A different spin on risk management

Source: Librestock

I once lived for several weeks with a team of Russian scientists. The South African government wanted me to learn all I could from them and bring their ideas back to help industry. I’d spend ten hours a day learning, and the last couple drinking chacha and REALLY learning. Their area of expertise is called TRIZ, which is an acronym for the theory of inventive problem solving. Inventive problems are problems that involve some inherent contradiction, like making something strong AND lightweight, present AND absent, both here AND there.

TRIZ was created in the Soviet Union after analyzing tens and later hundreds of thousands of patent proposals to identify patterns of innovation. The idea was to discover a way that people who aren’t “creative” can use a systematic approach to discover innovative solutions. The initial work was done by Genrich Altshuller in the 50’s, and my hosts in Detroit were two of his students, carrying on the work in America.

TRIZ is far too large a topic to address in a single blog post. I have found many of the tools and methods of TRIZ useful in software development, but I’ll concentrate on one of the more deceptively simple ones.

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