A symbiotic relationship between TRIZ and Cynefin

Posted on July 2, 2018
Archive : July 2018
Category : Triz Blog

The missing 'X-Factor'?


I have worked with both the Cynefin framework [Dave Snowden – Cognitive Edge] and Oxford TRIZ [Karen Gadd of Oxford Creativity has spent years making TRIZ more understandable and teachable, hence my use of 'Oxford TRIZ’] for more than 12 years and have become intrigued as to why complexity work does not embrace TRIZ and vice versa.

Look at what I've invented .... the square wheel.

For this first post I have summarised six ways in which I believe Oxford TRIZ might be the missing ‘x-factor’ when working with complex systems that makes it easier to generate oblique probes, feedback loops and amplify and dampen, by way of more stories like this and fewer like that.

  • In a complex situation we need to generate multiple diverse and oblique interventions/probes. The TRIZ 40 principles are perfect for this.
  • The whole Oxford TRIZ emphasis on ‘concepts’ is the ultimate example of exaptation. Altshuller, the father of TRIZ, discovered previously unrecognised patterns in the body of registered patents. How to take an idea from one scientific discipline/business domain and exapt conceptually similar solutions for use in another.
  • TRIZ 9 box thinking triggers ideas at different scales within the system and before, during and after activity. This ensures a more diverse, divergent, less constrained portfolio of experiments.The Oxford TRIZ evolutionary trends which include S-curves can help ‘guide’ new and exciting Cynefin dynamics/paths through the landscape.
  • Finally, the Oxford TRIZ Standard Solutions include measurements which can help greatly in building feedback loops for each of the multiple ‘safe to fail’ experiments.

TRIZ may have its origins in the search for an algorithmic systematic approach to engineering problems in the cynefin ‘Complicated Domain’, but inadvertently and beneficially its use of concepts, principles, metaphors and the more recent Oxford TRIZ use of cartoons has made it a perfect sherpa guide for expeditions into more complex ecosystems.

Next post will look at this ‘the other way round’, TRIZ principle 13, why cynefin and PNI are needed in TRIZ. 


    Follow the story on Ron's Blog >>


    Ron Donaldson

    Ron has a broad computer science background and a Combined Science degree in Ecology and Geology. Initially working as a systems analyst for Customs and Excise, he later joined English Nature to develop and implement Information and Knowledge Strategies leading him to develop his own unique approach which he termed 'Knowledge Ecology'.

    Experienced in structured systems analysis, process modelling and business process re-engineering, Ron is now a self employed consultant and an accredited Cognitive Edge practitioner. He specialises in narrative/complexity based methods, appreciative inquiry and open space technology.

    An accomplished conference speaker especially in knowledge management and storytelling, Ron enjoys working as a coach, facilitator or trainer in the preferred fields of knowledge sharing, change management, team building and of course problem solving using TRIZ.

    Ron Donaldson