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Implementation Enhanced Through Values & Beliefs Part 3

By Dr. John Terninko and Mary Ann Kahl

A perspective 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 three of a three-part series. part one and part two offer exploration of valuesystems and how they all relate to the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ).

Interacting with Different Levels

As the provider of a service to a customer, an individual needs to only assure satisfaction of the Graves’ value (involving existence and being) at and below the customer’s level to create an acceptable solution concept. If this assurance of value satisfaction is done in such a way that the customer or customer segment innately perceives their value satisfaction, one can create an environment in which the customer’s movement to a higher level is facilitated. In this way, the customer can be made receptive to a higher level of solution concepts to be offered some time later. This presents a new and interesting contradiction between satisfaction and social change.

Table1 lists different names for the values from part two of this series. The words inward and outward refer to the direction of an individual’s concern. Odd numbered values are directed inward and even numbers are directed outward.

Table 1: Graves/Spiral Dynamics Definitions

First Subsistance

Level Graves 1966 Graves 1982 Cowen 2001 Beck 2007 JobEQ 2008
1 – Beige
inward directed
Autistic behavior Autistic existential Survival Survival sense Survival
2 – Purple
outward directed
Animistic existence Animistic existential Placate spirit Kin spirit Safety
3 – Red
inward directed
Awakening & fright Egocentric existential Power
Power Gods Power
4 – Blue
outward directed
Aggression & power Absolutistic existential Stability Truth force Obedience
5 – Orange
inward directed
Sociocentric attitudes Multiplistic existential Opportunity
Strive drive Success
6 – Green
outward directed
Aggressive individualism Relativistic existential Harmony love Human bond Friends

Second Being

7 – Yellow
inward directed
Pacifistic individualism Systemic existential Independence
Flex flow Integrative
8 – Turquoise
outward directed
Global community life force Holistic
9 – Coral
inward directed

What is the motivation to move on? What is the language necessary to make the next level more desirable? Among which values can communication be understood?

This is the beginning of understanding an expansion of the voice-of-the-customer. It is important to remember that the definition of customer is comprehensive, including purchaser, user, support staff, recycling, etc. Who would normally request help from TRIZ practitioners? Who has final approval for concept selection? Both need to be included.

Clare Graves assumed that his value systems were actually levels of existence into which everything could be plopped (despite the fact that his initial research was conducted on American white, middle-class, college students and consisted of their responses to only one simple question). Are individuals not obligated to identify solution concepts that are suitable for the world experienced by the customer? But which perspective of that world does one choose? How does one know? Are individuals capable of changing their own world view? Not easily. What kind of courtship is necessary to find a match between consultant and customer?

“If the intent is to improve education, it is time to break away from the method – be it tight or loose – and recognize a spectrum of styles, matching teacher, student and technique.”1 With a sleight of hand by changing the word “education” to “the desires and needs of the customer,” one can easily apply Cowan’s advice to TRIZ practitioners.

In Table 2, column six, it identifies the appropriate management system for employees at each value level in column five.2 An additional column, seven, is provided for TRIZ. Apply TRIZ thinking to translate the management system to the behavior of TRIZ practitioners. Current TRIZ behavior seems directed at level five. Level seven would require solution concepts to be directed at global applications. What do you think are the appropriate behaviors for the TRIZ practitioner for the other levels? One should have a clue from the preferred management behavior. Write down answers in the blank column. What would TRIZ associate answers be? Additional columns could be added for the development of educational, environmental and exploratory opportunities for migration to spiritual enlightenment.

Table 2: Appropriate Management System for Each Value
Level Nature of Existence Motivating System Behavior Value Appropriate Managerial System TRIZ Approach
1 Autistic Physiological Amoral Survival Close care, nurturing
2 Animistic Survival Totem, taboo Safety Simple demonstration: force
3 Awakening and fright Order Constrictive Power/action Moralistic, prescriptive
4 Aggressive power-seeking Mastery Power Stability Personal, prescriptive, hard bargaining
5 Sociocentric Belonging Group mindedness Optimal achievement Participative-substitutive Current TRIZ behavior
6 Aggressive individualistic Self-esteem Personal Human potential Goal setting without prescribing means to goals
7 Pacifistic individualistic Information Cognitive Alignment with complex reality Acceptance and support Customer whole world

If a company does not understand the evolution of society and does not truly understand its needs, then there is no way it will satisfy society’s needs and desires – no matter how innovative the design concepts. Anyone in the TRIZ community working with a group of people who have no knowledge or experience of TRIZ is hindered by cross-cultural communication. How one views the world and processes information is influenced by the language people speak (and in which they think), cultural experiences and level of evolution. Sociologist Morris Massey states that the values one holds by the time he are 10 years old will not change without a significant emotional event. One can not predict the form of this event. It could be reading a book, watching a movie, having a bicycle destroyed, having all needs of the current level of existence satisfied or having a concussion with loss of memory or other possibilities. In reality, these values are not discrete but represent a distribution around each value. As illustrated in Figure 1, some people are between the modes for countries and some societies reflect different modal values for distributions. The circles in Figure2 identify the modal level of these distributions.

