The Evolution of Innovation - TRIZ Trends and Bionics

Research Paper (undergraduate) 2007 32 Pages

Engineering - Industrial Engineering and Management



1. An Introduction to Evolution

2. The Theory of Inventive Problems Solving
2.1 Systematic Innovation
2.2 Forecast of Technological Evolution with TRIZ Trends
2.3 Examples for TRIZ Trends
2.3.1 Space Segmentation and Surface Segmentation
2.3.2 Action Coordination
2.3.3 Boundary Breakdown
2.3.4 Mono-Bi-Poly (Similar) (Various) (Increasing Differences)
2.4 Evolutionary Trend Radar Plots

3. Bionics
3.1 Evolution – The Biological Strategy to Innovation
3.2 Ten Principles of Biological Design
3.2.1 Integrated Construction and Optimisation of the Whole
3.2.2 Multifunctionality Instead Of Monofunctionality
3.2.3 Environmental Fine-Tuning
3.2.4 Saving Energy and Usage of Solar Energy
3.2.5 Limited Duration and Complete Recycling
3.2.6 Cross Linking Instead Of Linearity
3.2.7 Development by Try and Error Process

4. Conclusion

Table of Figures

1.1 General TRIZ Process

1.2 The Seven Pillars of SI

1.3 Development of Systems Shown as S-Curve

1.4 Each Stage of a Trend Represents a New S-Curve

1.5 Trend Space Segmentation

1.6 Trend Space Segmentation Shown with Bricks

1.7 Trend Surface Segmentation

1.8 Trend Action Coordination

1.9 Trend Boundary Breakdown

1.10 Trend Mono-Bi-Poly

2.1 Trend Mono-Bi-Poly (Various) with Printer / Scanner / Copier / Fax / Card Reader

2.2 Evolutionary Potential Radar Plot

2.3 Egg Shell of Blowfly

2.4 Space-Time-Interface Shown with 9 Windows

2.5 Different Types of Fungi

Table of Abbreviations

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1. An Introduction to Evolution

Under ever-changing conditions evolution, the gradual proceeding of development[1], is the key to survival. This is true for biological, living systems as well as for technical, economic systems.

Living systems reproduce. This reproduction is no accurate copying process, it is deficient. Errors, so called mutations, occur by chance. Mutations are evaluated by natural selection, only the fittest survive. Therefore significant and fit mutations result in new species.

This process was primarily described by Charles Darwin in his work ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’ in 1895 (see bibliography). Without knowing anything about genetics or DNA, Charles Darwin formulated a breakthrough concept which is still quite controversial. To describe the evolution of living creatures as an “... outcome of nothing but a cascade of algorithmic processes feeding on chance”[2] is still not easily accepted, especially from a religious point of view.

In economy the term of use is innovation, not species. New ideas and concepts which prove to be successful are called innovations. The evaluator here is the market. Due to the globalisation of markets innovations become a necessity for companies in order to survive.

The resources of nature are vast, the resources of economy are not. The evolution of innovation by mere chance is possible, but not efficient enough. If resources are limited, creativity needs systematic proceeding.

Suggestions how to innovate creatively and systematically are offered by the Theory of Inventive Problems Solving.

2. The Theory of Inventive Problems Solving

TIPS, the Theory of Inventive Problems Solving, better known under the Russian acronym TRIZ (Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch), was developed by Genrikh Altshuller, a Russian engineer and scientist.

Starting in 1946, an analysis of millions of patents showed certain patterns within the development of technical systems. Based on these results TRIZ states that technical evolution is not a random process, but is controlled by objective laws. These laws can be used consciously to reassess technical systems. Consequently TRIZ offers an algorithmic approach to invention.[3]

The basic idea of TRIZ is outlined in figure 1.0. There is a generic problem behind every specific problem and therefore a generic solution, which has to be translated into a specific solution. Put into simple words it means that “... someone somewhere has already solved your problem”[4].

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1.0 – General TRIZ Process[5]

Based on this philosophic approach TRIZ offers different tools and methods to recognise and particularise a specific problem, to translate it into a generic problem, shows generic solutions and provides tools to create specific solutions. Therefore TRIZ might be defined as a philosophy which includes the necessary creativity tools for inventive problems solving.

From the end of the 20th century on many different tools, methods and philosophies, being more or less based on or used in combination with TRIZ have evolved, e. g. ARIZ (Algorithm for Inventive Problems Solving), Six Sigma, Lean, QFD (Quality Function Deployment) and Systematic Innovation.[6]

The bachelor thesis in hand concentrates on Systematic Innovation, which uses TRIZ as a major method.

