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Remembering Lev Shulyak

Remembering Lev Shulyak

| On 17, Jan 2000

Ellen Domb,

Lev Shulyak died Dec. 22, 1999. The announcement came from his partner and son-in-law, Richard Langevin, as follows:

It is with great regret and sadness that I announce the tragic death of Lev Shulyak, President of the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies. While flying a single engine plane, Lev crashed Wednesday afternoon at 3:00PM and passed away shortly thereafter. His presence and strength will be missed.

All of us in the Institute share the pain and loss of our friend, colleague and teacher.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec27, in Pearlman Funeral Home, 1026 Main St., Worcester, MA 01603. Burial we be in Holy Society Cemetery in Leicester. A memorial observance will be held throughout the evening on Monday Dec 27. Memorial contributions may be made to Yeshiva Achei Timimim, 22 Newton Ave., Worcester, MA 01602 USA in lieu of flowers.

Lev Shulyak was a TRIZ teacher, consultant, and translator. He was the founder of the Technical Innovation Center of Worcester, MA, USA. Lev was the principal translator of Genrich Altshuller’s books Suddenly the Inventor Appeared, 40 Principles, and The Innovation Algorithm. Through these books, he introduced many of the TRIZ practioners in the English-speaking world to Altshuller’s work and his imagination. Lev added a measure of his own charm to the retelling of Altshuller’s stories, and he helped many of us understand TRIZ as a way of thinking. He was the founder and first president of the Altshuller Institute, dedicated to educating people about TRIZ and Altshuller’s work. Just a few days ago, he sent a president’s message to the members, reporting on the first year’s successes, and plans for the second year.

As editor of The TRIZ Journal I started receiving remembrances of Lev as soon as the word went out on the TRIZ listbot and to the members of the Altshuller Institute. A few of the tributes are quoted here:

Jim Kowalick: Lev really played a major role in introducing TRIZ to the west – in largest

part perhaps because of his Altshuller translations. … He was the mediator and diplomat who brought together several TRIZ comrades and groups who ordinarily would not have naturally come together. He was an organizer (books; conferences; institutes; etc.). He

will be missed.

Noel Leon Rovira: Although I only had the opportunity to meet Lev once, during TRIZCON99, I realized that he was the right leader for the Altshuller Institute. He contributed to spread the seeds of TRIZ throughout the world. His enthusiasm and support of the Institute has helped us to continue working on the goals of the Institute. We will miss you Lev.

Don Masengale: He will join Altshuller and other kind hearted souls that preceded him, who endeavored to help other’s learn the secrets of thinking. He will be sorely missed, for all that he was, for all that he did, and for all that he touched. His work in “Westernizing” TRIZ will be one of his more important his legacies. … [Lev] generously and sincerely shared his experiences and knowledge.

Toru Nakagawa: The tragic news that Mr. Lev Shulyak passed away on Dec. 22 has given a sad and painful shock to us Japanese TRIZ learners/practitioners, too. His English translation of Altshuller’s textbooks have been further translated and published in Japanese, and are serving as the principal references on TRIZ in Japan. Everybody who got interested in TRIZ in Japan has read these textbooks to study the original ideas of TRIZ as written by the Founder. Together with many Japanese readers of Lev’s TRIZ textbooks, I miss Mr. Lev Shulyak and will memorize his devotion.