TRIZ processes offers a rigorous and systematic approach for understanding and solving any problem;

its principal tools enable you to uncover the most effective route to practical solutions.

Learn the full TRIZ Toolkit with Oxford TRIZ


We show you the principal TRIZ tools, but you don’t have to use them all. Everyone finds tools that they prefer, and then stick to the tools that work best for them: you don’t have to bend your way of thinking and working around an inflexible toolkit.

1. Thinking in Time and SCALE

This simplest and most powerful tool works on all problem types both technical and management. The 9 box tool is applied in three different ways at various stages of the problem understanding and solving process.  Initially it is used to accurately capture the history of each problem and the problem context.

The 9 box solution map is used when are sorting possible places to solve the selected problem.

When we have a system to analyse, we use 9 boxes to set the system context, define its environment (super-system) and all the details (subsystems).

2. Eight Trends of Technical Evolution

The Trends of Technical Evolution show us how to predict new markets and new products. In this way TRIZ offers us ways of seeing how all products and industries develop. The Trends of Evolution map the general directions of system development. Once we have a system the TRIZ Trends will fairly reliably give us the future developments of that system.

TRIZ Trends help you:

  • Predict future technologies, new products and improvement of current systems
  • Define what you want – Ideality
  • Understand where you are - using S-Curves and seeing the next steps and future possibilities using simple patterns of the 8 TRIZ trends
  • See the most promising directions of your products and those of your competitors
  • Choose / evaluate the most promising of the ideas being developed and help you develop those products

3. 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.

4. Using the 40 Inventive Principles

The distillation of knowledge in these 40 Principles is a guide to powerful solution triggers. Familiarity with all 40 Principles is essential for future effective problem solving. The 40 Principles are accessed for problem solutions by defining Physical and Technical Contradictions and using:

  • The Separation principles to solve Physical Contradictions (you have opposite requirements for the same thing e.g. I want an umbrella big enough to protect me from the rain, but small to carry around)
  • The TRIZ Contradiction Matrix to solve Technical Contradictions (something improves but something different gets worse e.g. as I make something stronger, it gets heavier)

5. Standard Solutions for Problem Solving

Oxford Creativity Standard Solutions 
This is a simple and general list of all recorded solutions in the patent data base. It is in five sections and shows all the ways the world knows to solve a problem.

  • How to do something we want to do
  • Dealing with harm (prevent, transform, block)
  • How to improve something (or an action) we already have
  • Detecting or measuring something
  • Simplifying and making cheaper

Oxford Creativity’s Standard Solutions are a simpler but equally powerful alternative to the traditional TRIZ tools of Altshuller’s Substance-Field Analysis (also known as Su-Fields / S-Fields) and the 76 Standard Solutions. Altshuller’s Substance-Field Analysis offers innovative solutions to inventive problems, but many people find the method tedious, hard to understand and difficult to remember when solving problems.

Standard Solutions are very simple and general lists of all the ways to solve problems recorded by science and technology, particularly in patents. We use the Standard Solutions once we have identified the problem type – such as if we have something harmful. We can then step through all the ways to stop harm.

  • Prevent that harm happening at all,
  • Transforming it so it is no longer harmful (perhaps even useful),
  • Block, or prevent the harm so it no longer causes a problem.

Where more detailed technical knowledge is required we show you how to use the effects database and the patent database to find powerful solutions.

6. Smart Resources to Find the Right Systems and Overcome Constraints

Identification of available resources around any problem is essential for finding good, cost effective, environmentally friendly solutions. Unlike any other problem solving technique the TRIZ definition of a resource is all-encompassing and focuses even on apparently negative or harmful resources. Thinking about symmetry, smell, colour or surface finish as resources rather than just things that exist in the system helps you learn how to identify, transform and then use all the resources to focus on cost reduction and produce elegant, clever solutions.

7. Understanding Our Requirements – Recognising What We Want

  • The end point, the purpose, the main function we are seeking
  • All functionality / benefits
    • Everything we want (must haves / nice to haves)
    • Everything we don’t want
    • Where & when we want our functionality. Identify conflicts in Time and Space
    • Check the real functionality - Why do we want this?
    • Ideal Outcome
    • Everyone’s Ideal Outcome

    Ideal Outcome - a vision of the perfect end result - no constraints – no “we can’t have this because…” Think like Leonardo da Vinci who said “Think of the end before the beginning.” Thinking about what you want rather than what you currently have. The underlying philosophy of TRIZ is to deliver more for less, finding solutions to problems for a minimum of cost and harm. The concept of an Ideal Outcome frees thinking away from constraints and why something can’t be done, to what might be possible and how to achieve it.

