The majority of Principles seem to have a vector, e.g. Segmentation says break it into segments while Merging says put bits together. Some Principles don’t have an opposite among other Principles. This includes Cheap Short-Living Objects which suggests changing something reusable into something disposable, not the other way round.
TRIZ Journal wrestled with this phenomenon in their article on the subject. Their conclusion is that the bias in the Principles comes from the requirement that inventiveness be evident in patents (the original source material for the Principles) and that (my example) making something reusable might not meet the test as easily as making something disposable.
Valid in the modern world?
Many jurisdictions are attempting to stem the tide of disposable goods (coffee cups, food packaging, shopping bags) as the environmental impact is increasingly obvious and detrimental. This VOX video summarizes the cost of disposable fast food packaging and some efforts to reduce it.
Many fortunes have been made producing disposable goods, but this may not be a Principle to turn to by default.
If it’s good enough for Elon…
Elon Musks’s company SpaceX is changing the economics of space travel by making its rockets not disposable and instead recovering first and even second stages of their rockets. Is there something we can invent that will similarly improve both the economics of our product and reduce its environmental impact?
Cups runneth over
Piloted in London, England, Cup Club describes itself as the world’s first reusable coffee cup system.
Club members can get their coffee in reusable plastic cups which can be dropped off at participating coffee shops instead of being discarded.
We can reverse
If this Principle asks, “What if we made so cheap we could throw it away,” can it also ask, “Would it be less expensive overall to make it reusable”? My answer? Emphatic yes.
In fact I think there is facility in looking at each Principle as a spectrum rather than a vector, pointing only in one direction. The objective is coming up with an inventive solution, not slavish devotion to strict definitions.