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What is Service TRIZ?

TRIZ is an acronym from the Russian phrase teorija rezhenija izobretatelskih zadach, which means the “theory of inventive problem solving” and was originally developed by Genrich Altshuller in the USSR around 1946. Altshuller worked in the Marine Patent office and after analysing the main principles behind the inventions that he was dealing with, derived his set of forty key principles which he believed could be applied across a wide range of fields of science and engineering.

The TRIZ method identifies inherent contradictions at the heart of a given problem and then provides a number of principles that can be applied to resolve the contradictions. It has its roots in resolving physical or mechanical problems. We have revisited these principles and considered how they might be applied to a business context. Unlike the original TRIZ they have not been based on the analysis of a considerable number of inventions and for this reason there may be other principles that could apply to service design and business development, which we have not included.

At one level the 40 principles developed are rather like a checklist, which can be gone through when faced with a particular problem. For example you may have a problem of lifting a very heavy weight up the level to of a platform without the benefit of a crane. By applying TRIZ you may come up with various methods for solving this problem, such as:-
   >The use of an air bag (principle 29 - pneumatics and hydraulics)
   >The use of a temporary material, such as blocks of ice and levers, which allow you to lift the weight a degree at a time while supporting the weight with the ice (principle 34 - discarding and recovering)

The TRIZ approach also depends on trying to make use of easily available resources - in the heavy weight example above, blocks of ice are available which once used could easily be discarded.

The idea of repurposing the TRIZ principles to other fields has been investigated in recent years, for example TRIZ has been applied to Finance and to Financial Trading Further information about the original TRIZ concept can be found at The Triz Journal website

We have developed a set of 40 Service TRIZ cards to extend the way in which the original forty principles can be applied to problems which arise as part of a business or service.

The cards can be used to resolve inherent contradictions within systems, increase the ideality of a system or make better use of available resources.

We use the images on the front of the cards to evoke new ideas based on associations or use the principles and examples on the back of the cards to help find new solutions. In addition the cards can be used in combination to extend the number of possibilities.

Genrich Altshuller based the original TRIZ principles on a prolonged study of thousands of patents. In order to validate the use of TRIZ in a business context we need as many people as possible to view the cards and comment and provide their own examples from the business sector. So please consider the examples we have provided and let us have your feedback.