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Game Cards for TRIZ 40 Inventive Principles in service

Game Cards for TRIZ  40 Inventive Principles in service

| On 24, Apr 2018

Nadhmi Gazem, Azizah A.Rahman, Ketan Varia



There are different creative methods for generating new ideas such as brainstorming, soliciting ideas from employees and customers, user-lead research, and learning about competitors. A well-known methodology to systematically and inventively solve problems is TRIZ (the theory of inventive problem solving). It can assist problem solvers in generating new ideas in ways unaffected by the problem solvers past experiences. The 40 inventive principles is one of different tools set of TRIZ that is wiled used for solving inventive problems. The 40 inventive principles tool was originally designed to resolve problems in a technical context. This article is to present a gamified way1 of using TRIZ 40 inventive principles, by all levels of staff, specifically for the service industry.


1.     Introduction

Generating ideas by using systematic innovation method can be used to innovate products or services and solve problems within technical fields (manufacturing, engineering, etc.) or non-technical fields (business, management, services, etc.) (Lee, Wang, & Trappey, 2015). The traditional systematic solving problems methods such as brainstorming, soliciting ideas from employees and customers, user-lead research, and learning about competitors have the ability to identify a problem’s root cause, but they are insufficient to generate a solution that is truly inventive (Ilevbare, Probert, & Phaal, 2013). Moreover, they rely on past human experience and knowledge (Lin & Su, 2007).  However, TRIZ (the theory of inventive problem solving) can assist problem solvers (PS) in generating new ideas in ways unaffected by the PS past experiences (Regazzoni, Pezzotta, Persico, Cavalieri, & Rizzi, 2013).

Among many different tool sets of TRIZ, the 40 inventive principles (IPs) are the most powerful and frequently used TRIZ tool for eliminating contradiction problems (Lin and Su, 2007; Cong and Tong, 2008; Agnoli and Corazza, 2015). As TRIZ’s 40 IPs were mainly developed in engineering, many of its principles and tools were originally designed to resolve technical problems. In order to facilitate using the 40 IPs in a business context, different studies have listed different examples to reflect the implementation for each. For example, in business (Mann & Domb, 1999), food products (Mann & Winkless, 2001),  quality management principles  (Retseptor, 2003), education (Marsh, Waters, & March, 2004), finance (Dourson (2004), customer satisfaction (Retseptor, 2007), and service context (Chai, Zhang, & Tan, 2005; Gazem & Rahman, 2014b).

In our work, we adopt Gazem and Rahman (2014b) study result  to develop the TRIZ Game Cards (TGC) specifically for a  service context. The idea from TGC is to make the 40 IPs further easier to grasp in gamified1 setting for solving the service-based company problems or even for come out with idea of new service by individual level.


2.     TRIZ 40 Inventive Principle Game Card

The TGC was designed without the need to use the methodology of finding the contradiction problems in service and then using TRIZ contradiction matrix with the 40 IPs, which is the traditional route to using TRIZ. The user can use the TGC directly to think about the possible ways for finding solution to their current service problems.  The TGC contain two types of cards: ‘Key Cards and Innovation Cards.’

2.1.  The Key Cards

The Key Cards (KCs) refer to different service types with certain situations that could be found in real life and someone may want to improve current services to achieve one of those situations.  The KC idea was adopted from a study by Gazem and Rahman (2014a). They proposed using the 40 IPs with five service types (STs) – self-service, direct service, per-service, bundle service, and physical service. According to Berry and Lampo (2000) the purpose of the five STs was to improve the innovation opportunities in companies’ services.

These five STs do not give a comprehensive method  to resolve service problem. The PS still needs to find a way to generate ideas for redesigning current service based on the determined ST. This is when a TRIZ tool such as 40 IPs play an important role to assist the PS with a complete description of innovative solution thinking. It was mentioned by Chai et al. (2005) that there is overlap between TRIZ 40 IPs and the five service redesign types, developed by Berry and Lampo (2000). This overlapping was used by Gazem and Rahman (2014a) to redesign a service using the 40 IPs.

Base on Gazem (2016) Phd work, he revised each ST’s situation without changing the original meaning of each situation in order to make each situation statement clearer in terms of present a relationship between IPs and a situation. Table 4.10 shows from the revised ST situations.

Table 4.10: Service Type-situations revision

In our work we used Table 1 at the back of KCs to give general situations that PS may want to achieve one of these situations.  Then we used the Gazem and Rahman (2014a) results to link between the KC and IC. Figure 1 show a simple of the KC.

