Report of A Personal Trip to TRIZ Mother Countries (Russia & Belarus, Aug. 1999)
Editor | On 23, Oct 1999
Report of A Personal Trip to TRIZ Mother Countries (Russia & Belarus, Aug. 1999)
Toru Nakagawa (Osaka Gakuin Univ.)
Aug. 23, 1999 (rev. Sept. 4, 1999)
[Photos inserted: Sept. 20, 1999]
I have just returned from a personal trip to Russia and Belarus for two weeks from August 5 to August 20 to meet a number of TRIZ related people. This article is a summary of the trip for sharing the information with readers in Japan and in the world.
My intention of this trip is to learn how TRIZ has been developed so far and is being extended further currently in its home countries and then to consider how to introduce TRIZ into Japan. Under the current situations of very limited channels of introducing TRIZ references because of the language barrier (especially between Russian and Japanese languages), I thought that communications in person with TRIZ experts in these countries would be necessary for this purpose.
My trip route was: Tokyo – Moscow – Minsk – St. Petersburg – Petrozavodsk – Moscow – Tokyo. In the four cities, I met and discussed with the following TRIZ specialists (in the order of my meeting):
In Minsk (Belarus):
Mr. Dmitry Kucheravy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mr. Peter Chuksin <Peter.Chucksin@usa.net>
Mr. Nikolai Shpakovsky <Nick.Sh@usa.net>
Mr. Anton G. Karlov (Sevastolol, the Ukraine) <email@example.com>
Ms. Svetlana Kucheva
Ms. Anna Korzum
Mr. Sergey Vinogradov
Mr. Victor I. Timohov (Gomel, Belarus)
In Sankt Peterburg (Russia):
Mr. Volyuslav V. Mitrofanov,
Mr. Nick Klementyev <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ms. Safina Elena <email@example.com>
Mr. Sergey Faer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ms. Valentina V. Kryachko
In Petrozavodsk (Russia):
Mr. Michael S. Rubin <email@example.com>,
Ms. Natasha Rubina,
Ms. Alla Nesterenko <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mr. A. B. Selioutski
Ms. Valentina N. Zhuravlyova (wife of late Mr. G. Altshuller) <email@example.com>
Ms. Larissa Komarcheva (daughter-in-law of late Mr. G. Altshuller)
In Moscow (Russia)
Ms. Miloslava M. Zinovkina
Mr. Rifkat T. Gareev <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am very thankful to all these people, who kindly accepted me (and my wife Masako together in various occasions) and gave me a lot of valuable information. Many more people helped me as interpreters between Russian and English languages, as discussants, as guides, as drivers, etc. In planning my trip, Mr. Nikolai Khomenko of Minsk TRIZ School and Mr. Lev Shulyak of the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies helped me so much by introducing me to my hosts. I am very grateful to all these people who are named above or not.
During this trip, I made short presentations in several occasions with a title of “TRIZ in Japan and TRIZ Viewed from a Japanese“. Main points of my talk were as follows:
(a) TRIZ has been introduced into Japan only since two or three years ago. An increasing number of industrial engineers are now interested in TRIZ and its software tools, but they still have difficulty in understanding TRIZ and in applying it to their actual problems.
(b) I understand TRIZ as a combined system of three aspects:
Methodology (a) = New view of technology
Methodology (b) = Thinking way for problem solving
Knowledge base = A collection of examples implementing the methodology (a)
This system has been well established by Mr. Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues/students in the former USSR, but is new to the western countries and has been and is going to give very important impacts on technologies, industries, education, etc.
(c) To make TRIZ applicable by a huge number of newcomer technologists in the world, TRIZ needs to be modernized. Among a number of modernization approaches, including those by Invention Machine Corp. and by Ideation International Inc., I personally feel the USIT approach by Ford Motor Co. is important; USIT is a much simplified version of TRIZ.
(d) To introduce TRIZ into Japan, I believe that TRIZ should be targeted mainly to highly-educated technologists in industries and that a “slow-but-steady” strategy of introduction should be taken. This strategy puts stress on forming pioneering TRIZ practitioners inside companies and on sharing reliable information on TRIZ.
(e) I notice various extensions of application fields of TRIZ other than technologies. I want to learn what aspects of TRIZ are used and further extended in these new fields.
(f) Education of TRIZ, or education with the spirit of TRIZ, should be desirable. What kind of educational activities are carried on? and how TRIZ can be taught to younger people?
Most part of my presentation was accepted by Russian/Belarussian TRIZ specialists but some part caused a lot of discussions, mostly because of a big difference in the stage of TRIZ acceptance between in Russia/Belarus and in Japan, as explained below.
All through my visit, many people were very kind to present their talks, to answer my questions, to discuss important issues, to give me their original references, and so on. Information obtained and issues of discussions are summarized below in accordance with their topics. A list of references given to me during this trip is shown at the end of this report; such references are quoted in [ ] in the relevant text. If the reader find any mistake/misunderstanding, please let me know; I would like to correct them later.
