Organization Problem Solving - Converting Technical Methods to Behavioral Methodlogy.

One of the many activities that I am involved in is the spread of TRIZ. TRIZ is the Russian acronym for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.

In the 1950's a group of Russians, led by Genrich Altshuller developed a methodlogy for solving problems. Based upon a rigorous study of patents, Altshuller determined how technical problems were solved. Based upon the determinations, he categorized the methods into a series of Inventive Pronciples and the operators that make the principle work.

The development and use of the principles for behavioral problems has been spotty at best. Recently, however, there has been some interest in doing so. As a result, some formal development efforts have been undertaken. Primarily, these efforts have been conducted by the OTSM - TRIZ communities that are largely in the European states. There is little development being discussed in North America.

With this background, I hope that you will take the time to read the article and evaluate the rest of this post.

Connected with a project I am working on and posted on my website at is an article that I have writtten on how TRIZ can be used to solve behavioral problems. The article can be found on the website or can be seen in the accompaning file.

The article compare Polarity Managment for Solving Behavioral Issues with TRIZ methodlogies. I am interested in finding out others thoughts in regards to how a Critical Thinking methodlogy can be developed that can be taught in elementary and secondary schools.

Polarity Article.pdf

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Comment by Dave Ramsey on November 10, 2009 at 10:26

Thanks for the invitation to hear more. I apologize for the delay in reply.

My first response to your inquiry is to smile and think "If only I knew the answer then I could be a rich man!" What I really need however is a starting point. So, I'll return a question to you.

What organizational problem do you want to discuss?

Organizational problems are like technical problems. In the technical world (engineering, IT, science, etc) there are multitude of types of problems. However, if one undertakes the thought process, all the problems can be generalized into a set of contradictions that must be solved. The contradictions then can be classified into 2 categories - technical contradictions and physical contradictions. Each has a separate definiton and different sets of prinicples and tools for solving problems. Likewise then, one could analyze all organizational probems and generalize them into certain categories such as structural, behavioral, role expectation, etc.

So what type of organizational problem do you want to examine and what might be the contradictions that are hidden in the problem?

I am opening this discussion up to anyone who might read about it. I think that you will find it interesting and give you an entirely new thought proces for organizational development and change. I am hoping it will lead to the development of some methodology for the use of TRIZ on non-technical problems.
Comment by CYNTHIA SAM- ARTHUR on November 3, 2009 at 4:00
Comment by Dave Ramsey on October 26, 2009 at 17:35
Thanks David.. I got involved with TRIZ in 2007. it has been interesting coupling it with other discuiplines such as ToC and some elements of Six Sigma (mainly those that pertain to systems mapping. I did some study of FMEA in order to compare it to Anticipatory Failure Determination, which is a methodology within in TRIZ that causes on to seek to identify all the ways that a system can be made to fail 100% of the time. it has beeninteresting.

I am familiar with the reality trees, can understand follow them, but have not taken the time/effort to work through them. TRIZ and ToC have great similarities when identifying the contradictions that need to be solved. The part that TRIZ provides is suggestions of how to solve the contradiction. Based upon what I have seen and practiced, ToC does not necessarily offer a solution.
Comment by David F McAra on October 26, 2009 at 17:27
Thanks for posting this, Dave. I wonder how long ago you got interested in TRIZ and how you are finding it to work with. Your account reminds me of the thinking processes developed by Dr Eli Goldratt in support of his Theory of Constraints.

Current Reality Trees are used to map the chains of cause and effect and to uncover root causes. Evaporating Clouds are used to articulate the apparently irreconcilable demands underlying the Core Conflict (as in your example of work in a team or work as an individual).

Once articulated, the logic can be examined for unsound assumptions which, once discovered, can be dispelled, evaporating the cloud and transforming the situation.

In the 1980s, we introduced these tools in short, sharp, 5 day interventions which could have a profound effect on the thinking of senior managers and on the performance of their organisations. It's frustrating, the time it takes for radical new thinking concepts to have more than patchy, local impact. Or should my glass be half full?


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