Ceres Power: From Despair to Delight with TRIZ

Karen Gadd tells us about one of her favourite TRIZ Problem Solving workshop experiences 


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Karen Gadd describes one of the (many) times TRIZ revealed a solution when all else failed.

I have been TRIZ problem solving for over 20 years and in that time I have never seen it fail. When looking for examples it is tempting to pounce on the amazing, elusive solutions which expert teams revealed with TRIZ when all else had failed them. I have seen many like that and those that I am allowed to talk about can look so obvious in retrospect that it is hard to explain how valuable TRIZ was in breaking deadlocks and bottlenecks. One of these examples that instantly springs to mind is Ceres Power Ltd.

Ceres Power Ltd. from Despair to Delight with TRIZ 

Ceres Power Ltd. develop Fuel Cells with perforated sheets of steel with a special
ceramic layer to transform fuel into electrical energy and heat. An Imperial College rollout,
Ceres developed the SteelCell ® an invention of lithium battery and fuel cell pioneer,
Professor Brian Steele. Ceres Power has been perfecting this unique technology for many
years and has recently received the endorsement of several world-leading engineering
companies whose aim it is to embed the SteelCell ®  in the next generation of their products.

Some years ago the teams at Ceres were stuck and reluctantly tried Oxford TRIZ after hitting
a mental brick wall and having tried everything else they knew. It was so urgent that work
started over the Easter Bank Holiday, which paid off because in a few days they found the
solutions they needed. As part of the Oxford TRIZ team I enjoyed the journey from facing the
gloom, cynicism and reluctance of the first morning to the surprise, relief and enthusiasm at
the end of the session. I was also pleased to see that shortly afterwards their share price

Ceres Power was in need of a tool to get a newly formed and diverse team to come together in rapid time to lay out and define a way forward on a multi-functional, complex interacting (mechanical, electrical, chemical, thermal) design issue. I had followed TRIZ but had yet to experience it.

We used Karen and her team to chair and steer a working TRIZ session over several days to ensure impartial, expert tool management. The result was a clearing of the mists for some, but most importantly a clear action plan on design options going forwards with all team support. Time well spent. We are still using the output in our roadmap, and still use TRIZ principles.

If you have logical, rational people in your teams then TRIZ works! And for the illogical people, well at least they will agree that TRIZ makes a lot of sense.

Bruce Girvan, Director 


Watch Karen Gadd and Peter Childs discuss Ceres Power Ltd. and other examples of TRIZ problem solving below:


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TRIZ never fails

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