(1) Activities of Minsk Center of TRIZ-Technologies(talk by Mr. Kucheravy  ):
The Minsk School of TRIZ was started by Mr. Valerie Tsourikov (now President of Invention Machine Corp., USA) in 1976 in Radio Electronic University and quickly acquired an all-city status. It started in 1983 the “Jonathan Livingston Project” for teaching students and pupils as creative person. The “Invention Machine Project” was started in 1987, and it moved for the US market in 1991. Mr. Nikolai Khomenko has been leading the Minsk School of TRIZ since 1985.
Minsk School of TRIZ (at present, Minsk Center of TRIZ-Technologies) is a “public organization”, i.e., a loose and open organization of voluntary individuals. The members have their own jobs more or less related to TRIZ, and do work together on some occasions. Their Web site has been updated every Monday since Nov. 1997 by Mr. D. Kucheravy, and serves as the most active information source and archive in Russian language. See: http://www.triz.minsk.by/ (or its mirror site: http://www.trizminsk.org/ ).
|In Minsk: (from left) Ms. A. Korzum, Mr. N. Shpakovsky, Mr. P. Chuksin, Ms. S. Kucheva, Mr. A. Karlov, and Mr. D. Kucheravy
(2) TRIZ School in St. Petersburg (talk by Mr. Mitrofanov):
In 1969, Mr. Mitrofanov happened to read an article from a newspaper, accidentally appeared in his mailbox (this newspaper he had not usually taken in), on Mr. Altshuller’s school in Baku. It’s title was “To educate for an Edison”. Being interested in the article, he searched hard and finally bought Altshuller’s textbook “Algorithm of Invention”. He was so amazed and read it three times. Since he was a chief of the lab on a large semiconductors factory “Svetlana” at that time, he had many technological problems to solve, and Altshuller’s textbook inspired him a hope.
First, he gathered 20 young people invited by Young Communist Party (Comsomol) as recommended by the factory’s authority as “best people”. They were glad to to listen to him but they did not have problems to solve. He gave another three-day seminar on “How to Invent” to 50 employees in the lab. But the factory people rejected the new methodology. He went to higher director and was allowed to give another seminar to 150 engineers, i.e., senior technologists, well educated technical people; but it also was in vain because they did not have time.
In 1970, following a suggestion by director of Vyborgsky Cultural Centre, Mr. Mitrofanov opened a new evening school. This was a success, resulting 20 good students coming voluntarily. Mr. Vladimir Petrov (now in Israel) was among the first students.
A journalist wrote an article on this class and Mr. Altshuller read it. Mr. Mitrofanov received a letter from Mr. Altshuller written with a half-positive and half-critical stance. Then he received a man sent by Mr. Altshuller for getting to know him better and discussed with the man for full two days. After this discussion, he received a second letter from Mr. Altshuller approving Mitrofanov’s school as a real TRIZ school; documents (a course of lectures, books, recommendations, etc.) with one meter high came with the letter. He was requested at the same time to report the school’s activities every week or month.
In a year, the TRIZ school had to be interrupted: the Cultural Centre was closed during long-lasting repair of building.
At this time, the official Society of Soviet Innovators and Development Engineers (“VOIR”) stood against Mr. Mitrofanov’s evening school, because the new TRIZ methodology was considerably better than their conventional ways.
So he could not get official support for TRIZ; and only with the support by Prof. Kamnev (very shortly before he died), the TRIZ evening school restarted in a machinery factory and continued there for three years.
In 1973, regular lectures started and the school received good students. It was a two-year education system. Some graduates became the teachers of the TRIZ School; they include Mr. Litvin, Mr. Boris Zlotin, Mr.
Vladimir Petrov, etc.
In this way St. Petersburg TRIZ School became to make an important role in the TRIZ community. In Petrozavodsk TRIZ Meeting held every year since 1974, once 70 people among the 200 participants were from St. Petersburg.
During the period of Perestroika and afterwards, many TRIZ specialists in St. Petersburg went abroad and some others started firms by themselves.
Nowadays, St. Petersburg TRIZ School has 60 to 70 students (once at maximum time 200 students). The TRIZ School is operated as an evening school as before, and many students came from industries as well as universities. The training is hard and only about 20 students successfully defend their diplomas every year. (The contents of the training will be described later.)
|In St. Petersburg: (from left) Mr. N. Klementyev, T. Nakagawa, Mr. V. Mitrofanov, and members/graduates of TRIZ School
(3) Moscow TRIZ Center(Talk by Ms. Zinovkina and Mr. Gareev  )
In Moscow, I visited the Inter-University Science and Education Center of Engineering Creativity at Moscow State Industrial University. This is the TRIZ School most officially organized among those I visited during this trip. Ms. Zinovkina told me that she started this activity in 1972 after finishing Mt. Altshuller’s TRIZ school in Baku.
This Center is the core of a network of 15 universities/institutes all over Russia. It operates the program of “Continuing Education” of TRIZ. This program is a system of education and teachers’ training for all levels of schools, i.e., kindergartens, primary schools, junior & senior highschools, professional schools (“colleges” in the Russian system), universities/institutes, and (graduated) engineers. All the course materials are already established and regularly used in the education of students.
