THE AMERICANIZED VERSION OF “TRIZ-IL”
OutCompete LLC is the American Branch of Think-Tech Center company.
It would be wrong on our side to pretend that the
Innovative Approach is totally unique and was developed “from
scratch.” Not at all. This Approach is rather the collection of
thoughts about the ways to deal with unsolvable challenges of our
lives. A lot of techniques of OutCompete Approach had been learned
from "TRIZ-IL" & "TRIZStorming", from colleagues, mentors and teachers. Research conducted
by its manager Len Kaplan, finally, resulted in the “natural” thinking process.
Why Some Problems Are Unsolvable?
between “solvable” and “unsolvable” problem is simple: while the
satisfactory solution to the former one can be found easily, the
latter cannot be solved satisfactory even after prolonged mental
attempts. Henry Altshuller, the creator of TRIZ, discovered that all
“unsolvable” problems fall into three distinct categories:
1. Wrong problems, i.e. ones that shouldn’t be addressed;
2. Problems addressed with wrong “tools”; m
3. Dilemmas, i.e. the problems that cannot be solved in the given
One simply cannot resolve the problem-at-hand with “conventional”
approaches, if this problem belongs to one of these categories.
Are these problems really unsolvable or they only seemed to be such?
Solving the Unsolvable
distinguish five types of “wrong problems”:
1. Circumventing the laws of Nature, e.g. “develop the perpetual
motion” or “provide 100% security”;
2. Expanding the local problem, e.g. “this particular sample of
product failed, so let’s make a product that cannot fail in this
way,” while “this particular sample” was designed for different
3. Somebody’s problem, e.g. “I don’t like how this machine works, so
let’s find a better design, although we don’t produce these
4. Non-existent problems, e.g. “I think, this outcome is bad to other people, let’s eliminate it,” while nobody cares
outcome or it isn’t bad at all; and
5. Wrong aspect of real problem, e.g. “let’s make our cars looking
nicer, and thus improve their sales,” while customers are looking
for better reliability.
In real life, all these problems look very similar. More often than
not it is difficult to distinguish them without a detailed analysis.
Only the 5th type is worth solving, the rest should be discarded as
useless waste of time.
A problem is a
difference between “what we want” and “what we’ve got,” and people
usually know how to make necessary corrections, i.e. resolve this
problem. Knowledge, experience and expertise provide us with
efficient conventional “tools” to solve various problems.
These tools work OK as long as we adequately apply them to the
situation-at-hand. “Adequately” means that (a) real situation is
very similar to the “typical” situations this tool is designed for;
(b) real situation doesn’t involve the conditions under which this
tool cannot and should not be used; and (c) the tool is applied
properly, exactly like it was intended to be used.
Sometimes, we cannot determine whether or not the situation meets
requirements (a) and (b). It might happen that some conditions that
we aren’t aware about render the situation inadequate for use of
conventional tool. As a result, we use the tool to improve the
situation, and get unexpected results. Problem becomes “unsolvable.”
Sometimes, we face a situation that is beyond our knowledge,
experience and expertise, i.e. we don’t know what tools should be
used in such situation. Our attempts to use known tools don’t
produce satisfactory results. This problem, as well, falls in the
category of “unsolvables.”
Thorough analysis, accompanied with new, non-conventional tools
provide us with opportunity to address such “unsolvable problems.”
“Dilemma” is a
specific type of problem. “Problem” is a substantial, intolerable
difference between “what we want” and “what we’ve got.” “Dilemma” is
a substantial, intolerable difference between “what we believe we
should’ve got” and “what we’ve actually got.”
There are several types of “dilemma,” and multiple levels of its
aggravation. The more aggravated the dilemma, the more discomfort
and frustration it produces. Usually, dilemma occurs when the world
around us changes so much that our beliefs that worked OK before
become inadequate. We cannot notice these changes, because they
usually take a long time. As a result, an inadequacy of our beliefs
and assumptions, when it overcomes some threshold, takes us
completely by surprise.
Since we cannot change the world around us, we have only one choice
to really address the dilemma: change our beliefs and assumptions,
render them more adequate to the real world. For this purpose, we
need to thoroughly analyze which our assumptions became inadequate
and what new assumptions are more adequate. Then, the dilemma is
easily replaced with common-sense solution.
To resolve the
“unsolvables,” we need the new set of mental tools:
1. Analytical approach that:
a. Distinguishes the wrong problems from ones that must be
b. Determines why conventional tools are inadequate in the
situation-at-hand and what tools are adequate; and
c. Discovers which old beliefs became wrong and what new beliefs
would be right;
2. Hints that suggest how to modify the situation-at-hand into the
new one that gives us what we really want; and
3. Synthetic approach that unites the weak “raw” ideas into the
strong implementable solutions.
OutCompete Approach includes these tools; OutCompete Training
teaches how you can master them.