Wednesday, December 17, 2008
More details are available at:
Thursday, December 04, 2008
- February 5-7: 3-day course, Bangalore, India
- March 20: one-day introductory course, Utrecht, Netherlands
- May 4-7: 4-day extended course, Utrecht, Netherlands
- April 1-3: 3-day basic course, Utrecht, Netherlands
- May 18-22: 5-day advanced course, Utrecht, Netherlands
- March 2-6, OTSM-TRIZ to Develop Power Thinking (with N. Khomenko), Limassol, Cyprus
- June 12: Creative Imagination Development, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- June 19: Root Conflict Analysis (RCA+), Utrecht, The Netherlands
During paper presentations
During my tutorial on TRIZ for Business and Management
Monday, November 03, 2008
So will it help those who were trained dealing with a "financial crisis" we all hear about today? The answer seem to be rather obvious. The more we can, the better we cope. Basically, TRIZ is about how to deal in critical situations. Any breakthrough innovation results from a situation when trade-offs don't work any more but we need a radical, out-of-the-box solution. Another issue is that we used to think about innovation just as bringing new products to the market. But what about process innovations? Supply chain innovations? Cost cutting innovations? We can innovate to drastically cut costs, for instance. Usually we think that once we cut costs, we also decrease produced value. It sounds quite logical, however it is not true. The entire TRIZ philosophy (if we learn TRIZ well) drives us towards creating "ideal" solutions: producing maximum value at virtually no costs. And in many cases it is possible.
I observe two types of organizations today: those who are under a current panic of crisis freeze their training budgets and those which do not. However, those who freeze represent the vast majority. Luckily there is another type of companies: which release their budgets to better train peope. Which strategy is right? There is a simple analogy. If a national soccer team loses against stronger competitors during the World Cup - does it mean that the team has to cut costs, kick out all strong players (who are expensive) and avoid hiring a good coach (because the team certainly experiences crisis)? I think everyone will laugh at such decision and stop supporting such a team if it does so. That's why it is still a great mistery to me why so many boards of organizations are unable to connect productivity, performance, and ability to stay in business with capabilities and skills of people who work for them.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
On November 5-7 we conduct the international conference TRIZ Future 2008 in Enschede, The Netherlands hosted by the University of Twente. Although the conference will last 3 days, there is also a possibility to register for the first day only, which will include basic TRIZ tutorials, keynotes, opening, and two tracks with case studies (registration for this day costs Euro 250,-). We expect around 100 people from 20-25 countries.
I will run a tutorial on TRIZ for Business and Management in the morning (from 09:00 till 12:00).
More details on the conference and registration are available at http://www.trizfuture.net/ . To see a detailed schedule of paper presentations, visit section "Downloads".
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
One of the questions posted was how to manage work/life balance properly? We run a series of small workshops in the “Knowledge Café” format, and I hosted one of the workplaces. Here I’d like to share our findings.
In most cases, working provides us with a means to fulfil our needs. But our work becomes a part of our identity, too. Its role is minimal when our needs reside only at the lower levels of the Maslows's pyramid (to secure our basic living needs), but grows exponentially when we move up to the higher levels of the needs hierarchy (levels of esteem and self-actualization). By following the TRIZ philosophy of a fuzzy situation analysis, we tried to formulate a list of contradictions which prevent us from keeping our work/personal life balance totally perfect – that is, just as we want it to feel happy because for everyone this balance can be individual.
A majority of people whose work interests are not limited to their pay checks face a fundamental contradiction: either to stay at the lower levels of the Maslow’s hierarchy to ensure stability and security or to move up to the higher levels to realize their dreams, especially when people are young and full of energy. However without strong financial independence that would mean putting ourselves as well as our families at risk. What would (probably) reduce this risk is a total commitment and full immersion to our work. However, that would also mean reducing time for any other activities.
Furthermore, we decided to outline contradictions which are experienced and treated by each participant as most important and which have to be resolved to properly manage work/personal life balance:
- We want to live in a small quiet town which is good for our kids and work in a big city, but commuting takes of a lot of time.