There are three types of students in this Center: (a) university students majoring in various fields and wishing to learn TRIZ, (b) university students or teachers who want to teach TRIZ philosophy at various schools, and (c) industrial engineers (or other people) who want to learn and use TRIZ. The Center serves for the training of these students on a regular basis.
(4) Mr. Genrich Altshuller’s life and his devotion to TRIZ (talk by Ms. Zhuravlyova and talk by Mr. Rubin)
[Ms. Zhuravlyova says that Mr. Altshuller recorded his autobiography in audio tapes in his latter days. The tapes do not contain his days in the concentration camps on which Mr. Altshuller did not like to talk much. ]
|In Petrozavodsk: Listening to Ms. Zhuravlyova’s talk at late Mr. Altshuller’s guest room (middle: interpreter)
Mr. Genrich Saulovich Altshuller, the Founder of TRIZ, was born on October 15, 1926 in Tashkent in a family of a journalist father. He graduated the Institute of Oil and Chemistry in Baku. (He did not receive any higher academic degree, but actually many people treated him just like a professor.) He developed a talent of invention from his young age.
In 1946, Mr. Altshuller was working in “Department of Creating” in the navy office in Baku for helping people solve problems. While doing this job, he studied about many inventors, and thought of a new technology for innovation. It included the steps to solve technical contradiction. So he and Mr. R. V. Shapiro wrote a proposal to Stalin that the invention processes should be much improved with their new technology.
In 1949, he and Mr. Shapiro were arrested and sent to a concentration camp. In the camp, Mr. Altshuller found many excellent scientists in various fields and listened to their talks (or lectures to Mr. Altshuller alone). He studied hard to understand and memorize them at heart because no writing facilities were there. Thus he obtained a wide range of knowledge and made his TRIZ technology stronger. He refused to do labor work in the cold outdoor. This of course made conflicts with the control officers and with other people in the camp. Mr. Altshuller found a unique solution to comfort them; it was to tell them interesting stories, in the form of scientific fictions. He created various SF stories and became a good story teller.
In 1954, Mr. Altshuller was released from the camp after Stalin’s death, but could not have a job. So he wrote scientific fictions with the pen name of H. Altov to earn money. He travelled a lot and made seminars on his ideas of TRIZ technology of invention in various places.
In 1956, Mr. Altshuller published his first paper (with Mr. Shapiro as a coauthor) on TRIZ, i.e. “About a Technology of Creativity”. He worked for ministry of construction for some time.
In 1961, he published his first book “How to Learn to Invent”. This book was printed and sold in 50,000 copies. He traveled around and gave seminars on TRIZ in various places, and developed his work deeper.
In 1970, Mr. Altshuller was now allowed to open an institute for invention technology in Baku. It was called “Azerbajan Institute of Invention Creativity”. It was not an institute in the official education system but a school opened on Sundays. Engineers and university students came and studied on voluntary bases, besides doing their normal jobs and university courses. The training was intensive and contained a lot of homework for students to solve task problems and to make his/her own inventions as diploma. It was a two-year course. Many good students came and turned into TRIZ experts of the first generation.
In this period, Mr. Altshuller published his book of “Algorithms of Invention” (first edition in 1969, and second edition in 1973). This book included descriptions of ARIZ-71 and the 40 Inventive Principles and the Table of technical contradiction elimination. A video tape was made in 1973 as a TV program to vividly document Mr. Altshuller’s class.
In 1974, however, the authority disapproved Altshuller’s TRIZ school. Mr. Altshuller had to quit his regular lectures, and most of his students went apart on their own ways. This caused distribution of the first-generation TRIZ specialists in various places in and around the former Soviet Union. They started their own careers as TRIZ experts, and many of them taught their own students forming groups of TRIZ specialists. Mr. Altshuller traveled around and gave seminars in various places, e.g. Moscow, Baku, Novosibirsk, and other cities. He received many letters from his students and his students’ students and replied to all the letters with detailed discussions on problem solving methodologies. His books were translated into various languages, such as Bulgarian, Finnish, German, etc. (but not in English in this period). In this manner, he led all the development of TRIZ and its activities until mid 1980s.
In 1985, the era of Perestroika started. Many TRIZ specialists had to find new jobs/areas to work and some of them emigrated to the western countries. Since this period, Mr. Altshuller shifted his main interest from TRIZ in technology to the Theory of Development of Creative Personality. In 1989, the International Association of TRIZ (i.e., “MATRIZ”, see below) was organized and Mr. Altshuller became its President.
In 1990, due to the unstable social situations after the end of the former USSR, Mr. Altshuller left Baku to live in Petrozavodsk, a city 300 km north of St. Petersburg. His health was not in a good condition, but he continued his work and published a new book “How to Become a Genius”  with Mr. Igor M. Vertkin in 1994. He continued his intensive letter communications, received many guests/students at his apartment, and talked much about TRIZ, creative personality, and necessity of high morality in using TRIZ.
In summer 1998, he selected 65 people in the world as “TRIZ Masters” and issued the diplomas with his signature.
On September 24, 1998, Mr. Genrich Saurovich Altshuller died in Petrozavodsk at the age of 71 finising his devotion to the mankind through his study of technology of invention and creative personality.
