Jun 13

How technical systems evolve

Some of you who know me will know that I am heavily sold into the power of the latest TRIZ (inventive problem solving technique) tools. The laws and lines of technological system evolution were derived from a analysis of literally hundreds of thousands of patents and, used properly, they can really help to identify suitable next generation technologies for a specific company. I recently prepared a brief analysis of an aerospace system to illustrate how this system has evolved.

Key laws which played out here were:

  • Law of increasing ideality
  • Law of non-uniform evolution of systems
  • Law of increasing flexibility
  • Law of increasing controllability
  • Law of shortening of energy flow path

Notice how the each time the system has evolved, a problem (a.k.a. “system conflict”) and a increased technological capabilities have really been at the heart of making the change. If you can get really clear on the system conflicts which exist in a technological system, you can start to identify potential next stage solutions and appropriate technologies.�

2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Simon Barnard June 16th, 2008 8:02 am

    I saw an interesting example of the law of increasing flexibility in the paper this weekend. Skoda have solved the contradiction of hatchback v booted saloon on their recently launched Superb model. They have introduced a hinge (Fixed becomes flexible)so that the tailgate can also function as a boot lid (see article in Daily Telegraph motoring section 14/6/08 and http://www.telegraph.co.uk). Not quite as radical as the evolution of the aerospace control surfaces but still a nice example of solving a contradiction.

  2. Andrei Golidze June 21st, 2008 11:21 pm

    Victor Fey of The TRIZ Group used a very similar example to illustrate one of the lines of increasing dynamism at a seminar a few years ago.

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