- We want to dedicate more time to our kids, but then we would not accomplish our careers as desired.
- We want to be entrepreneurs to realize our goals and dreams, but full commitment to our jobs will unlikely leave enough time for our families and leisure activities.
- A "perfect" vacation demands considerable time to truly disconnect from thoughts about our jobs, and such long vacations are good for our families. But are such long breaks good for our jobs, especially in modern, highly dynamic work environments when everything changes too fast?
- Perfectionism versus getting things done: trying to accomplish things in the most perfect way we sacrifice time for either other tasks or personal life.
- Mobile workplace versus stable workplace: being highly mobile we tend to spend more time for long-distance travel thus leaving too little time to spend with our families.
- We need to learn more and more every day but still need to secure enough time for doing our jobs and personal things.
- A desire to do many interesting things in parallel; but to really accomplish something we must focus on one-two major tasks only.
- Every day we need to process more and more information which leaves less time for other activities.
- Individualism to focus and concentrate versus the need to feel and be a part of a larger social group.
- Quantity versus efficiency: in most cases employees are paid for hours, not for results. Thus we need to spend more time at work to ensure proper income than it might be really needed .
- Working from home: we stay close to our families but physically remote from our social work environments ("missing a water cooler" syndrome).
- "Work ecosystem" versus "home ecosystem": we often tend to give a preference of one rather than another due to many factors: attitude, comfort, etc. and thus even subconsciously tend to spend more time within that ecosystem.
- Matching work with meaning of your life.
- Finding a partner with a similar state of mind.
- Creating a family business.
- Splitting work between being employed for several days a week and then self-employed for the rest of the week.
- Working from home only partly.
- Always staying connected with your family via the Internet.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Just wanted to note that on November 19-20, 2008, the next edition of the Creativity World Forum will take place in Antwerpen, Belgium. The Forum is organized by the Flemmish Organization for Entrepreneurial Creativity and will feature such keynote speakers as Steve Wozniak, Dan Heath, Chris Anderson, Tom Kelly, John Cleese.
This event is defenitiely worth to visit. I plan to be there, too.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
as well as at the official conference website http://www.trizfuture.net/ .
This year we decided to split the conference papers and posters to four tracks: scientific, educational, practitioner, and case studies. Seems like there are enough interesting papers to be presented in each section.
A final list of accepted papers and posters will be available in the second half of September.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
In case if someone notices inconsistencies, please let me know.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
New dates for training courses in TRIZ and Systematic Innovation, Fall 2008 are available:
- One-day Introduction to TRIZ for Business and Management, September 3, 2008, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- 5-day Extended TRIZ and Systematic Innovation for Business and Management, September 22-26, 2008, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- 3-day Basic Training in TRIZ and Systematic Innovation for Technology and Engineering, October 6-8, 2008, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
- 2-day Workshop "OTSM-TRIZ for Kids" (for teachers and parents), October 23-24, 2008, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (workshop leader: Nikolai Khomenko)
- One-day Creative Imagination Development (for all areas), October 31, 2008,
Utrecht, The Netherlands
- 2-day Root Conflict Analysis (RCA+) (for all areas), December 2-3, 2008,
Utrecht, The Netherlands
- 5-day Advanced TRIZ and Systematic Innovation for Technology and Engineering, December 8-12, 2008, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
This fall a new course is announced: Root Conflict Analysis (RCA+). Although the RCA+ technique was introduced relatively recently (in 2004), more that 200 projects were already successfully performed with it; thus this new new 2-day course focuses on practical applications of RCA+ for those who is interested in in-depth study of how to use the technique. RCA+ can be used both in combination with TRIZ and independently.
Also, based on the success of the first workshop "OTSM-TRIZ for Kids", we announced the next workshop to be held in October. The content of the workshop remains the same, therefore those who missed the first workshop have an opportinity to join us in October.
We also introduced discounts for early registration.
