Jun 23

TRIZ Certification – why moving towards a standard training structure is a good thing

When I was at TRIZCON earlier this year one noticable trend was the emergence of MATRIZ certification as a standard for TRIZ training. MATRIZ (the International TRIZ Association) was founded by Genrich Altshuller (the originator of the TRIZ methodology) and he laid the foundations of the TRIZ Certification. At this point MATRIZ is the only organization that provides a comprehensive structure for certification all the way from novice to TRIZ master.
Many of the companies now rolling TRIZ out seriously (Intel, Samsung, LG, Hyundai, GE and P&G) are pushing for the MATRIZ certification approach to become an agreed training standard. For many years, TRIZ has been trained in different ways by different experts and, in my view, the adoption of this powerful technique in industry has been seriously hampered. I thinks some reasons are related to certification standards:

1. Because there¬†have been¬†no clear common guidelines indicating¬†the training time required to achieve specific levels of expertise, clients¬†have been¬†inclined to undervalue the training time and allocate¬†far less time than is really needed for the TRIZ penny to drop. The result of this can be¬†participants coming away from training saying something like¬†“it’s a good technique, it would be great for someone to come in and apply it for us, but I don’t feel anywhere near confident enough to use it myself”. There is a lot to learn in TRIZ and it takes time for the thinking shifts associated with the tools to become embedded and for users to become confident enought to use and apply the tools.

2. Without defined levels of TRIZ capability, it is hard for TRIZ trainees to know what capability level they have achieved and to have clear training targets. The MATRIZ certification requires certain assessment standards to be achieved at each training level. This really helps both participants and organisations assess progress against a standard framework.

3. Without defined levels of TRIZ capability, it is hard for organisations to search for and recruit TRIZ specialists. Whereas with 6-Sigma, if a potential recruit is a Black Belt, it is easier to assess their capabilities although even here there is some variability in standard.

So, what are the levels in MATRIZ certification?

Well, there are five levels of TRIZ certification, taking you all the way from TRIZ novice to TRIZ Master. Level 1-3 are educational levels that require knowledge and practical experience of using specific TRIZ tools. Level 4 is the first professional level. No new knowledge is necessary, but practical experience – projects, submission of 2 ARIZ projects to MATRIZ for review, publications, presentations at international conferences are needed to achieve this level. Level 5 – TRIZ Master requires development of a new TRIZ tool or application. It is granted by the Certification Board of TRIZ Masters.

Here is some more detail of the content of each level:

level 1: typically 1 week of training with an assessment test at the end. Level 1 requires knowledge and practical skills in the following topics:

– TRIZ paradigm
– TRIZ origin and approaches
– peoblem modeling and Engineering Contradictions.
– Altshuller’s Martix
– Inventive Principles
– modeling problems as Physical Contradictions
– Algorithm for Resolving Physical Contradictions (separation, Satisfaction, Bypass).
– introduction to S-F modeling and S-F Analysis
– introduction to Trends of Engineering System Evolution
– Function Analysis for Devices
– Rules of Trimming for devices

Level 2: Another week of training with a further assessment test at the end. Level 2 requires knowledge and practical experience in the following topics:

– S-F Analysis and the System of Standard Inventive Solutions (complete knowledge of all 5 classes)
– Alternative System Design: direct transfer, “mixtures”,feature transfer.
– ARIZ (average level)
– Pragmatic S-curve Analysis (indicators, recommendations for each stage)
– introduction to Function Analysis and Trimming for technological processes
– introduction to Development of Creative Imagination.

Level 3 is the final “educational” level of TRIZ training and completion of this level is rather like graduating from¬†university – lots of knowledge and some experience. Level 3 requires knowledge and practical experience in the following topics:

– ARIZ – full and comprehensive knowledge, ability to professionally use it
– Trends of Engineering System Evolution – all the details: subtrends, mechanism and analytical tools for each trend
– Failure Anticipation Analysis (a.k.a. Anticipatory Failure Determination)
– Long-Term Forecasting based on TRIZ
– Clone Problems
– SuperEffect

Level 4 (TRIZ Specialist) is the first professional level. It is given by the MATRIZ Board vote only. The candidates should have all the TRIZ knowledge (i.e. they must satisfy Level 3 requirements) and besides have an extensive experience in consulting/inventing. Here people need to show participation in conferences, have patents, projects (engineering solutions), etc. There is a special documentation package that needs to be filled and filed with the MATRIZ Board. This package should include letters of reference from 2 TRIZ Masters. Right now there are 69 TRIZ Masters.