Figure 1:Self-service key card

2.2.  Innovation Cards

Innovation Cards (ICs) are include are TRIZ 40 IPs.  In the front of each IC has the principle name and the short introduction or definition about the principle. Some of the IPs’ names were replaced with alternative names in order to be more understandable from service context. In fact, different authors give alternative IPs’ names for make them clearer in non-technical context area. This is because the definition for each 40 IPs naturally has a technical explanation thus it was necessary to make the 40 IPs’ names and definitions close to non-technical context such as service contexts. Table 2 shows the 40 IPs with the description.

Table 2. TRIZ inventive principles in service with description

The back of each IC was designed to have questions to make the user think of using the IP. In other word, the questions are for giving an idea in how a particular inventive principle can be used. Figure 2 show simple of the IC for the self-service.

Figure 2. Innovation card – Segment Principle

Moreover, we have provided different example(s) as the answering to these questions and to show how the IPs could be applied in reality with real service examples. Table 3 shows questions and examples that can be asked with several ICs.

Table 3. Inventive principles with equations and examples

Finally, each ICs include some symbols refer to certain KC at the bottom, which means that this IP has high chance for helping a PS to achieve one of that service type situations.

3.     The Concept Behind the TRIZ Game Cards

The idea under linking the five STs with 40 IPs has similarity with linking the four Separation Strategies – space, time, upon condition, or Separation between Parts and the Whole strategy – with IPs to solve physical contradiction. However, TGC in service context were designed to give hint or strategy of the way of thinking for solutions regardless of a PS tries to solve innovative problems, the problem structure that at least has one contradiction (Stratton and Mann, 2003; Chai et al., 2012), or just any regular problems.  In addition, remembering 40 IPs and looking in all IPs to resolve contradicting problems consume much time and effort, often distracting in the generation of ideas (Mann, 2007).  Thus, the reason for link ICs with STs was to easily utilize IPs in a shorter time. Therefore, a service PS can predict the method of creating redesigning the services efficiently, reduce the time that is consumed by using 40 IPs to generate solutions, and more accurately by focusing on the most appropriate IPs that can be applied to a given problem.  Nevertheless, other options still open for the PS to scan other IPs if he/she cannot find an acceptable solution from the proposed linking between the IPs and STs.

Moreover, the nature of the 40 IPs gives abstract solutions which creates a gap between the abstracted solutions and the specific desired solutions. This gap is noted by many PSs who try to transfer these abstracted solutions to specific solutions (Mann, 2007). In these cards we are trying to reduce this gap by linking the 40 IPs with different STs and its situations. Each ST’s situation shows why a company needs to redesign their current service into a certain type of service such as self-service, direct service, pre-service, bundle service, or physical service. It also gives the direction of the solution. However, it does not support a service PS with different suggestions in order to achieve that direction unlike the IPs which support the PS with abstract suggestion for solving problems. Thus the combination of the generic suggested solutions from the 40 IPs and a direction of solutions provided by ST’s situations makes transferring from abstracted solutions to specific solution a much more explicit process. This makes the Triz game accessible to all levels of staff in a service organisation.



This article present how TRIZ 40 IPs were used as game cards1 to solve service problems.  The cards included two kinds of card. The key cards which references the five approaches of redesign services in order to improve the innovation opportunities in companies’ services.  The Innovation cards which refer to the TRIZ 40 invention principals.  The innovation cards front part include the description of the IPs in the service contexts. In addition, some of the IPs’ names were replaced with alternative names in order to be more understandable from service context. The back part provides different questions and examples related to application of each IP in real services cases. In addition, at the bottom of each innovation cards included some symbols refer to certain key cards to link an IP with service types. By linking 40 IPs with STs a service PS, staff from all levels of an organisation, can easily utilize IPs in a shorter time and focus on the most appropriate IPs that can be applied to a given problem.



[1] . TRIZ Service Cards. Kinetik Solutions Ltd.



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About the Authors

Dr Nadhmi Gazem has a PhD in Information Systems, from the University of Technology, Malaysia, where he has authored several papers on the use of TRIZ in the service industry.

Ketan Varia is an innovator and entrepreneur. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Advanced Manufacturing Systems. He has developed several business games for Operational Excellence and Change Management.

Dr Azizah Bt Abdul Rahman has a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Technology, Malaysia. She is the co-author of several papers on TRIZ in the service industry.