Genrikh Saulovich Altshuller was a unique person.
He was unique not just because he developed an amazing science.
He was unique because he never asked for anything in return.
He never said, "Give to me."
He always said, "Take this."
My first introduction to his science was in 1961. In a remote construction site, the Bratsk Hydropower station in Siberia, I read his first book, "How to Learn to Invent." My first encounter with Altshuller was 27 seven years later, in 1988, when I sent him a letter asking for his permission to translate his book, "Algorithm of Innovation." In return, he sent me a package of six books published over the last 15 years. Among these books was "And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared," published in 1987 under his pen name, G. Altov. This book made a tremendous impression on me, and I decided that it would be the best book for Westerners to read. I asked Altshuller for his permission to translate it into English.
Within a year, in 1989, one of Altshuller's disciples and followers, Isac Bukhman, from Riga Latvia, USSR brought to me a paper from Altshuller. This paper was supposed to permit me to translate and publish this book. The surprise was that there was nothing written on the paper except his signature and the stamp of the TRIZ Association. I asked Isac, "What does this mean?" He answered, "Altshuller said that I can write on this paper whatever I feel is right."
He trusted me. Even though he didn't know me, he did not think about himself. He blindly gave his permission, believing that I would do it honestly, that I would treat him fairly. I have never forgotten, nor will I ever forget, this act of selflessness.
Two days before his passing, we spoke about his Institute, here in America. I told him that people from all over the world have expressed a desire to participate in its formation and to become active members. He was very excited and pleased with its progress, and asked me to keep him informed.
In tribute to his memory and to his contribution to mankind, I promise to work diligently to insure that the Altshuller Institute is a success. We will carry out the mandate of making the Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies the recognized focal point and standard bearer of technical creativity. We will strive to insure that TRIZ is accepted as a science, and that Genrikh Altshuller is globally recognized as its founder. -- by Lev Shulyak, TRIZ Master and a Founder of Altshuller Institute
You - With creative genius,
established a legacy for the ages
We - humbly strive to
stand on your shoulders,
Celebrate your life
and great affection.
by Larry R. Smith, Ford Motor Company
The most influential writer in the history of writing, Homer, described Genrikh Altshuller when he wrote these immortal words:
"And what he greatly thought, he nobly dared."
But the world knows nothing of its greatest men. The heights that they reached were not attained by sudden flight. While their companions could only marvel, they toiled upward in the night of the unknowable, striving to make it knowable - for all to benefit. Altshuller was such a man.
John Donne wrote that "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore, never send to know 'for whom the bell tolls'; It tolls for thee." Even more so does the passing of Genrikh Altshuller touch us all. He dedicated his life to a cause that dramatically raised - and continues to raise - the level of society. He initiated, and carried through, a revolution. He accomplished this task with all the odds against him, at every turn in his career. In this respect, he is the ultimate example of the "creative personality" that he studied and introduced in his writings.
Genrikh Altshuller has completed his role; nevertheless, he will be sorely missed. Sir Walter Scott warmly observes:
"And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O, for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!"
But what of us who remain? We shall continue to meet, but we shall also miss him. There will be one vacant chair; It would be difficult - no, it is impossible - for anyone to sit in that chair. We shall linger to caress him, when we breathe a grateful prayer.
It is for others who were his closest friends to reminisce about their personal relationships with him. I never knew him personally, but I know him well, by his results - by his creative output - by his dedication to the truth, and to the betterment of the world as a place in which to live.
I dedicate this touching little poem by Hafiz to the memory of Genrikh Altshuller.
"Little sleeper, the spring is here;
Tulip and rose will come again,
Only you in the earth remain,
Little sleeper, the spring is here;
I, like a cloud of April rain,
Am bending over your grave in vain,
Little flower, the spring is here;
What if my tears were not in vain!
What if they drew you up again,
Genrikh Altshuller has been "drawn up again" - forever to flower and decorate the landscape of the present and of the future - in each of us, and in our children. He resides in our minds, in our experiences, in our capabilities, and most importantly, he will continue to reside in our hearts. May he have a safe journey. -- by James Kowalik, Renaissance Leadership Institute