!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: TRIZ aka Reverse Brainstorming

Monday, December 07, 2009

TRIZ aka Reverse Brainstorming

There is a group problem-solving method included in the Knowledge Sharing Toolkit — discussed in a post of a few days ago — that I found particularly intriguing. The method in question goes by the name TRIZ (pronounced "trees" because it is the tranliteration of a Russian acronym), or "theory of inventive problem-solving."

The TRIZ method was originally developed to help people creatively solve engineering problems. The method has since, in simplified form, been adopted for a whole range of situations in which people need to get beyond conventional thinking (or even a state of denial) that is impeding their efforts to improve how they work.

The Knowledge Sharing Toolkit webpage outlining TRIZ directs readers to an example documented at the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) blog. This particular case, presented in an eleven-minute video, involves exploring how to improve delivery of primary care to patients. The discussion is facilitated by Keith McCandless, a long-time TRIZ practitioner.

The process McCandless follows has seven steps, as shown in the graphic below:

(click to enlarge)
(CIMIT blog)

Steps 2 through 4 indicate why the TRIZ technique is sometimes called "reverse brainstorming."

It's easy to get immersed in lots of technical detail about the TRIZ approach, but you probably don't want to unless you're working actively in an engineering-intense field. Still, if you're inclined to learn more about how TRIZ has developed since it was first conceived in 1946, you can visit Ideation International and The TRIZ Journal.


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