2.1 The Seven Pillars of Systematic Innovation

Systematic Innovation (subsequently abbreviated SI) is a philosophy which offers a capacious collection of tools. These tools might be used individually or as a complete, structured and systematic method.[7]

The basic approach is similar to TRIZ (see figure 1.0), stating that the perfect solution for a special situation already exists and can therefore be identified consciously.

Additionally SI looks not only at technical but also at business and management problems. These areas have become more and more separated in the last decades because of the need to specialise. SI states that there are perfect technical solutions to be found for business problems and vice versa. For an effective way to innovate it is advisable to merge both disciplines again.

The philosophy SI concentrates on seven main topics, also called the ‘Seven Pillars’.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1.1 – The Seven Pillars of SI[8]

Some of these pillars are especially interesting looking at biological strategies of problems solving and will therefore be referred to in chapter 3.2.

The first pillar, Ideality, stands for the Ideal Final Result (IFR) of a system. In most cases this means a system works all by itself, e. g. a self-cleaning window. Having defined the IFR for a system, it is feasible to work a way back to the actually achievable improvement step of a system.

The second pillar, Emergence, states that complex systems emerge from simple basic rules. This also expresses the underlying concept of biological evolution and TRIZ as both can be described as an algorithmic process (compare chapter 1 and 2).

Functionality concentrates on the functions of a system, on what the system actually accomplishes. There is one important method to do so, called ‘Function Analysis’. All components of a system, their attributes and their functions are outlined as a scheme. This enables an improvement and completion of functions as well as the identification and elimination of objectionable functions.

Contradictions are the main hindrances on the way to innovation. If one parameter of a system is improved, another parameter will get worse (e. g. more stability means more weight) which is an objectionable trade-off. SI states that every contradiction, provided that it is recognised and solved without any trade-offs, bears the highest innovation potential.

The next pillar, Resources, states that anything that is not being used to its maximum potential is a resource. All entities, functions and attributes of a system are resources, even superficially as objectionable regarded ones. The ‘Trends of Evolution’ (see chapter 2.2) offer suggestions how to use these resources expediently.

Space-Time-Interface helps to overcome psychological inertia and to ‘think outside the box’. It analyses the development of problems over time and includes inferior and superior problems. One method to do is called ‘[9] Windows’ (also known as the ‘Tree’), where for three systems (actual, sub- and super-system) the past, the present and the future are outlined as a scheme (see chapter 3.2.3).

Recursion states that many systems are repetitive, e. g. that complex systems increase respectively decrease from a certain scale of development.

The seven pillars of SI encourage to look at problems from many different angles and to shift perspectives. This is highly essential for creative, inventive problems solving.

2.2 Forecast of Technological Evolution with TRIZ Trends9

One tool of SI allows a forecast of technical evolutions, called ‘TRIZ Trends’ respectively ‘Trends of Evolution’. In accordance to the basic idea of TRIZ these trends offer general solutions, looking at the technical development of systems, or more precisely at the evolutionary resources of a system and of different system components. Therefore this tool is mainly based on the pillar ‘Resources’.


[1] Bibliographisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus AG (1997): Duden. Das Fremdwoerterbuch. Germany, Mannheim / Berchtesgaden. Page 242. Translation by Author.

[2] Dennett, Daniel C. (1995): Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Evolution and the Meanings of Life. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. Page 59.

[3] Compare Langevin, Richard: aitriz.org: Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies. Online: URL: http://www.aitriz.org [Status 2007-05-06]

[4] Compare Barry, Katie / Domb, Ellen / Slocum, Michael S.: TRIZ. What is TRIZ. Online: URL: http://www.triz-journal.com/archives/what_is_triz/ [Status 2007-05-02]

[5] Mann, Darrell L (2002): Hands on Systematic Innovation. Belgium. Page 18.

[6] Compare Mann, Darrell L (2007): Hands on Systematic Innovation for Business & Management. Second Edition. UK: Lazarus Press. Pages 511-524.

[7] Compare Mann, Darrell L (2007): Hands on Systematic Innovation for Business & Management. Second Edition. UK: Lazarus Press. Pages 4-11.

[8] Compare Mann, Darrell L (2004): Hands on Systematic Innovation for Business & Management. UK: Lazarus Press. Page 11.

[9] Compare Mann, Darrell L (2002): Hands on Systematic Innovation. Belgium. Pages 273-334.


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Campus02 University of Applied Sciences Graz – Studiengang Innovationsmanagement
Evolution Innovation TRIZ Trends Bionics




Title: The Evolution of Innovation - TRIZ Trends and Bionics