(5) The Altshuller family (talk by Ms. Zhuravlyova)
The family of late Mr. Altshuller currently includes Ms. Valentina N. Zhuravlyova (wife), Ms. Larissa Komarcheva (daughter-in-law), and Ms. Yuna Komarcheva (grand daughter, 14 years old). They live in Petrozavodsk in two nearby flats of the same apartment building. I was honored to meet and talk with them personally at Mr. Altshuller’s guest room.
Ms. Zhuravlyova talked to me that she met Mr. Altshuller on the seaside of the Caspian Sea when she was just finishing her medical internship in Baku, and got married with him in 1956. After his influence, she became a writer of scientific fictions and published several books. She showed me her two works published in Japanese translation in 1959 and 1968. She was also trained by him as a TRIZ specialist and a good secretary/editor. Mr. Altshuller did not use a personal computer after his accidental loss of files; he wrote various manuscripts and she typed in on a PC, then again and again he revised his manuscripts. She seems healthy, even though weak in legs.
Ms. Larissa Komarcheva is also a TRIZ specialist and a good secretary/editor. Mr. Altshuller also taught his only grand-daughter Yuna affectionately in her childhood to become a creative person .
Ms. Zhuravlyova and Ms. Komarcheva say that Mr. Altshuller has left a lot of unpublished manuscripts and letter communications. All the letters he sent during 50 years of his work were recorded in copies, and are filed for each communicant together with the letters he received. Such documents are full of rooms. The Altshuller family is now working for editing them to publish in about ten volumes.
|In Petrozavodsk: With the Altshuller family: (from left) T. Nakagawa, Ms. Valentina Zhuravlyova (Mr. Altshuller’s wife), Ms. Larissa Komarcheva (daughter-in-law), interpreter; (front) Ms. Yuna Komarcheva (granddaughter)
(6) Training on TRIZ (Talk by Mr. Mitrofanov and talk by Ms. Zinovkina)
Training courses on TRIZ are carried out in a number of TRIZ schools in Russia, Belarus, and other countries. They have Mr. Altshuller’s TRIZ school in Baku as their model. The training is intensive and high level.
The TRIZ School in St. Petersburg is currently operated as follows:
The school is operated as two-year course with two days a week. Lectures are given by Mr. Mitrofanov and several other TRIZ specialists. The course is well established but does not use any fixed textbook; the Mitrofanov’s recent book  and Mr. Iwanov’s book  contain essential parts of their lectures at this course. There is a collection of problems & solutions; each student has to solve 100 to 120 problems per year. This requires hard work at the school and at home. At the end of the first year, students have to defend their pre-diploma; students are anxious about and often afraid of this. At the end of the second year, students have to defend their diploma. This diploma defending is done openly on the third day of the School’s Celebration Days in front of the audience of about 90 people.
Currently the School has 60 to 70 students. Many of them are engineers and businessmen, who are working after their graduation of universities/institutes. University students are also attending at the TRIZ course while they are studying in their various major fields. Lectures are given in one class. The course requests a high standard in the diploma and about 20 students successfully defend the diploma every year. Only highly educated people succeed in the diploma. Mr. Mitrofanov believes there is no simple way to learn TRIZ.
As another example of TRIZ school, I am going to summarize the curriculum in Moscow’s Inter-University Center:
The training of engineers (i.e., university graduates in technology) is usually done as a sequence of intensive seminars. An intensive seminar of 4 to 5 days (with 8 hours per day) forms one unit. Separating by a week or longer, three to four units of the seminar are taught in sequence. Thus the course contain about 120 hours of training. The separation of the seminars is supposed to be desirable for the trainees to think about the lectures/lessons in their own environments. For the graduation, the trainees must make their own invention during the course.
For the education of university students, the Center provides a 220 hour course throughout the 4 years. Students of science, technology, humanity, etc. may attend the course. Various aspects of TRIZ are taught in steps during the 4 years. Students are requested to solve a large number of problems during the course, and to make an invention for the graduation.
During the discussion, when I talked about 3-hour lectures and 3-day training seminiars on TRIZ (and on USIT), Russian and Belarussian TRIZ specialists all thought them “too short” and do not seem to understand their necessity.
My point here is that in every country it should be necessary to provide a full set of courses; which may include 3-hour lectures, 3-day training seminars, 3-month training courses, and 2-year education courses, etc. Short lectures and seminars are necessary for busy industry people and suitable for beginners. In Japan, currently there are no TRIZ specialists who have taken long-term education of TRIZ; this means that we should make much serious efforts for fully understanding TRIZ and for establishing high-quality teaching courses of TRIZ in Japan. It may be necessary to open such a course in English at first (maybe not in Russian).
(7) Understanding the Classical/Technical TRIZ
The Classical TRIZ (mostly in the technology fields) has been published in textbooks by Mr. Altshuller and a few others in Russian. But many of them were limited in number of copies, and are now not easy to buy through bookstores. Translation into English and further into Japanese is desirable for better understanding. The language barrier is the most serious problem which delays the acceptance of TRIZ in Japan (and in other western countries).
