Genrich Altshuller – Father of TRIZ

Genrich Altshuller (1926-1998) was a Soviet inventor and science-fiction author. He developed TRIZ, a Russian acronym meaning teoriya resheniya izobretatelskikh zadach, literally translated to “theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks”. TRIZ is often referred to in the English-speaking world as the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.

TRIZ offers a systematic approach for understanding and defining challenging problems and arriving at an innovative solution. Practitioners of TRIZ may use one or many of the tools to arrive at a problem solution.

Primary findings

Altshuller’s research into patents found that

  • problems and solutions are repeated across industries and sciences
  • patterns of technical evolution are also repeated across industries and sciences
  • the innovations used scientific effects outside the field in which they were developed

40 Principles

All of the original ideas found in the patents studied in the development of TRIZ could be explained by the 40 Inventive Principles of Problem Solving. These Principles are viewed by many as the most accessible TRIZ tool.

Laws of Technical System Evolution

In his study of technical innovations, Alshuller found that there were patterns in the development of technical systems. He called them the Laws of Technical System Evolution. While not laws per se, much like “Moore’s Law” these observations can be used to help anticipate and act upon the likely changes to come.

The Ideal Final Result and Ideality

In the Ideal Final Result, the good effects are achieved without harm or cost. This is the theoretical limit of innovation, the perfect product or service.