Figure 1: Frequency Distribution of Values

Figure 2: Distribution of Value (2009) for the World

“In looking at the political systems suggested at each level, it is important to consider each situation on an individual basis. The pace of change will largely depend on the mix of values in a particular country or region. Where power, 3, is the dominant value, any semblance of Western style democracy is not appropriate. It is only when obedience, 4, becomes dominant that authoritarian democracy will start to emerge.”4 Just as diplomacy in politics requires an understanding of the world view of cultures that may be radically divergent from one’s own, the ability to create solution concepts that work for a customer may require that they find a solution that is acceptable within the value system of the customer.

Coping systems of individuals or groups should be one of the requirements considered during creation of solution concepts. The gap between modal value and support by solution concepts should be one of the criteria for selecting the best concept. Life conditions are external to individuals or groups and are an aspect of the environment.

Figure3 shows the theoretical life of a person who started at level one and died after living the seventh level for awhile. Shortly after birth the person’s primary level was survival. The energy devoted to this level was reduced as survival became assured. At the same time, issues grew with the energy devoted to safety. This process continued as the person evolved up the value levels until the person stopped evolving (usually many years before death). Notice any relationship between this visual of a behavioral system pattern and the overlapping patterns of evolution for systems?

Figure 3: Energy Expended to a Particular Value as a Function of Time

Affecting technical patterns of evolution may speed up the evolution of technical systems, possibly causing disruptive designs. One does not have that luxury when dealing with the evolution of the human value system. What are some mechanisms for disrupting and facilitating the evolution of the human value system?

A MEME is a unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another. It is subject to mutation, crossover and adaptation. The MEME is the way we communicate but it is also like a virus. The effectiveness of a unit of cultural information that gets transferred from one human to another is dependent upon the level of the receiver. Each society through which the MEME travels contains its own unique distribution of values. Could MEME be a mechanism for affecting change in human values?

Table3 reflects the limited information currently in the literature about the way people at one value level perceive people at other levels. (Feel free to fill in the blank cells with personal observations of conflicts in perception.) Given this knowledge, consider these questions.

What process can make change desirable?

  • If a person was a level five and she was required to work with a teammate who could be any of the seven levels in Figure 6, how would they interact with each other?
  • The same question can be asked about interacting with seven customers with each living at a different level. Consider a personal value level and the value level of a customer.
  • How can one present their concept to the customer so that he can appreciate its value?
  • Can understanding paths of evolution facilitate understanding of customers and customer segments at different value levels?
  • Given these differing views, what role can the TRIZ community play in creating a fully functioning, sustainable world?
Table 3: How One Level Views Another Level
Level 2 Safety 3 Power 4 Obedience 5 Success 6 Friends 7 Integrative
2 Safety Same Aggressive, powerful, to be both feared and respected as a predator The “system” seeking to take away freedom and spoils through punishment and discipline
3 Power Virtual non-persons to be treated as a mass and exploited as need be Same An easy mark who can be pushed and manipulated to forgive anything
4 Obedience Disobedient enemy in need of punishment or conversion to the one true way Same Colonizing “first world” element with abundance but without respect for custom or the truth Fallen from the faith, too flexible, not anchored in truth or absolutes; unprincipled
5 Success Traditionalists who are inflexible, rigid and out of date Same Touchy-feely, too easy, too uncertain, overly concerned with feelings at the expense of productivity
6 Friends Romantic, mystically tuned-in, noble in natural/
primordial ways
Someone in need of rescue and help, worthy of another chance through understanding and forgiveness Materialistic, self-serving, insensitive, abrupt, too competitive, cold-blooded Same
7 Integrative Same

The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving’s eight paths of system evolution help one to anticipate and create the next stage of development for a system. Is there a way to present solution concepts that meet the client’s current level of value system in order to enhance the acceptability of the concept?

Historically in human development, attempts to facilitate evolution are often rejected, sometimes violently. Can a solution concept be the kind of event that creates a leap in the evolution of values?

Forecasting Value Systems

The journey from Maslow’s primal need of survival to the higher need of self-actualization can be considered a migration from coarse to subtle levels of need. In the language of TRIZ, one can see this as the evolution from macro to micro. Graves’ construction is more complex because of the hypothesized multiple spirals but it still reflects the same migration/evolution.

Table4 is structured with two, six-level spirals, self and society. A third spiral could be universe. This is a migration from the individual values to societal values to universe values. By looking at the patterns of the values of one through six in the spiral self, one should be able to fill out the next two spirals. The literature offers nothing for the shaded area. The text in italics represents forecasts for the future. Power in the self spiral becomes actual democracy in the society spiral. This would require corporations to no longer legally have all the rights and privileges of a person under U.S. settled law. Equivalent corporate rights exist in some countries. What TRIZ methods can one use and what would be their forecasts for the empty cells?

See if the forecasts (in italics) for the evolution of the human values system make sense. Italicized cells offer some concepts for the management system appropriate for the offered concern. Using the management model for interacting, what should be the TRIZ practitioner’s model for interacting and concept generation?