More detailed information about the courses is available at http://www.xtriz.com/Training/
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
After an introduction to Classical TRIZ and OTSM-TRIZ, Nikolai explained the basic concepts of OTSM-TRIZ in an educational context.
In “normal” life, the usual problem solving strategy is based on trial and error. However, this has a catastrophic effect on the way we solve problems, because it is very time consuming.
As we want a single solution (not many!) in the shortest possible time, we underestimate the amount of time it takes to find a satisfactory solution.
Instead, it is important to clearly frame the starting point, in terms of (system) environment, people, goals and constraints. Once the AS-IS situation is defined and shared among people, using problem solving tools is much more effective and solutions brighter.
In other words what we have to do is to become aware of our own psychological inertia and overcome its limits.
The problem solving process requires imagination; it involves specific knowledge and analytic and synthetic skills simultaneously with creative imagination and holistic approach; it is considered as a transformation of an initial situation into the description of a satisfactory solution. When facing a problem – when you don't understand something - it is not important to think about why things happen the way they do, but how. Thus, the challenge is to think of a way how to produce it. You have to learn how to pay attention to both details and the generalised level: zoom in, zoom out.
Education should be organised as a research game and team work. Additionnally, social activity takes place during communication. In the educational domain there are many applications of OTSM-TRIZ, not only for children, but for adults as well. Kids have almost no experience they can reuse and this can be a pro. Adults have to go through two steps: (a) remove mental inertia and (b) define the right “solution space” to investigate possible solutions.
The main goal of OTSM/TRIZ for KIDS is to provide kids with some hints and tips they can easily understand to narrow the space where the solution is, so that their search can be much quicker and more effective.
After the theory, it was time for PRACTICE.
We did some exercises to practice these abstractions in a very concrete way. The “Yes/No” game is the most powerful as well as easy game to play to develop the ability of thinking dichotomy. It stimulates people to ask questions that reduce the possibilities by half thus enabling them to find the solution much faster than by just guessing. Whether you play the game with numbers 1-10 in a linear game or with objects anywhere in the universe is of no importance. It depends on the kid’s age and capacities. Other games that have been practiced are riddles and story lines. It involves a lot of imagination, language etc.
The training has been a very good step after the introduction to the ideas of OTSM-TRIZ for Kids in November 2007. The participants have lots of ideas for the next steps in order to achieve the most desirable result: the availability of OTSM-TRIZ for every person.
Monday, March 24, 2008
First, Nikolai introduced OTSM-TRIZ approach to kids education and developing thinking skills. The remaining and the largest part of the workshop was dedicated to interactive sessions on the basis of "Yes-No" games: teaching how to play the games (finding right answers as quickly as possible) using OTSM-TRIZ to ask right questions. This approach is based on several techniques: "thinking dichotomy" to narrow a possible search space; learning how to make "abstract-specific" thinking transitions to reformulate situations; and recognizing contradictions to construct exact questions. We also explored different types of "Yes-No" games, and a method for creating our own games. All the participants were enthusiastically involved to the process. Needless to say, they found that the method is not only useful for kids, and even if it can be played with kids of age as early as 3-4, we all can benefit from it.
The workshop was followed by a discussion how the material learned can be put to local educational systems and what next steps can be undertaken. We are really looking forward to new workshops in the nearest future.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
In the newsletter: forthcoming courses and conferences, interesting links, recommended books, and the "principle of integration", one of 29 principles for creative innovation.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
In some developing countries, especially, in Africa, one of the most crucial problems is a clean water supply. Still, there is water - but deep underground. To install and operate a standard water pump would be too expensive. What to do? It is clear that we need energy. Is there are any cheap, or, preferably free energy resource available nearby?
"PlayPump" solves this problem in a very unusual way. Resource: kids. No, no kids labor in this case. That would be the worst and inacceptable solution. Instead - let kids play and pump water! The "PlayPump" is a water pump which is connected to a merry-go-round which serves as an engine for the pump. Kids play and water flows. Check this video from National Geographics:
Monday, February 11, 2008
The report is freely available at TRIZ Home Page in Japan. There is also a PDF version at the bottom of the page.