I talked with many TRIZ specialists and pointed out the needs of good examples of solving technical problems for Japanese TRIZ learners. But for the Russian/Belarussian TRIZ specialists, the usefulness of TRIZ in technologies seems to be an old issue well proven in the history. They say there are a lot of real applications documented well in official/published reports. In Minsk Mr. Shpakovskyhas presented his work on the development of a new design of a stripper (i.e., a tractor for harvesting) . In Petrozavodsk,Mr. Rubin showed his work of an electrical power station built at a neck of a bay in the Northern Sea for using ebb and flow of tide; but the thick document was written in Russian and I could not read it. Since there are a lot of examples in textbooks and course materials in their mother tongue (Russian), the application of TRIZ in technology fields seems for them rather trivial practices. In Japan, we need to overcome this demerit of lack of readable examples as soon as possible.
On the other hand, Russian and Belarussian TRIZ specialists do not seem to have successful experiences of introducing TRIZ into companies (or similar industrial organizations) in a larger scale (such as hundreds of engineers). They seem to work as consultants or expert leaders in their jobs in such organizations, i.e., without large-scale knowledge transfer of TRIZ to company engineers.
In Moscow I learned that a company is now going to send ten engineers to the university’s TRIZ training course. I have not heard of any actual results from former cases of similar group training. Since the training courses are well established with high-quality staff, such training would make fruits in future.
It was interesting that Mr. Kucheravy of Minsk TRIZ School worked as a consultant in a South-Korean big company for one year, came back to Minsk for a month, and was just going to the company for the second year. Korean companies often behave in a way similar to US companies. We, Japanese TRIZ promoters, should learn more seriously their trials of inviting TRIZ consultants from abroad.
(8) Extension of TRIZ application to scientific and biological fields.
Mr. Mitrofanovgave me his recently-published book  , entitled “From Technological Rejection to Scientific Discovery“. Since this is written in Russian, I cannot read it at moment; Mr. Klementyev kindly spent time to translate the chapter titles into English for me. Using physics of microelectronic devices and physical chemistry as examples, Mr. Mitrofanov wrote his unique approaches to scientific discovery on the basis of TRIZ philosophy. The book is based on his lectures at the St. Petersburg TRIZ school, and published in September 1998 with only 550 copies. This book should be translated into English/Japanese.
Mr. Timohov(from Gomel, Belarus) gave me his work  , a book “A Collection of Creative Problems in Biology, Ecology, and TRIZ” (written in Russian). He posed 80 examples and discussed on them using TRIZ. Biology and ecology are new fields of application for TRIZ.
Mr. Vinogradov, in Minsk, is working as a patent specialist and doing research for himself. He says he works on quantum electronic devices and found with TRIZ a different type of superconductivity, but I could not understand his explanation.
(9) Extensions of the TRIZ applications to services, business management, etc.
I met many TRIZ specialists who had much experiences of applying TRIZ to technical problems and lately changed their main activity fields into services, business management, etc. and are still using TRIZ. Social and economic situations in the former USSR since late 1980s urged or forced them into these changes, they say.
My main interests in interviewing these people are: What aspects of TRIZ can be used and what kind of extensions of TRIZ are necessary in the new fields of business-related areas?
Mr. Timohov, coming from Gomel in Belarus, says that the following aspects of TRIZ are useful in business consulting:
(a) resource analysis,
(c) ideality, and
(d) anticipatory analysis (i.e. viewing the future changes)
Mr. Faer, in St. Petersburg, says he changed his main working area from technology to social/business area around 1990 and is working actively in advertisement by forming a political consultant group. On my question “What are the main principles of TRIZ you use in the new field?”, he pointed out the following three:
(b) Ideal Solution, and
(c) to turn harm into benefit.
As an example of the contradiction, he mentioned about the propaganda for election campaign and said “People do not want to read, but take a glance.” So he used small slips of paper for the campaign. In the slips, he wrote his main messages not directly but in a way people can natuarally go further in their mind. As an example of Ideal Solution, he followed the principles of “minimal expenses” and “not existing” by using rumors instead of the paper slips.
Mr. Faer gave me his book  “Methods of Strategies and Tactics of Election Campaign” (1998). He selected 73 methods and explained them with formulation, comments, etc. While talking with him I recalled the tactics written in ancient Chinese literatures; and he showed me his citation of them at the end of his book. Mr. Faer says that the most important message he obtained from TRIZ is “Be brave to solve problems”. He believes TRIZ is applicable to life and any other areas. He loves his new application fields because the responses of his trials come back in a day, instead of months or years. See his Web site in English at http://users.nevalink.ru/faer/index_en.htm .
Mr. Rubin, in Petrozavodsk, says that TRIZ is a technology of thinking (i.e., a philosophy in your mind) and that the following three points are the essence of TRIZ and are useful in business-oriented problems as well:
(a) To find and analyze the conflicts,
(b) Ideal solution,
(c) “Using their/all opportunities”
He, of course, pointed out the necessity of specialized knowledge in business, etc. but found TRIZ useful as the background. He is now working for Karelia Republic (whose capital is Petrozavodsk and whose population is 0.8 million) in a number of projects, teaching at business training seminars, and working as a professional business consultant. On hearing of the three points, I was rather surprised with their similarity to the ones commented by Mr. Faer. So I asked him if there was any consensus on this issue; he said there was no consensus but he just understood TRIZ in such a way.