Table 4: Recommended Management Systems
Self Society
Spiral 1 Subsistence (81) Spiral 2 Being (81)
Level Core Concern Appropriate Managerial System Core Concern Appropriate Managerial System
1 Inward
Survival Close care and nurturing Alignment with complex reality Acceptance and support
2 Outward
Safety Simple demonstration; force Global harmony and renewal
3 Inward
Power/action Moralistic and prescriptive *Actual democracy *Strip personhood from corporation
4 Outward
Stability Personal, prescriptive and hard bargaining *Be in state of equanimity
Optimal achievement Participative-substitutive *Reduce possessions
Human potential Goal setting without prescribing means to goals *Remove all fear
* Cells with text in italics are forecasts for future values and management systems

A Small Experiment

In the first article in this series, readers were asked to answer the following question using the 1 through 7 scale below. How do you normally experience time? Circle your choice.

How do you normally experience time?











This question is one of the few dimensions concerning time that was found to be significant in an earlier study.3

That Question of Time

The experiment of putting time on a scale of 1-7 offers interesting results. Several self-perception aspects of time, space and self were investigated in this study. Participants were graduate students, 17 in operations research and 17 in organizational behavior. Figure4 shows the distribution of answers for the two groups. What might be the consequences of having a team composed of these two groups? Which group would one most like regarding this one aspect of time? How would one connect with team members from the other group?

Figure 4: Distribution of Views for Time


During the late 1970s, as a new manager of 14 people the author had the opportunity to practice what he was preaching. The results were disastrous. Back then, one of the dominant managerial philosophies emphasized the difference between Theory X and Theory Y. In the context of what was covered in this three part series, supervising people using Theory X entailed managerial systems appropriate for people with value systems of levels 1, 2, 3 or 4 in Graves’ spiral dynamics. Theory Y employed managerial styles for levels 5, 6 and 7.

The way the author understood the theories at the time was that he should pick the method that was “best” and improve the working environment for everyone he supervised; so he managed all 14 staff members assuming they wanted success and personal fulfillment from their jobs. The author assumed that the reason others did not appreciate his value system was only because they did not have the opportunity to enjoy its benefits.

The secretary quit after two months. The author gave her what he valued: authority, materials and resources and autonomy. She wanted the author to define the rules of her job, to let her know what, when and how he wanted things done. Since the author was not doing this, the secretary became frustrated and so did the author. While the few six level people on his staff were happier in their jobs than they had ever been, it was not until after his secretary left him that the author realized the degree of diversity necessary in working with just 14 people.

The author later discovered a one page questionnaire that he administered and came to appreciate the degree of diversity in values within groups of intelligent, competent people. Having a 14 person staff meant having 14 management styles. This personal history opened the door for the application of both the appropriate solution concept and interaction with the customer by means of TRIZ.


Since Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues first developed TRIZ, its practice has evolved as a technical system and methodology for developing solution concepts. Along with recognizing the changing environment, this methodological evolution also must take into account the evolving and differing value systems of customer segments; TRIZ also must evolve within the constantly changing cultural systems that are defined by need. To understand this aspect of TRIZ evolution, one must be cognizant of the diversity of needs and the system values that are encompassed by those needs through the diverse segments of a customer base and human society.

Practitioners of TRIZ, with their unique and internalized understanding of system evolution, sit in an ideal position to interface new developments in both technical and psychological/sociological knowledge in order to create innovative solutions that meet the challenges of the future. Practitioners of TRIZ need to communicate with their broader range customer at a level that is consistent with the customer’s current level of cultural development. With a sensitive and informed approach, the TRIZ community can be a significant and integral force in guiding the world toward an ideal future. The ideal final result (IFR) is that TRIZ and psychosocial tools will be combined to help fulfill all human needs, including psychosocial development. Given what is known about both TRIZ and social dynamics, how does one define the ideal future?

After the Presentation

One participant said that Figure5 was going to be very useful. The author’s guess is he was an international consultant who now understands his value system and can anticipate synergies and conflicts with his clients. Prior to the presentation of these articles, a questionnaire was made available to the attendees for identifying the distribution of their values. Twenty-one people participated but only three responses were briefly discussed at the end of the presentation. All the coded distributions are available on the Altshuller Institute website.5

Participant AC has strong values for safety, power and integrative. Figure5 shows that the dominant value in Europe tends to be friends. Thus, AC may need to suppress the power value and utilize safety as a talking point to interact with the value integrative. Participant AP may have a difficult time in Europe, but might be right at home in 2002 Zimbabwe. Participant BB would be seen by the Zimbabwe population as weak. Much more can be said but this is dependent upon the individual.

Figure 5: Participant Values


  1. Chris Cowan, Spiral Dynamics: In Education and Training, Nation Values Center, 1996
  2. C.W. Graves, The Emergent, Cyclical, Double-Helix Model of the Adult Human Biopsychosocial Systems, Boston, May 20, 1981
  3. John Terninko, unpublished paper: Cross Cultural Communications: The Role of Thought Systems, Case Western Reserve, June 1967.
  4. Allen Tonkin, Changing Global Values in the 21st Century, 2007
  5. Altshuller Institute webpage.

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.)