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Implementation Enhanced Through Values & Beliefs Part 2

By Dr. John Terninko and Mary Ann Kahl

Aperspective for identifying multiple aspects of the public point of view (customer organizations and individuals) in order to reduce or eliminate the frequency of the negative response to solution concepts is explored. The application process of directed concept generation and introducing the results of the TRIZ methodology must also evolve to become flexible to the influence of all the value systems of the world in order to develop solution concepts that will be accepted and embraced. This is part two of athree-part series. Part one explores valuesystems and how they all relate to the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ).

Dimensions for Defining Dissatisfaction

TRIZ expert Greg Yezersky is fond of saying “Systems are created in response to dissatisfaction in the environment.”

A few questions come to mind:

  • Who describes the dissatisfaction?
  • Why is there dissatisfaction?
  • How expansive is the definition of environment?
  • What is the relationship between dissatisfaction, the environment and the customer’s world view?
  • Has the reader’s solution concepts ever been rejected?

There are many dimensions to understanding the behavior of humans. It appears that these dimensions have different aspects. Some represent the level of development of an individual or the distribution of development for a society or segment of society.

Not all customers are alike. They each have their own reality. Ken Wilber, the author of What Is Integral Spirituality? discusses key development lines that humans experience.1These development lines are significant as they impact satisfaction with the performance of a product or service. What are some of these development lines and what do they mean? It appears that the different lines (or multiple intelligences) are the different types of answers to the questions that life poses:2

  • What am I aware of? (the cognitive line or cognitive intelligence; e.g., Piaget, Kegan)
  • Who am I? (ego or self development line; e.g., Loevinger)
  • What is significant to me? (systems of values; e.g., Graves)
  • What should I do? (moral intelligence; e.g., Kohlberg)
  • How should I react to you? (interpersonal development; e.g., Selman, Perry)
  • What is of ultimate concern? (spiritual intelligence; e.g., Fowler)
  • What am I feeling about this? (emotional intelligence; e g, Goleman)
  • What is attractive to me? (aesthetic line; e.g., Houseman)
  • What do I need? (hierarchy of needs; e.g., Maslow)
  • How should I physically do this? (kinetic understanding; e.g., Gardner)

Wilber’s table below summarizes these development lines.

Different Lines of Human Development
Line Life’s Question Typical Researcher
Cognitive What am I aware of? Piaget, Kegan
Self Who am I? Loevinger
Values What is significant to me? Graves, Spiral Dynamics
Moral What should I do? Kohlberg
Interpersonal How should we interact? Selman, Perry
Spiritual What is of ultimate concern? Fowler
Emotional What am I feeling about this? Goleman
Aesthetic What is attractive to me? Houseman
Needs What do I need? Maslow
Kinesthetic How should I physically do this? Gardner

Table 1 illustrates several dimensions of awareness that simultaneously influence people’s behavior. As important as developing strong solution concepts is to creating an ingenious system design, the ability to understand the customer’s answer to the basic human question of “What is significant to me?” is of equal weight. By using the word “customer” as anyone you try to help, there are several questions to ask. Who is the customer? What is driving the customer’s dissatisfaction? What is the distribution of customer values? The answers to these questions are critical to the success of intervention in the design process.

Dissatisfaction and Need

American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, identified six levels of human needs. Although all needs are present in an individual at all times, the primary need at any moment is context dependent. Does one express the same needs at home as at work? Are an individual’s needs when they are with his child the same as when he is with their customers? Still, at different periods in their lives, most people have a dominant need. Once a lower need is satisfied the next one becomes dominant:

  1. Physiological needs satisfaction: is necessary for the human body to function. This includes breathing, homeostasis, hydration, sleep, food, excretion and sex.
  2. Safety and security needs satisfaction: is a catch-all “for a predictable, orderly world in which injustice and inconsistency are under control, the familiar is frequent and the unfamiliar is rare.”3 In the work environment, this includes job security, grievance procedures, savings accounts and insurance policies.
  3. Social needs: is friendship and intimacy as well as a supportive and communicative family.
  4. Self-esteem needs: is self-respect and respecting others.
  5. Self-actualization needs: is satisfying the desire to reach one’s maximum potential and possibility.
  6. Self-transcendence needs: is having intuitive consciousness, plateau experiences (serene) and peak experiences (mystic, sacral, ecstatic) with illumination and insight.3

For instance, an individual has an employee or customer who is operating in the survival mode and the individual is self-actualized, offering a value that will not be received nor understood.