Discussions with these TRIZ specialists have revealed to me that they use TRIZ as their way of thinking and would not depend on details of invention principles, contradiction matrix, technological effects, etc. I understand that since these specialists understood and used TRIZ in its depth for many years before their shifting their work fields, they were rather free of details of TRIZ and tried to tackle new problems by using the core philosophy of TRIZ. This situation may be much different from those for the western people who knew various methodologies but TRIZ in the business-related fields and are lately trying to learn and use TRIZ. This point should be considered carefully when any new TRIZ learners try to apply TRIZ to the business-related areas.
(10) Education of TRIZ to Children
I am much impressed to learn that in Russia and Belarus there are a lot of activities being carried on for the education of TRIZ (or creative thinking) to children.
In Minsk TRIZ School, the “Jonathan Livingston Project” is their main activity. It was started in 1983 for the research of education of children for creative personality. (See their Web site for more detail (in Russian): http://www.triz.minsk.by/ or its mirror site: http://www.trizminsk.org/ .
Ms. Korzum is working for pre-school education of creative thinking and teach/train new/old teachers for such education. She started in 1995 an experimental project of training teachers for preschool educationof creativity in a pedagogical department of a university. She says the course includes the methods of teaching various TRIZ methodologies, e.g. systems thinking with nine screen method, developing creative imagination, contradiction solving through theme work, etc.
I was not sure how these TRIZ methods could be taught to children in kindergartens; so I asked. On my request, she demonstrated how to teach children with the TRIZ nine-window method; she used an example of postal communication. The system of problem is drawn as a letter in an envelope; its subsystem is characters, and its supersystem is an airplane for airmails. The old system may be drawn as smoke from fire. Then, children of 5 to 6 years old can often reply the system in the future as “a computer”, she says. In this scheme, various ideas are presented with pictures of examples and verbal communication. Children can learn the scheme (or the basic ideas in TRIZ) without much explanation, and can use them in drawing other examples.
Ms. Korzum’s student teachers obtained the first and the second prizes in the pedagogical contests of all Belarussian preschool teachers, she says. The effects of the TRIZ-based education are now widely known in Belarus; and the Minsk TRIZ School is now asked by the Minsk Government Center for Education to propose a new education scheme for their country’s public education.
In St. Petersburg, I met Ms. Kryachko. She gave me two volumes of her teacher-training textbook [9, 10] of TRIZ education to children. She explained me her way of introducing the technical contradiction to children. She wanted me to find any opportunity for translating her books into Japanese and publishing them in Japan.
In Petrozavodsk, Ms. Rubina is working for TRIZ-based children education and its teacher training. She gave me a full set of textbooks of her courses , consisting of teacher-training text, teachers’ manual, and children’s workbooks for all the classes. Among these, children’s workbooks are most interesting for me because they reflect every detail of her education philosophy. They should be worthy of translation into Japanese and of discussing with professionals in children education.
In Petrozavodsk, Ms. Nesterenko is also working for TRIZ-based children education and its teacher training. She opens a WWW site of her TRIZ expermental class; there are posted a number of works made by children (http://home.onego.ru/~all_triz).
Ms. Nesterenko says the Mr. Altshuller started in 1970s the education of TRIZ to younger pupils. Then the students of TRIZ education became younger and younger, down to nurserys, together with the shift towards development of creativity. Mr. Altshuller worked on the Theory of Development of Creative Persons for years; but the theory was not developed well enough yet, Ms. Nesterenko says, mostly because Mr. Altshuller’s interests moved further towards the study of great creative persons.
She is operating a course for training children’s teachers for TRIZ (or creativity) education. She first teach them on TRIZ and then how to teach. One cycle of full 5-day seminars is good for them to start working, but three such cycles are usually necessaly for them to understand and to perform the children education. Such training coursea are often opened during vacation seasons.
|In Petrozavodsk: (from left) T. Nakagawa, Mr. A. Selioutski, Ms. A. Nesterenko, and interpreter
In Moscow, the Inter-University Center of Science and Education of Engineering Creativity is working for the “continuing education of TRIZ” as described before in (3). This covers the training of teachers for kindergartens, primary schools, and highschools. This is the center of the network of 15 universities/institutes (including the ones in St. Petersburg and in Petrozavodsk mentioned above), and has well established the courses and course materials.
As described above, in every city I visited, I met people who are working for education of TRIZ to children or for education of children for creative personality. This impressed me with much difference in the maturity of accepting/understanding TRIZ in Russia/Belarus and in Japan. Many such TRIZ specialists, especially of younger generation, asked me “Why don’t you try TRIZ education to children in Japan? Education since younger ages should be more effective.”
I replied: In Japan, the introduction of TRIZ is very new, since only two or three years ago. Industrial engineers are now interested in TRIZ and want to try to use it in their actual problems. So, we should train them first and prove the effectiveness of TRIZ by ourselves in Japan. When we are confident of TRIZ’s effectiveness, then we can go ahead to teach TRIZ in universities to engineering students. Then the education should come down step by step to lower and lower people. We cannot (and should not) skip any of the steps for safer and better education.
