I have long thought that TRIZ and TOC are more related than we understand.

For example, take a look at this video (warning: possible long download for now).  If you understand the TOC concept of a conflict (dilemma, cloud, or problem) then the first few minutes of this video should resonate with you.

In the presentation, Valeri discusses the critical role that “contradictions” play in TRIZ.  He gives an excellent example at the start of the video, when we he uses the example of a movie screen as a contradiction.  On the one hand, we want our movie screens to be very big, so that everyone in the room can see all aspects of the presentation clearly.  But at the very same time, we want the screen to be small, so that we don’t need a very powerful projector (which is costly to buy and costly to run) to project our materials onto the screen.

So at once, we want a screen that is as large as possible and as small as is possible.

In this situation, most people reach for a compromise.  They try to find a screen that is big enough to be easily visible, but small enough to not require an expensive projector.  And in the end, no one is really happy with the trade-off. There is always someone who wants your fonts to be bigger, and you are always wishing you had a brighter, and better, projector.

What Valeri suggests — and this is completely in line with TOC — is that we should resist the urge to compromise.  And in his presentation, he gives an elegant solution to the movie screen problem I have described.  And in fact, there are companies that produce products that address this issue.

There is another aspect of TRIZ that I want to debunk.  That is the idea that TRIZ is only for “physical” products.  I have a friend who makes this (annoying) claim from time to time.  Perhaps I need to send him this article and tell him that even the TRIZ masters think he’s wrong.  But heck, he would probably argue with them too.