In 1966, Clare Graves’ Harvard Business Review article Deterioration of Work Standards identified seven ways in which humans value life and how each requires a different approach for effective interaction.4 By the late 1960s, Graves referred to this set of values as a spiral because he had already seen a migration to another dimension. What had begun as a linear progression from survival to integration became a repeating spiral, with integration beginning a new loop on the circular path to transcendence. This led Graves to suggest a second spiral dealing with love. Before his death in 1995, he began calling the first spiral existential existence (currently called subsistence) and the second spiral being.

“Our traditional organizations are designed to provide for the first three levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; food, shelter and belonging. Since these are now widely available to members of industrial society, our organizations do not provide significantly unique opportunities to command the loyalty and commitment of our people. The ferment in management will continue until organizations begin to address the higher order needs: self-respect and self-actualization”—Bill O’Brien, CEO Hanover Insurance

What significant and unique opportunities does an individual offer to their employees? How should one present them to the world? What sort of leadership style does a situation demand? Or should an individual simply ignore such thoughts as she gets on with the business of being herself? A lot of people struggle with these questions. New research by the business psychology company OPP confirms the existence of so-called “workplace chameleons” or those who feel the need to adopt a different persona as they arrive at work each day. Out of all the European workforces surveyed by OPP, it was the British who were top of the chameleon league table; 64 percent said they in effect became somebody else as they reached their work desk. It was unlike those straight-talking Dutch. Only 36 percent of respondents in the Netherlands felt the need to compromise their identity in the workplace.5

How Does This Relate to TRIZ Practitioners?

Jerry Harvey, the creator of The Abilene Paradox, states that the management of agreement is the most important problem in organizations, not the management of conflict. Employees, family members or members of any group do not state their true beliefs because of fears that “they will get me” or “no one else shares my opinion.” The paradox was identified when four adults made a long, hot trip to Abilene, Texas when no one wanted to go. There was no external reason, only the belief the other three wanted to go. How truthful are individuals with colleagues and customers in discussion of unintended consequences? If an individual is a workplace chameleon does it affect the quality of his design? Are she free to not be a chameleon? Is there some information transfer individuals can gain that will help them do their own best work while fully satisfying the needs of their customers?

Graves defined the human evolution of values and coping systems as beginning more than 100,000 years ago.6 As the most urgent issues of life are satisfied, an awareness of higher level issues manifest in the consciousness. This progress increases the degrees of freedom for living. New coping systems, however, must be found for the associated negative consequences.

As a crisis occurs, people tend to go back to a previous coping system. Most practitioners of spiral dynamics use colors to indicate the associated pairs of life conditions (LC) and coping systems (CS). Life conditions and coping systems can be considered the WHAT and HOW of function analysis. For this introduction the word VALUE means what is important to given LC and CS. The following material was adapted from a value systems questionnaire (VSQ). Dates reflect periods in human development when a particular value system was dominant throughout most human societies. Dates and levels 7, 8 and 9 were adapted from Wikipedia.3 (Colors are identifiers for the Graves/spiral dynamics definitions of values.)