And ultimately, there is Level 5 – TRIZ Master. The major requirements and criteria:

– Level 4
– Developments in TRIZ (a new TRIZ tool, algorithm, etc.) and dissertation on that
– there should be an academic advisor to this dissertation and two opponents (usually TRIZ Masters appointed by MATRIZ Certification Board).

There are a number of individuals appointed and accredited by MATRIZ who have the right to certify. More about how TRIZ programmes are being rolled out in leading companies in future posts.

6 comments

6 Comments so far

  1. Andrei Golidze June 23rd, 2008 3:15 pm

    What “practical experience” can one have at the end of a one- or a two-week class? Many TRIZ tools appear simple, but internalizing them (without which any effective us of them is hardly possible) usually takes much longer than a few weeks.

  2. john June 23rd, 2008 4:01 pm

    Andrei, I completely agree and actually this is where the levels can really help. I really think it is critical that TRIZ learners are given a structure which manages their expectations and encourages them to develop their skill through a combination of theory and application. I also agree that gettign TRIZ skills to a useful level can take a long time

  3. Andrei Golidze June 23rd, 2008 4:27 pm

    John, I am all for a structure in assessing TRIZ skills. I am also for a meaningful certification of these skills. However, I don’t see much utility in MATRIZ’s levels 1 and 2 (especially in the former). In my view, such an elaborate (i.e., buearucratic) certification system is redundant. A three-level system (Level 3, Level 4, and Master) would be quite adequate. However, five-level system has an obvious advantage: it allows for collecting more revenues.

  4. john June 24th, 2008 10:12 am

    Hi Andrei, are you suggesting that TRIZ certification starts at level 3 after say 3 weeks plus training per attendee? I can see the logic of not overdoing certification for it’s own sake but I guess the bit I liked was that it provided a chance for attendees to gauge their progress even at an early stage. I expect there will be a significant level of attrition through the process because not everyone “gets” TRIZ and so this might support your view on the first two levels beng redundant. In any case, even without formal certification, the MATRIZ training structure helps to manage training time expectation and gives the trainees a structured route to complete their formal TRIZ training which I think is helpful.

  5. Ellen Domb July 7th, 2008 9:20 pm

    Hi, John and Andrei and anybody else out there: I’m not at all enthusiastic about uniform standards and certification for TRIZ. Whenever a client wants certificates, I work with them to find out what they want people to be able to DO, and we create a system for them.

    TRIZ is a living methodology, with continuous improvement happening, both in the methods and in the ways of teaching it. The standards have a strong tendency to freeze the system (right now, ARIZ 85-C is the “standard” and it has been a long time since 85!) Personal bragging–I get lots of people to a level of TRIZ competency in 3 days of training plus project facilitation, in part because I have applied TRIZ to the methods of teaching TRIZ, and improved it. But I teach things in different order than the MATRIZ levels, and for different time periods. I would hate to see TRIZ go back 25 years in order to meet the “standards.”

    Is this a rant?

  6. john July 9th, 2008 12:03 pm

    Hi Ellen, thanks for your comments. I’m trying to think of the needs of companies when I stated the case for structure in certification. What I heard a lot of at TRIZCON was that companies wanted to be able to understand what the overall training programme looked like and to provide their employees with a framework to aid their progression. This sort of structure has worked in 6 Sigma, and maybe helped to encourage the growth of 6 Sigma. Listening to your point, there is the other point that standardising the learning will hold back the advancement of TRIZ and will stop the best and latest tools from being applied. If this were to happen, this would be bad, both for the students and for TRIZ. So, a contradiction in order to provide a framework for learning, TRIZ must have fixed standards vs. in order for TRIZ to develop it must not have fixed standards. One option to break this contradiction is to fix standards for, say, one year and then update the curriculum as new learnings/approaches become available. This would follow practice in other eductational fields (e.g. degree in Mech Eng now is very different from 25 years ago). BTW, if ARIZ 85-C is still the standard then that is very poor indeed and proves your point! In ARIZ terms, I follow the Victor Fey method, which I find works much better.

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