    Ideal Outcome & Everyone’s Ideal Outcome - makes you look at the problem from everyone else’s point of view (whoever is relevant, customer, manufacturing engineer, designer, shareholder etc.) Understanding the conflicts between all stakeholders and resolving conflicts / contradictions is one of the great powers of TRIZ. Altshuller said “Every great invention is the result of resolving one or more contradictions”. Delegates will understand the challenges of solving contradictions in order to meet all requirements from all points of view. Once everyone’s input is considered we can then look at how to reduce conflicts between stakeholders for your company’s problems.

8. System Modelling and Analysis - Function Analysis

The TRIZ discipline and process for describing the system containing the problem(s) in all its detail by listing all the components and all their interactions. TRIZ Function Analysis is different from other forms in that it includes all the negative, ineffective and excessive interactions in the system, and this is key to a proper understanding of the problems and potential solution points in the system. All interactions are expressed as Subject-action-Object and it is important to use simple, clear language (no acronyms) in order to be able to structure the problem correctly. Correct use of this tool allows direct access to the world’s knowledge (which is structured along similar lines) to locate the best solutions.

The Oxford Creativity method keeps all the rigour of TRIZ Function Analysis, and leads to use of our simple Standard Solutions. It will also help you access and use the available TRIZ software and web-based solutions. TRIZ Function Analysis is powerful and links with other popular problem solving toolkits like Value Engineering, Six Sigma and Lean Sigma all of which have their roots in the middle of the last century.

  • Trimming 
    Once the problems have been identified from the Function Analysis diagram we try to simplify the system using the Trimming Rules. Often this step will eliminate problems but it also of course reduces the cost of the system and increases its ideality.

  • Solution map
    After trimming we select one of the remaining problems to solve and identify where we can solve it (in time and space). The range of possibilities constitutes your solution map, and you choose which type of solution to try for according to what constraints you have.

9. Using the world’s knowledge / Accessing the Patent database

How to access and use the world’s patent databases – a free resource available to everyone. Understanding how to match what’s out there with what you are looking for and find relevant knowledge quickly and efficiently.

10. Getting to Solutions and Minimising Risks

Understanding Context and environment - Seeing the Whole Picture

  • Resolving Conflicts in Time and Space
  • Thinking in Time and Space – Long term vs. Short term benefits

TRIZ Creativity Methods for breaking Psychological Inertia

  • Smart Little People
  • Size-Time-Cost
  • Nine Boxes
  • Cost effective solutions

Understanding Problems 
TRIZ tools for understanding problems and recognising the relevant information. This is very powerful for management problems as well as technical problems.

Context and Environment 
Seeing the whole picture is essential for good problem solving. TRIZ offers simple and quick routes to getting the context and environment understood. Delegates learn how to sort complex information to understand the relevant areas, and understand where their problems fit. Successful TRIZ case studies will be shown to demonstrate the importance and power of these steps in problem understanding.

Innovation and Creativity Tools for breaking Psychological Inertia. 
These TRIZ methods complement most normal company problem solving tools. They include Size-Time-Cost, Smart Little People and Thinking in Time and Space. They are simple to use in directed brainstorming and effective in producing creative breakthroughs.

Ideality in Time and Space 
This means thinking about all stages – how do we design everything in the system for optimum use? What functionality do we need and how does this vary in time?

Resolving Conflicts in Time and Space 
Do we have different requirements at different times?  What functionality do we need and how does this vary in Space?  How do our wants / requirements influence everything in terms of space?  Safety?  Stealth?  Multi-functionality?  This step helps us ensure we don’t design for the less significant stages such as easy installation or maintenance or some lesser function.

Solving problems with TRIZ means finding a range of good and relevant solutions, and then choosing the best solution. Understanding the problem often helps you see good solutions before this stage. However if you haven’t uncovered a solution by this point this will find solutions to your problem. This is unique to TRIZ – other problem solving methods rely only on brainstorming at this point. You will use the TRIZ process to help you look in the right places for relevant knowledge.

Contact Oxford Creativity and bring TRIZ into your world today.

View TRIZ Training for more information on learning TRIZ tools. 

Where to next?

TRIZ books and why its good to read them

TRIZ Books

Oxford Creativity Learn TRIZ

Learn TRIZ

Where TRIZ works - the Oxford Creativity TRIZ case studies

Case Studies