Research Network on Systematic Innovation (ReNSI)

About the name

We had some discussion to name the project Research Network on Systematic Innovation (ReNSI) or Contradiction Oriented Systematic Innovation (COSI) but decided to use the former since it emphasizes the people within the network structure whereas the latter name focuses on the theme, not on the people behind the theme. Nevertheless both namings play an important role within the upcoming application. Moreover with the naming we avoid to tighten the approach to TRIZ in a stronger sense. We agree, that TRIZ is a very useful tool in both engineering and consulting business, but should be embedded in a wider academic discussion.

Subject Area

The subject area of the planned research is the topic of Systematic Innovations, where – different to the mainstream – we follow an approach that is thoroughly driven by a detailed study of technology development. Such an approach becomes increasingly important also in the business consultancy area.

The starting point are Altschuller’s pioneering investigation Creativity as exact science [A1], which dates back to the 1980s and consists not only of a theory (TRIZ) but also of an algorithmic process model (ARIZ-85C) that were developed for innovations in technical fields. This approach nowadays plays an important role in teaching worldwide (see for example the German standard textbooks [KS] and [ZH] or the classical textbook [M1]) and is used in the operational practice of important enterprises (e.g., Samsung).

Altschuller’s key insight is to consider innovation processes as handling contradictions. He studied a large number of patents and extracted from this comparison a series of general principles and abstract solution approaches that are used in the analysis of new (specific) technical problems to find promising solutions in a systematic way.

Over the past 20 years, these ideas have been attempted to apply to more complex management problems. It turned out that the complexity of the contradictory situations in such circumstances requires new approaches that can be discovered only in inter- or even transdisciplinary research.

In recent years, investigations at LIFIS (Leibniz Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies) also played a role, that combine Altschuller’s approach with Hegel’s approach to analysis of dialectical contradictions [S1] [T1]. We see further potential in the application of semantic technologies to descriptions of contradictions to make it more precise and more accessible to machine processing through AI, as well as in the processing of classical system theoretical approaches from the area of Synergetics in the FSA (functional system analysis), which play a central role in Altschuller’s approach.

The Application

The application should fit in the HORIZON2020 themes or the themes of the successor key action (to be set up by the new EC parliament after Nov 2019). This has to be evaluated in more detail yet.

We propose to concentrate an application on the following themes:

COSI and Business

Contradiction Oriented Systematic Innovation plays a more and more important role in Business Management. At the TRIZ Summit 2019 in Minsk the first time a section TRIZ and Business was set up and dominated the academic part of the conference (see the keynote [M2] by Darell Mann). It was also recognized from larger business consulting structures in Russia [R1], China [H1] and also by EPAM as host of the conference in the Minsk High-Tech Park. Beyond the organizer of this section TRIZ-Master Valeri Souchkov (company XTRIZ, Enschede, The Netherlands), and despite ETRIA, the European TRIZ Association, according to our observation these developments are not well recognized in the European academic community.

Such problems were already studied in the GDR Inventor Schools in a very practical way, where the needs of the internal business organization, the strong influence of different power relations and the context of economic possibilities often enough aproned to a Gordian knot.

COSI and Sustainability

In his keynote [M2] Darell Mann explained the difficulties faced by COIS methods in complex analytical settings. This should be compared to findings in the theories of Systems and Service Engineering. A particular important area of COSI application is the sustainability discussion with its very contradictory political positions.

“Sustainability” relates to research by Sabine Lautenschläger, an engineer at Leipzig University working in environment research that has experience in applying TRIZ to complex water cleaning problems. Moreover there is a strong international discussion on the 17 SDG (sustainable development goals) adopted by the UN. This may be helpful to compile a successful proposal.

COSI and Systematical Heuristics

In the GDR of the 1960s and 70s Johannes Müller and coauthors developed a theory of “Systematical Heuristics”, that was in widespread use and has to be considered as one of the anchestors of TRIZ and the Inventor Schools Movement in the GDR. It is worth to secure this heritage for the future and to evaluate it on the background of modern COSI apporaches.


About a Preproject

There is a call open by the German BMBF (Ministry of Economy and Research) to support the preparation of such a proposal identifying or building up corresponding partner structures and networks with a focus on Eastern Europe, in particular with Belarus. We try to apply for that preproject.

Main Conferences in the area

Hans-Gert Gräbe - Last update August 25, 2019