  1. 100,000 BCE (before the common era), survival (beige) becomes significant: At this first level people are focused on the bare necessities of survival. Finding food and shelter come to mind. There is little attention to other people. There is only room for the basic emotions of anger, fear, disgust, sadness and gratification. While this level is present in all of us, people generally operate at a higher level.
  2. 50,000 BCE, safety (purple) becomes significant: This level is more concerned with finding a safe mode of living in a world that is seen as unpredictable and unsafe. When this system prevails, people form closed groups within their own culture and preserving traditions are seen as a priority.
  3. 7,000 BCE, power (red) becomes significant: This level is about expressing oneself. It is typified by the warrior who values power and glory and is on a quest of heroic status. Survival of the fittest is the common theme.
  4. 3,000 BCE, obedience (blue) becomes significant: This level is about discipline and law, searching for world order and an everlasting peace. There is a catch. The style of thinking is absolutist: there is only one truth and peace seems only obtainable by making sure everyone adheres to that truth. In these cultures, there is a strict hierarchy where obedience to those higher up is required.
  5. 1,000 CE (common era), success (orange) becomes significant: This level is about a scientific/ materialistic value system which focuses on material fulfillment in the present. It is also about competition. These values often translate into business spirit and scientific challenges. Emphasis is on “making it in this life,” gaining status and keeping up with the Joneses. Instead of discipline and law, it is money that rules this world.
  6. 1850 CE, friends (green) becomes significant: This level is about a pluralistic, egalitarian, relativistic and subjectivist world view. People become sociocentric, they search for personal fulfillment, come to peace with their inner selves and acceptance by others. Progress and profit are seen as potentially dangerous if not well-managed. Harmony, equality and social acceptance are key values, as is self-realization.
  7. 1950 CE, integrative (yellow) becomes significant: This level is about systems thinking. People search for integrated living, trying to find a balance among their own needs and the needs of others. The world is evaluated in terms of competence. Authority as contextual and based on expertise. Society is information-based. Individual competence in adapting to circumstances determines quality of life. People are open to learning at any time and from any source. Freedom and autonomy are important as regulations and structures limit one’s choices. Creating abundance and reaching win-win partnerships are the new way of life. This level can be viewed as an expansive state of survival.
  8. 1970, holistic (turquoise) becomes significant: This level is about the ability to express self needs and desires without judgment but in an atmosphere that avoids harm to others so that all life and not just the self will benefit. Holistic can be seen as an expansive state of safety.
  9. 2001, facilitating (coral) becomes significant: This level is about self-motivated stewardship of the environment and consolidation of global activities. Facilitating is an expansive state of power.
World Distribution of Graves’ Values

The time between new levels becomes shorter over time. The figure above shows the current relative frequency worldwide for the different values. There is actually a continuum from level zero to level 8. Each level represents the location of the mode of the distribution for that level. This allows an individual to gradually migrate from one level to another rather than experience a step function. A “Eureka” experience may cause a step change.

Interacting with the different levels with further analysis and the question of timeare explored in part three of this three part series.


  1. Ken Wilber, What Is Integral Spirituality? (draft) Integral Spiritual Center, Denver, June 2005
  2. Susan Cook-Greuter, Ego Development: Nine Levels of Increasing Embrace.
  3. Wikipedia, 2009
  4. C.W. Graves, Deterioration of Work Standards, Harvard Business Review, Sept/Oct. 1966, Vol. 44, No. 55
  5. Johnnie Moore, Weblog, Wed, 19 March 2008, 18:00:07 GMT
  6. C.W. Graves, The Emergent, Cyclical, Double-Helix Model of the Adult Human Biopsychosocial Systems, Boston, May 20, 1981

About the Authors:

Dr. John Terninko has integrated his diverse experience (electrical engineering, operations research, organizational development, teaching, continuing education and management consultation) to develop a unique intervention style for organizations. He has been teaching and using TRIZ for 13 years. Consistent with his professional life the author was on the cutting edge in QFD and Taguchi for 23 and 27 years, respectively, Terninko has integrated TRIZ, QFD and Taguchi in his approach to design problems and facilitating. Organizations become more profitable by having innovative robust processes and products desired by their customers. He has published books and has presented many papers on each subject. His Step-by-Step QFD book was on’s top 50 Management book list and his Step-by-Step TRIZ book is used by universities and in the industry for training. With Dr. Edward Chaplin, Terninko also wrote Customer Driven Healthcare: QFD for Process Improvement and Cost Reduction.

Mary Ann Kahl brings to her writing an eclectic background which includes work and study in medical epidemiology and herbal medicine, architecture, psychics and world literature, the psychology of creativity and the various design methodologies of TRIZ, QFD and robust design. An 18-year working relationship as John Terninko’s editor has enriched her renaissance skills, even as it has facilitated her ability to finish his sentences. (Of course, a true understanding of this article may mean that she can finish yours, too.)