Contradictions Matrix

'A contradiction is a simple clash of solutions.  Either we want opposite solutions, or by introducing a new solution, i.e. an improving change to one feature in a system, another feature in our system has got worse.'

Concept of contradiction is central to the TRIZ tool-kit and gives immediate confidence in finding successful and powerful solutions.

TRIZ Tools for Uncovering and Solving Contradictions

The concept of contradiction is central to the TRIZ tool-kit and gives immediate confidence in finding successful and powerful solutions. We learn how to uncover contradictions (often the heart of the problem) and then eliminate them using the relevant tools.

Problem solving often involves understanding and resolving conflicting requirements - improvement in one part is at the expense of something else getting worse (technical contradictions), or we may want the same thing in opposite states but at different times or places e.g. an umbrella needs to be small and large (physical contradictions). Once we understand the conflict in our requirements then we can use TRIZ processes for uncovering contradictions and the tools for solving them.

Understanding all the benefits we want, getting those in the right order of priority, and seeing where these benefits conflict is the first stage in solving contradictions. This needs structure and practice for successful problem solving.

What is a Contradiction?

'A contradiction is a simple clash of solutions.  Either we want opposite solutions, or by introducing a new solution, i.e. an improving change to one feature in a system, another feature in our system has got worse.  Engineers recognize contradictions as familiar situations, such as when we improve strength by adding more material we find that this solution often makes weight get worse.

Contradictions can also be the need for opposite benefits which are achieved with opposite features or functions - an everyday item such as an umbrella has the benefits of being both large and small.  there are many situations of wanting opposites such as white and black - TRIZ shows us all the way to achieve such opposite benefits.' 

(Excerpt taken from TRIZ for Engineers by Karen Gadd)

Oxford Creativity has developed simple processes to apply these concept lists to your most difficult problems making these wonderful tools easy to understand and use by everybody.

TRIZ offers systematic innovation

Download the English Contradictions Matrix below or the Spanish version.  Alternativly download the Excel Interactive Contradiction Matrix spreadsheet, designed by our TRIZ team member, Andrew Martin:


Oxford TRIZ Contradiction matrix features and functions


Oxford TRIZ Contradictions map, define your process

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