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Expertverlag

Fachverlag für Wirtschaft und Technik

Systematically Generated Inventions

Methods and examples for inventive practitioners

Doz. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Dietmar Zobel

5th ed., 432 pp., 66 ill., 10 tab., 49.80

Author's affiliation:
Ingenieurbro fr Systemtechnik, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany

English abstract:
Modern methods of systematical innovative and inventive work are described from a practical point of view.
The author explains at first the classical semi-systematical methods (orientated brainstorming, mor-phological matrix, bionics, synectics). The main part of the book contains a description of the modern contradiction-orientated inventive methods, based on Altshuller`s Theory of inventive problem solving (TIPS; Russian acronym: TRIZ). The author has Altshuller`s system developed and completed in some important parts.
The system is characterized by three main steps:
Based on a complete analysis of the existent technical system, especially of all difficulties and un-solved problems (in an abstract physical form described) is the target to formulate as an idealized term (ideal final result). E.g.: I need the function without a machine.
Now it is to formulate the inventive situation in form of a special paradoxon, as a so called techni-cal contradiction. E. g.: a system should be open and, at the other hand, closed; a thing should be white and, at the same time, black, too (but not greyish; greyish would be a compromise, and Alt-schuller`s system gives inventive results, never bad compromises). Last example: the object ex-ists, and, at the other hand, the object does not exist.
Because many inventive problems in other branches already are solved since a long time, now we can take back to the worldwide knowledge. Altshuller found 40 principles (only 1) for solving tech-nical contradictions, based on the investigation of 40 000 patents from very different branches. With the aid of a matrix we can find out only 2-5 principles to solve our special inventive problem. The very important creative step is the translation of the examples (appropriate the relevant prin-ciples) from other branches into the language of the own inventive problem.

Fascinating new examples are given, a lot of examples based on the special technological experience of the author. All methodic completitions and developments are explained regarding practical aspects.

What the reader can learn is:
Simple improvement (optimizing) is as a matter of principle different from an invention.
All people needs harmony, but harmony in technology is not possible in every case by compro-mise. A lot of compromises are very bad compromises. A compromise is always the result of a conventional use of the brain.
Therefore: Only if I solve a technical contradiction, it will be an invention.
My problem is in most cases not so absolutely single like I think. The most problems already are solved, but in other branches. Learn to find the relevant examples and learn to translate and to transform!
Very different problems can I solve with the aid of the same simple principles.
A lot of people can learn to invent, if the elemental conditions are given: capability in abstraction, acceptance of the systematical invention method, technical knowledge, unbiased method of work-ing, and, last not least, engagement.

Contents:
Introduction: Determination of the terms, guidance The creative man Search by thoughtful try Semi-systematical classical methods Fundamentals of systematical invent Elements of the contradiction-orientated invent methodology Lines of development in modern methods of invent Methodical examples and suggestions Citated literature, Index

A specimen chapter in English is available at request.

Book Review:
The English title might be "Design for Invention" and I should be interested to know what English title the publisher (expert verlag) would choose, because I believe the expertise of the book warrants an English version. This is a must-read for anybody with an inventive brain.
The compendium is based on TRIZ, (an acronym for the Russian,Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch meaning "The theory of inventive problem solving"). TRIZ has grown worldwide to be a very valuable resource for inventors and people with open minds.
Luckily for an inventor, he or she deals usually with known unknowns (compared to unknown unknowns according to the definition by the former US Secretary of Defense D. Rumsfeld). That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know and for these problems "Erfindungsmuster is a treasure trove.
TRIZ tools were originally developed under the leadership of the Russian engineer, G. S. Altschuller (40 principles 1946-1971). Following in Altschullers footsteps Dr. Dietmar Zobel developed and refined the system. A number of Zobel's books detail the complex system.
Now, in this current volume, the authors deviate purposely from the whole of the extensive theory of TRIZ and concentrate on the most important principles and the underlying matrix. Especially important is the introduction of a three-tiered hierarchy of standards for the solution of inventive problems: 1. Universal principles, 2. Methods using the efficiency of generalization and 3. Technically or technologically detailed recommendations.
The examples and illustrations are very useful but, at the same time, entertaining. Special care is given to the "principle of exposure and solution of contradictions" and "workflow by itself". Interestingly the authors extend this even to space and time. They use the example of entropy in thermodynamics and have to reassure the reader that the end of our earth is still 30 billion years away, so Don't worry - be happy!. Their combined knowledge and expertise makes the book so highly readable and provides both fundamental principles and enjoyable examples.
There is probably only one very small point where I would disagree with the authors: in the Prologue to "Erfindungsmuster" the authors seem to agree with a quotation from Loriot "One needs ideas only, if one experiences nothing." I personally have always enjoyed both ideas and experiences.
Summarizing, I would say that "Erfindungsmuster" is a rare example of interesting reading, costing only Euro 39,80, that can earn a thousandfold return or more, if the invention translates into innovations or improvements. Some of the methods may lead directly to valuable patents. I want to congratulate Zobel and Hartman for an important work, well done.
This book is highly recommended for managers and employees in the fields of research and development, logicians, practice-based professionals, everyone interested in inventions, high school teachers, college lecturers and specialized school teachers, as well as undergraduates studying in scientific and technical fields. In short, 'Erfindungsmuster is for every thinking being. (At the moment, however, only beings, who can read German.)

Dr. Hans Klieber, Australia

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