual objects often ends with formulation and resolution of TC and PC).
The task of problem classification by type and assessment of the estimated labor intensity of solving these problems deals with their “inner”, essential content. However, problem formulation procedure does not end here. Let us take a look at the “exterior”.
3.2 Problem Formulation
Formulations can vary, depending on the management level of the requestor (problem originator). In most cases, formulation is performed at top and middle levels. The author’s experience shows that proactive problem identification takes place much less frequently at the low management level. This is due to the vagueness of general goal-setting, short planning horizon, and in many cases, unfortunately, weak motivation of employees (the longer and more complex the path from initiation of the project to implementation of the corresponding solution, the less motivation the employees have to be inventive).
However, personnel at the head-of-department or shop-supervisor levels are, of course, quite capable of identifying problems, so that the latter can be subsequently eliminated by the first-line employee teams in the form of projects. The formulations of these problems can, for example, be as follows:
“Reduction of losses during ash issue”;
“Development of a technique for industrial pressure gage protection”;
“Improving the performance of the mechanical repair shop”;
“Optimization of the solutions for the intruder alarm use at substations”;
“Eliminating the problem of switching over of the hydraulic generator to the synchronous condenser mode”;
“Reduction of the time required to dismantle cables for cable structure unloading”;
“Elimination of delays in sending overdue payment notifications for utility services”.
As a rule, no difficulties arise when the management level and the planning horizon of the problem originator coincide with the level and horizon of the majority of the project team members. In this case, all the participants “speak the same language”. However, in actual practice, the sponsors, owners, supervisors, and executors of the projectusually “speak different languages”. This is especially the case when the project team is made up of many people, and the project itself affects several divisions or even enterprises of a business.
The examples of formulating the same problem in the “languages” of managers of different management levels are given below.
Top manager’s view: “Reduction of commercial costs for finished product shipment”;
Middle manager’s view: “Optimization of the finished product storage process”;
Low manager’s view: “Reduction of the material intensity of finished product packaging”.
Top manager’s view: “Payment of receivables for the residential properties”;
Middle manager’s view: “Development of activities aimed at encouragement of advance payment for utilities”;
Low manager’s view: “Elimination of delays in sending overdue payment notifications for housing and public utility services”.
The common shortcomings caused by the difference in the “languages” of the Project participants are specified below. The possibility of occurrence of each of these shortcomings should be considered, so that preventive action can be taken.
Distortion of formulations due to: lack of understanding (poor understanding) of the technical terms, jargon; attachment of different meanings to the same terms; absence of any general agreement on the common perception of the problem as well as on the description thereof with the use of terminology shared by all the members of the team (for example, the differences in calculation of personal work productivity for top and low managers);
The problem originator formulates the problem at the level with specifics they do not know (for example, a top manager setting specific tasks related to equipment selection and economic management methods for first-line managers);
The project executors immediately proceed to elimination of the problem which has been formulated “at the wrong level”, without making sure that they have the competencies and authority required to perform problem analysis as well as solution modeling and synthesis, and, most importantly, to subsequently verify and implement the solution (for example, an attempt to influence the quality of the assembled product, having no authority to establish the sequence of operations or tolerances at any of the assembly stages as well as being unable to introduce corrective operations into the assembly process);
Changing the problem formulation without performing any analysis of the initial situation increases the risk of losing some of the meanings. As the result of such loss, some of the alternative or parallel outcomes of the problem may never be identified during the search for a solution (for example, when solution of the common problem of increasing the company’s profits is reduced to internal business process optimization, the solutions related to change of the product or target market are excluded from consideration);
However, a deliberate forced change of the initial problem formulation is allowed (it can work in both directions: the formulation may be both narrowed down and broadened). Forced narrowing of the formulation should be used, for example, when as of the time of the project initiation it is already clear that there is no possibility of assembling a large team of highly specialized and diverse executors, while the project management team imposes severe restrictions on interference in the activities of the divisions involved in the same process and allocates no additional resources for either search or implementation of the solution. As the result, the problem has to be solved “without outside help”, by a small circle of employees.
Broadening of the initially formulated problem is allowed in the following cases: 1) when it is not certain that the problem originator is adequately qualified and there are concerns that some of the approaches to solving the problem may be missed; 2) when there are much more resources available in the supersystem than within the company itself; 3) when there is an understanding that the technical system has almost reached the limits of its evolution within the current operating principle.
Note that the above shortcomings of problem formulations should be eliminated not only by means of negotiations, but also with the mandatory use of TRIZ tools (for example, KCVA, TC, CEA, system evolution limit analysis). For the reasons specified earlier, in paragraph 2, middle management can play an active role in the adjustment of formulations.
Before starting to solve any problem revealed in the company, it shall be determined to which class it belongs based on its subject-matter as well as to assess the estimated labor intensity of applying TRIZ tools in case the relevant project is initiated.
Once the problem is reasonably put on the queue of those to be promptly solved, it shall be made sure that all members of the project team understand the problem formulation in the same way, and that the formulation itself is neither too narrow nor too broad, and it correctly reflects the problem originator’s vision of the situation.
The TRIZ tools to be mastered should be selected on a case-by-case basis, depending on the levels of the personnel included in the project team, since the number of the tools selected will determine, among other things, the format of mastering and subsequent application thereof.
Redkolis. Experience of Large Holding Companies: Internal TRIZ Trainers Education. – The 15th International Conference “TRIZfest-2019”. – September 11–14, 2019. – Heilbronn, Germany. – pp. 150–159. – https://redkolis.com/?article=6#articles.
Redkolis. Experience of Training In-House TRIZ Trainers for Large Industrial Holdings. – Proceedings of TRIZ Developers Summit. – June, 21–15, 2019. – Minsk, Belarus. – https://redkolis.com/?article=5#articles.
Redkolis. Practice of Teaching the Personnel of Major Russian Companies to Solve Innovation Problems Using TRIZ. – Proceedings of Application and Development Issues of Methodological Tools. – November 06–08, 2019. – Moscow, Russia.
Elena Valerievna Redkolis, redkolis.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.