TRIZ (a Russian acronym that is usually translated “theory of inventive problem solving” and is pronounced treez) was developed by Russian scientists and engineers trying to understand technological evolution. I’ve touched on TRIZ’s relevance to ID in a number of my writings (go here, for instance). Some useful sites for understanding TRIZ are the following:
The Triz Journal: http://www.triz-journal.com/
Ideation Triz: http://www.ideationtriz.com/
Technical Innovation Center: http://www.triz.org/
One of the most useful books I’ve found on TRIZ is Semyon Savransky’s Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ Methodology of Inventive Problem Solving (Boca Raton, Fl.: CRC Press, 2000) — to view/purchase at Amazon.com, go here.
Interestingly, it now appears that there is a contingent in the TRIZ community that wants to separate TRIZ from ID, namely the publishers of the new Anti TRIZ-Journal (notice where the hyphen is; these people are not against TRIZ as such, but against its vulgarization, as they see it, at the hands of industry and ID proponents). For the Anti TRIZ-Journal website, go here. For a brief note on that website explicitly against ID, go here.
In this note, G. L. Filkovsky remarks that “TRIZ is limited to a kind of evolution, which constitutes only an insignificant subset of evolution processes. This makes the use of TRIZ equally insignificant.” What’s interesting about this remark is the devaluation of TRIZ in order to ensure that it has no relevance to biological evolution.
In fact, TRIZ is much broader in scope, as a reading of the Savranky text above will make clear. As Savransky notes, TRIZ includes all forms of technological evolution, including not just the solution of routine problems (i.e., small, incremental improvements and adjustments of existing technologies), but also innovative problems, which can constitute technological revolutions. The connection between TRIZ and ID is not going to go away simply because a small splinter group in the TRIZ community doesn’t want the two connected.
I’ve been in touch with a key leader of TRIZ. The issue for him is not whether TRIZ and ID are connected or even how, but rather how to incorporate ID into TRIZ to solve novel problems. TRIZ is not only a theory of technological evolution but also a practical problem solving technique that engineers employ to put bread on the table. Simply put, this TRIZ leader wants to know how ID is going to help him earn more money. That’s a legitimate question and one we in the ID community are working on.
As a side note, Jonathan Wells’s present research on centrioles (go here for an earlier post on this blog) was directly inspired by a visit to this key TRIZ leader that he, Paul Nelson, and I made in 2002.