In Petrozavodsk, in the discussion with the Altshuller family, this issue of the education to children was also discussed. Ms. Zhuravlyova told me that Mr. Altshuller was very careful to teach children. He often said training of TRIZ should be targeted first to engineers and then to univesity students, and then to highschool students. Teachers who teach TRIZ to children must understand TRIZ deeply and must understand children’s psychology, he was saying. At home, Mr. Altshuller himself taught his grand daughter Yuna affectionately in her childhood to let her understand the essence of the TRIZ philosophy.
In this connection, I believe that we should carefully distinguish teaching new (and apparently creative at moment) methodologies to children from bringing up creative abilities in children. This argument may come deeper to the issue of the nature of creativity with TRIZ. If a person remember various problems, solutions, principles, effects, etc. in the TRIZ textbooks, and can use them almost automatically to various problems, is he/she really creative? The answer should be YES on the apparant basis of his/her solutions and inventions; but is he/she really creating or just following precedants? Can he/she get out of the TRIZ way of thinking and think by him/herself?
(11) International Association of TRIZ (talk by Mr. Mitrofanov and by Mr. Rubin)
The International Association of TRIZ (whose Russian abbriviation is “MATRIZ“) was established in 1989 with Mr. Altshuller as the President. At present, Mr. Mitrofanov is the President and Mr. Rubin serves as the Director under the Board Meeting. It includes a number of TRIZ specialist groups voluntarily organized in the units of cities, regions, or countries: such as TRIZ Moscow, TRIZ St. Petersburg, etc. The Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies (in USA) is one of such organizations, from the standpoint of the Association. The Association’s rule says any three persons can form such a unit and belong to the Association with the membership due of 100 US dollars per person. The Association now uses Russian language as the formal language, but is going to open a Web site in English as well. The Association publishes the “Journal of TRIZ” in Russian (I am not sure how many volumes have been published recently). See the official Web site: http://matriz.karelia.ru/ .
I was urged by Mr. Mitrofanov to organize a unit “TRIZ Japan“, but I responded that it may be too early. In Japan, we should first think of a possibility of forming a nonprofit society of TRIZ as one of academic societies in technology. We would like to make it a society in which all the people who are interested in TRIZ may come and work/study together independent of their affiliations and fields. I feel the organization of such a society needs a lot of efforts and is still too early to start.
(12) Language Barrier and Necessity of Translation
During this trip I was happy because every group provided good interpreters between Russian and English languages for communication. But once I am back in Japan and want to read books and references, I am facing the serious problem of the language barrier to Russian. As a matter of fact, it took much time for me to make a list of references (given to me during the trip) in the bottom of this report. Though I have been learning the Russian language for these 16 months, I cannot at all read the texts yet. It may take a few more years for me to be able to read them for myself.
It is very much desirable in Japan to translate a number of important textbooks and references from Russian to Japanese. Unfortunately, however, there are very few Russian-to-Japanese translators available yet in Japan. We have to make serious efforts for finding good translators from Russian to Japanese and good publishers who understand the importance of introducing TRIZ. If any reader of this report has connections with such people/organization, please let me know by email.
During the trip, I was also asked from Russian authors about any possibility of publicizing their works much wider in Japan and other countries. Such publication will certainly have benefits to the authors.
For solving this language barrier partly, I think there are two other ways. One is that the Russian people translate their works into English and publish them in books, journals, or Web sites. Second is that people in any country translate the Russian references into English and publish them. In Japan, three TRIZ textbooks are already published in this way translating from Russian into English and further into Japanese. Since English is now the defact common language in the world, publication in English may be a necessity.
(13) Impression of Russia and Belarus as a tourist
Before this trip, I had the only experience of stopping over in Moscow for two days in 1973. Last time and this time, I stayed in the same hotel in Moscow, i.e. Intourist Hotel. St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, and Minsk were all new to me (and my wife) in this trip.
The impression of Moscow this time was sad in my eyes which remember the glory of the old days. Main streets in the center of the city are dirty with dusts and many old cars are rashing dangerously and crowdedly on very wide roads. There are a number of shopping centers in the city selling imported costumes, perfumes, watches, and souvenirs, but they are rather monotonic and do not sell things for everyday life for ordinary people. I visited some department stores and food shops along the main streets, and disappointed to find very few merchandizes.
In Moscow I visited Kremlin, Dostevsky’s house, Albert Street, etc. I used the metros conveniently and safely and found many beautifully-built metro stations. There are many poor people begging donations in metro stations and sightseeing places. I feel sorry for their lives especially in cold winters.
St. Petersburg gave me better impression. It is a beautiful city with a lot of nice buildings since the era before the revolution. Many churches and old nobles’ palaces have been restored recently. Parks and gardens are located in the city center area and are clean. The roads, however, are very bad; especially the rail bases of streetcars are terribly damaged everywhere probably because of the heavy traffic of cars.
Petrozavodsk is a nice small city having the population of 400,000. It is located on a beautiful lake and among woods. The life seems to be quiet and I did not see any sign of economical crisis from my eyes as a tourist. The TRIZ community in this city seem to know one another closely.
