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Using the TRIZ System Operator to compare traditional product developmentto crowdsourced product development

Timothy Brewera, Ellen Dombb

aTimothy Brewer Design, 1740 Raymond Hill Road, #3, South Pasadena, CA 91030, USA

bPQR Group, 190 N. Mountain Ave., Upland CA 91786 USA


The emergence of crowdsourced design companies and the crowdsource business model have made major changes in the way that new business ideas are launched. Inventors’ risks are reduced dramatically, since they learn very quickly whether there are any customers who are interested enough in their product to put time and energy (and in some cases money) into helping to create and refine the new product. We will focus on the Quirky model, in which inventors' risks are also reduced by the professional staff's experience with engineering, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing, allowing inventors to focus on ideas and design issues. The community of interest is invited to critique the idea submissions, and contribute ideas for improvement, which are then assigned a share of the eventual revenue based on the value attributed to the improvements. In this paper we will use the TRIZ ‘system operator’ tool to compare traditional product development to crowdsourced product development and to forecast a radical potential future for crowdsourced product development companies.

Tim Brewer is a product development professional and industrial designer.  Tim has sixteen years of product plannTBrewerPortraiting and program management of both consumer software and hardware product development products at Microsoft and RealNetworks. He holds 14 utility patents including three patents on the ubiquitous mouse scroll wheel.

Tim is a graduate of the Master of Science in Industrial Design program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, in addition to undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Industrial Design Technology.

From his masters studies, Tim developed a new method of teaching and applying TRIZ to industrial design. This past summer, as an adjunct faculty member of the Art Institute of Seattle, Tim successfully taught 22 undergraduate industrial design students this new method for creating "most advanced yet acceptable" (Raymond Loewy) TRIZ inspired product designs.

Most recently, Tim was named a Quirky Inventor for the TRIZ inspired Smart Cordless Drill concept ( he successfully submitted to, a crowdsourced product design company.


ellen dombEllen Domb is the founder of the PQR Group and founding editor of The TRIZ Journal. TRIZ is Dr. Domb's 6th career: she has been a physics professor, an aerospace engineer, an engineering manager, a product line general manager, and a strategic planning/quality improvement consultant. In 2005, she was named by Quality Digest Magazine as a leading voice for the future, citing the integration of TRIZ for innovation in quality improvement and quality planning systems.
Ellen's client work, books, and articles are aimed at making it easy for people to learn TRIZ and to incorporate new thinking methods into their organizations. Clients include the Global 500--Dow Chemical, Hewlett-Packard, 3M, and others--and entrepreneurial companies with 3-50 employees. She is the developer of the methods for integrating TRIZ with the Hoshin Kanri methods of strategy deployment, and co-author of key books in both areas: Beyond Strategic Vision (with M. Cowley) and Simplified TRIZ (with K. Rantanen).



Inside TRIZ

Quantifying the TRIZ Levels of Invention

Inside TRIZ


navneet bhushanQuantifying the TRIZ Levels of Invention

A tool to estimate the strength and life of a Patent

TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) classifies inventions into five novelty levels. At level 1 are slight modifications of the existing systems.  At level 2 are those inventions that resolve a system conflict or contradiction using usually inventive solution or inventive principle used to solve similar problems in other systems.    At level 3, the inventions change one subsystem or resolve the system conflicts in a fundamental way. At level 4, the invention gives birth to new systems using interdisciplinary approaches. The level 5 inventions are closer to a recently discovered scientific phenomenon. See article for a complete discussion.



TRIZ Features

Alexander Selutsky

TRIZ Feature

Alexander Selyutsky - a key figure in the history of TRIZ!

Alexander Selyutsky

Selyutsky Alexander Borisovich was born April 6, 1933 to an intelligent Jewish family residing in Leningrad. During the World War II the plant where his father was working was evacuated to the Urals, and the family (the parents and Alexander) moved to Chelyabinsk. Here, Alexander graduated from high school. He wanted to go to a military school, but didn’t pass vision test and entered the Chelyabinsk Polytechnic Institute. In his first year he was forced to learn boxing (because of frequent anti-Semitic attacks) and became a Komsomol activist.

After graduation, he was sent to Petrozavodsk Onega tractor plant, where he worked as a designer. He continued leading a very active social life, organized and led voluntary militia patrolling the streets of the city because the situation was very criminal. In the search for more satisfying work he became interested in patenting, completed appropriate courses and became a patent agent.

In 1960, Alexander married Dolly Naumovna Audleys, and had a daughter Alla in 1961. The same year G.S Altshuller published a book " “Learn how to invent"[1] . After reading this book in 1965 Selyutsky wrote a letter to Altshuller. This letter started their acquaintance by correspondence. Since then, Alexander became one of the most dedicated Altshuller’s disciples and an active promoter of the emerging new science.

They finally met in 1968 in Dzintary (near Riga), at the seminar organized by the Central Board of VOIR (state leading inventors’ and innovators’ society) that invited Altshuller and several of his associates. It was the first time that Alexander and others got a chance to work under the direct guidance of Altshuller and to learn from him. Later, in 1983, Alexander participated as one of the instructors in the seminar conducted by G.S. Altshuller in Moscow at the Institute for continuous education for chemical and petroleum industries.

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