Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (triz)

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2.1 Inventive Problems

The other type of problem is one with no known solution. It is called an inventive problem and may contain contradictory requirements. As long ago as the 4th century, an Egyptian scientist named Papp suggested there should be a science called heuristics to solve inventive problems. In modern times, inventive problem solving has fallen into the field of psychology where the links between the brain and insight and innovation are studied. Methods such as brainstorming and trial-and-error are commonly suggested. Depending on the complexity of the problem, the number of trials will vary. If the solution lies within one's experience or field, such as mechanical engineering, than the number of trials will be fewer. If the solution is not forthcoming, then the inventor must look beyond his experience and knowledge to new fields such as chemistry or electronics. Then the number of trials will grow large depending on how well the inventor can master psychological tools like brainstorming, intuition, and creativity. A further problem is that psychological tools like experience and intuition are difficult to transfer to other people in the organization.

This leads to what is called psychological inertia, where the solutions being considered are within one's own experience and do not look at alternative technologies to develop new concepts. This is shown by the psychological inertia vector in figure 2.

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