Minsk is a city of widely-spread modern buildings, because the city was reconstructed after the war from disastrous damages. The economic situations of Belarus is severe, I am told. One US dollar is officially equivalent to 300,000 Belarussian Rubles, but actually equibalent to 440,000 Belarussian Rubles in black markets. Ordinary wallet is not large enough, and people use a rubber band to hold a bundle of bills. In a park at the city center, a monument of mothers with tears is standing for comforting the soldiers killed in the Afghanistan War. This monument is the most deeply impressive and beautiful one I ever saw.
|In Minsk: (from left) Mr. A. Chuksin, Mr. D. Kucheravy, T. Nakagawa, Masako Nakagawa, Mrs. Karlov, Mr. A. Karlov, and Mr. N. Shpakovsky
Russian and Belarussian TRIZ people were very kind to us. We are so grateful for all the people. We also had chances of meeting four ladies as professional sightseeing guides. They were intelligent and speak English fluently and naturally.
In arranging this trip I was assisted by Mr. Yuri Dyachenko of Irene Travel Agency in Moscow. The Russian and Belarussian Embassies request travelers to submit a detailed itinerary and a set of vouchers of hotel and transportation reservations for obtaining the visas. Since I could not get a full support from Japanese travel agencies. I searched and found this Russia/US-based agency on the Internet (http://www.interknowledge.com/russia/irene/). Email communications with Mr. Dyachenko (<email@example.com>) helped me a lot for smooth preparation for the trip.
At the end of this trip report, I would like to conclude with a sentence I wrote at the end of my presentation “TRIZ in Japan and TRIZ Viewed from a Japanese”:
List of References:
I was given the following references during the trip. All the references except the OHP presentations are written in Russian. The titles are temporarily translated into English.
 (OHP presentation) “What is Minsk’s TRIZ-Technologies Center?”, D. Kucheravy (1999).
 (OHP presentation) “OTSM-TRIZ: Introduction to Problem Solving Technology”, N. Khomenko (1999).
 (OHP presentation) “Developing an optimal design of stripper”, N. Shpakovsky (1999).
 (Journal)Journal of TRIZ, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1990. (First issue of the Journal.)
 (Journal) Journal of TRIZ, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1992.
 (Journal) Journal of TRIZ, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1992.
 (Book) “A Collection of Creative Problems in Biology, Ecology, and TRIZ“, V. I. Timohov, TRIZ-ShANS, St. Petersburg, 1996. p. 103.
 (Book) “From Technological Rejection to Scientific Discovery“, V.V. Mitrofanov, St. Petersburg, 1998. p. 395.
 (Book) “Teachers on TRIZ”, Vol. 2, ed. V. B. Kryachko, St. Petersburg, 1996. p. 180.
 (Book) “Teachers on TRIZ”, Vol. 3, ed. V. B. Kryachko and M. M. Zinovkina, St. Petersburg, 1999. p. 182.
 (Book) “Formulas of Creation, or How to Learn to Invent: A book for senior-class students“, G. I. Iwanov, Procveshenie, Moscow, 1994. p. 208. (A textbook of St. Pertersburg TRIZ School)
 (Book) “Methods of Strategies and Tactics of Election Campaigns“, Sergey Faer, 1998. p. 136.
 (Paper) “Development Problems TRIZ – TRTL”, M. S. Rubin, Journal of TRIZ, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1991, pp. 6-8.
 (Paper) “What will be after final victory?”, G. Altov and M. Rubin, in Knowledge-Power, Vol. 4, 1991, pp. 5-10.
 (Paper) “Prediction Methods on TRIZ Principles”, M. S. Rubin, Bulletin of Prediction Academy, No. 1, 1999, pp. 19-29.
 (Books) A set of teacher’s textbook, teacher’s manual, and pupil’s workbooks for children education on TRIZ. by N. Rubina, 1999.
 (Booklet) “Puzzle Land”, A. A. Nesterenko, Rostov, 1993. p. 23.
 (Book) “Pedagogics + TRIZ”, Vol. 3, TRIZ-ShANS, Minsk, 1997. p. 63.
 (Book) “Pedagogics + TRIZ”, Vol. 4, TRIZ-ShANS, Gomel, 1998. p. 63.
 (Booklet) Pupil’s workbook for the Course of Development of Creative Imagination on the Basis of TRIZ, ed. A. A. Nestrenko, Petrozavodsk, 1996. p. 19.
 (Book) “How to Become a Genius: The life Strategy of A Creative Person“, G. Altshuller and I. Vertkin, Minsk, 1994. p. 479.
 (Journal)Key Technologies, No. 0, June, 1998. p. 40. Special issue on TRIZ, containing four latest papers by G. Altshuller.
 (Photo) A photograph of Mr. G. Altshuller in 1959.
 (Note) “List of TRIZ Books in Russian”, D. Kucheravy, 1999. Annotated bibliography written in English.
 (Paper) “Concepts of Realizing a System of Continuing Formation of Creative Thinking”, M. M. Zinovkina and R.T. Gareev, 1999.